Does anyone actually believe Tim Cook is ‘thrilled’ about iPhone launch?


Judge on Friday's Halftime asked Josh Lipton, at a Palo Alto Apple store, if the AAPL "hoopla" this time "feels a little bit less."

Lipton acknowledged that when he arrived at 4:30 local time, "The line was not really obviously what it had been in the past."

Jon Najarian said he was "one of the folks that was not surprised" that the iPhone 8 orders were "not stellar," because the X is coming soon.

Doc said he has covered all his AAPL short calls, and "I'm starting to buy stock."

Steph Link opined that "I think the guidance can't be very good" with the X not even released yet.

Jim Lebenthal said the Watch connectivity issue is "reminiscent" of the iPhone 4's antenna problem. Jim said it's "easy" to envision the stock at 180 a year from now.



Judge clueless about what Jim was saying about TIF


It's the story that won't go away.

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said he's got a "half position" in NKE; he's waiting for a 10% decline to buy the rest.

When, oh when, have you ever heard that before.

(See, Jim only tracks about a dozen stocks in the entire market — GM, QCOM, CSCO, INTC, BA, TIF, NKE, WGO … — and is limited to discussing only those names.) (That may be a wisecrack, but you know … know … we're basically right.)

Anyway, as for NKE, "There are risks here," Jim said, pointing to Amazon/mall issues and adidas. He's looking for it at 48.

Jon Najarian said FINL has such a massive short interest that it spiked in the morning, but "you had to buy it fast" to get the pop. (a/k/a Trades That Were Recently Great But No Longer Work)

Steph Link borrowed a line from someone, "You don't want to be the middleman, and you don't want to be at a mall. And that's Finish Line and Foot Locker." But Link said if NKE got to 48, "you would have buyers. A lot of buyers."

Mike Wilson said he'd like to buy NKE at 48 but doesn't think it gets there.

Jim likened NKE to TIF as having a multiple in the "mid- to low 20s" that can be "re-rated" in this environment to the high teens.

Link said, "Oh, but Tiffany's was a mess. Tiffany's got to be a mess. Nike is not a mess."

Jim said, "I don't think it was that bad of a mess."

Link said, "It was a mess."

Judge then inaccurately claimed Jim was saying TIF is "so good." Jim rightly clarified that he was talking about shrinking multiple even if the brand is strong. "The high-end buyer has not resurged at Tiffany's over the last 2 years," Jim said.



Term of the Month competitors: ‘Transfer of wealth’ and ‘Dark Web’


Mike Wilson, part of an overstocked panel on Friday's Halftime Report, told Judge it's been a "wild ride" with the Russell, but he "actually doubled down" on his small-cap call and said the Russell, since prior to the election, has "actually performed exactly in line with the S&P 500."

Erin Browne suggested "something possibly could get done in Washington."

Stephanie Link said tax reform will help, but it's not the "be all and end all."

Jim Lebenthal said crude is finally over 50, and if it actually breaks out, it'll carry the XLE. Jim also touted GM's breakout (without saying that it's mostly about the "transfer of wealth" to Texas car owners).

Jon Najarian pointed out how Chinese solar-parts manufacturers got around a 2012 tariff by doing the assembling in Taiwan, so this will be a "delicate dance" for the administration.



Weiss recommends airlines for 3 years running but somehow isn’t on Friday’s show


Brandon Oglenski of Barclays, who upgraded AAL to overweight, which is what he's got on other airlines, said on Friday's Halftime Report that there are still "little skirmishes" between airlines such as Spirit and the big carriers.

But he said sentiment is at such a point where value investors will start to come in the space.

Jim Lebenthal told Oglenski that "all these big airlines … at times look a lot alike" and wondered about something like ALK. Oglenski said he likes that name as well as the others and that the space looks good for all.

Oglenski conceded "the media will trounce (sic meant 'pounce') on these you know big events that happen for the carriers" but said American has got the employees and management working together.

Steph Link called airlines "trading stocks at best" and added, "I worry a lot about capacity additions." But Link likes FDX and put a 300 target on it.

Jim said there are permanent headwinds to airlines, "weather, energy, regulation, the utter animosity that passengers have for airlines."

Erin Browne said "you really need a catalyst" to get airlines going, and she doesn't see one.

Doc said he likes UAL the best of the airlines, because Buffett is still long. But, "I fly American every week."




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


Stephanie Link on Friday's Halftime made the case for SLB, because it's the "No. 1 player" with the "best technology," and the stock is down 18% this year.

Jon Najarian said he likes "Slumber a lot." But he said he's "had a hard time pickin'" that stock. He does like APC.

His final trade was HAL, based on unusual activity.

Anthony Grisanti said 51.98 is upside for crude, and if that's breached, 55 is possible, but "seasonal factors" make him think there's more potential to the downside.

Doc said October 35 LB puts were being aggressively sold when the stock was around 37 this morning.

Steph Link said Jana's board seat produced a pop in HDS.

Doc said KMX had a "phenomenal" quarter.

Erin Browne doesn't like British stocks because of currency issues.

Mike Wilson said he wouldn't be surprised if AA pulled back on its earnings report just because it's run so much.

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was CSCO (told ya), citing a "repatriation tax cut" (snicker). Steph Link said SCHW. Erin Browne said EMB, emerging market debt.

Judge said Ackman texted him that the CMG queso is "great."



[Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017]

Doc: People don’t hate the rally, only that they’ve missed it


As guest host Sully apparently was taking a page from Judge, spending the opening 15 minutes on what can derail the rally, Sarat Sethi opened Thursday's Halftime saying he thinks stocks and rates can rise together, because the Fed has been "actually pretty good at telling us what they're going to do."

"It's all about pace," said Jon Najarian.

Joe Terranova said it's a question of whether stocks and rates can "continue" to go up together.

Sarat Sethi, who gets honored for making the Barron's Top 50 advisor list every 15 minutes, said if there's an "upward trending" yield curve, then the market is "off to the races."

Joe noted AAPL is down 6% in 5 days while the S&P is up 1.3% in that time. Minutes later, he corrected himself to say it's month to date.

Pete Najarian said he's plunging into C.

Doc scoffed at the notion that "this is the most hated bull market in history," explaining that's "complete (sic not adverb) false."

Doc said the issue is that, at record highs, "people are reticent to commit new capital."

Doc said if the rally was hated, the VIX would be in the 20s. "People hate that they've missed it. That's what they hate," Doc said.

Sarat Sethi said that if the dollar were to start rising, "you have to be careful."

Bob Pisani said the market has shown excellent rotation and "no signs at all of breaking down."



Strictly watching this segment, looks like iPhone 8 is a smash hit


CNBC Technology Product Editor Todd Haselton sat in with Thursday's Halftime, praising the iPhone's Home button and wireless charging feature.

He called it "a perfect buy for a lot of people."

Jon Najarian suggested "most people are waitin' for the X." Haselton conceded "most of the gadget folks are waiting for the X."

Haselton said he had no issues or dropped-call problems with the Apple Watch.



Judge did good job Wednesday with Ackman, one of his top performances of the year


Guest host Sully on Thursday's Halftime said Buckingham initiated NFLX with a 214 buy; he proceeded to ask Matthew Harrigan about the $6.3 billion in cumulative free cash flow deficits over 3 years.

Harrigan called that "quite moderate."

Sully asked a good question, whether NFLX is like AMZN of the late '90s. Harrigan acknowledged "a lot of commonalities."

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian, who spent at least 3 consecutive shows (he also has been on the 5 p.m. show this week, which is why the programs' material tends to get redundant) lamenting that he sold NVDA too early last week, said Thursday that the stock was now "right back to exactly where it was" … but he's not even going to buy it until there's more options activity.

Jon Najarian in his final trade said AMD 14.50 calls were aggressively getting bought.



Still don’t really get why Anthony Grisanti keeps talking about a gold ‘squeeze’ as in people have to sell it


Jeff Kilburg on Thursday's Halftime Report said Yellen and the Fed "kicked the door down" about a December hike, "which really hurt gold."

But he said take a "deep breath," gold has outperformed the S&P year to date.

Anthony Grisanti said there's a "squeeze" for hedge funds who own a lot of gold, he thinks it'll go down to the 200-day around 1,241.

Pete Najarian hailed biotech and GILD.

Joe Terranova talked up RRC, HON and CTAS, as well as TCBI and IBTX.

Joe said, "Since April, imports of steel from China are 30%." Joe said X is "certainly in a downtrend."

Sarat Sethi said he's still buying LB. He predicted a turnaround within a couple of quarters.

Sarat pointed out that UAL is one of the stocks not working in this market.

Doc hailed BCRX, saying it's been "hopping" in the last month.

Sully noted that as sanctions are announced against North Korea, the VIX goes down.

Doc said there was "strong activity" in ABBV October 91 calls. Pete said October 145 calls in WYNN were getting bought. "It almost hits every single week," Pete said.

Doc said KR was hitting a "fresh 52-week low," not the first time that's been heard.

Pete's final trade was simply to take off his winning SUM trade. Joe hung a 200 on AMG. Sarat Sethi said BAC.

Doc mentioned the Traders 4 A Cause golf outing Oct. 6-8 at the Wynn in Vegas.



[Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017]


Carlos turned down Bill’s invite to the U.S. Open (but not because he doesn’t like him)


In Wednesday's extended session with Bill Ackman (he spent 41 minutes at Judge's table) on the Halftime Report, Judge said Bill has admitted he got off to a "bad start" with Carlos Rodriguez and ADP.

Indeed. We were even starting to think Bill had found a new rival to supersede Carl.

Evidently, (like all of Judge's statistics, according to Ackman) that's wrong, as Bill explained, "By the way, I invited Carlos to the U.S. Open with me. He couldn't go. We have a perfectly nice relationship." (Then again, Bill and Carl actually went out to dinner, and that didn't exactly work.)

Judge pointed out that Rodriguez went on CNBC and called Bill "a spoiled brat." Bill said, "My mother didn't like that comment, because she raised me not to be a spoiled brat. … Carlos and I have had a fine interaction ever since he, he made those comments."

So, things are on the upswing, apparently.

Bill knocked the ADP "bluster" that he said is "PR advice from a defensive advisor."

"You've had bluster of your own. I mean, in the, in the opening letter, you suggested that he needs to be replaced," Judge said.

"That's not correct. That's not correct. There's no such document," Bill said.

Bill said he had a "very intimate engagement" with "15 people crowded around the table" at a Marriott not far from ADP's HQ, and everyone was "friendly" and "thoughtful."

"Then of course, a few days later, they put out a press release written by a PR firm that makes it sound like some very harsh battle," Ackman said.

"I blame all the noise on the-" Bill continued.

"It sounds like you're blaming everything on the advisors," Judge said.

"I blame the noise on the advisors," Bill said.

Whatever. In 41 minutes on the show, Bill failed to make a convincing case for his ADP plan, insisting everyone just trust that it's all in the "presentation."



Bill basically tells Judge that nearly every stat Judge has got is wrong


The more elite an individual gets, the more exclusive he or she tends to be.

So the fact Bill Ackman not only spent 41 minutes on the Halftime Report Wednesday but even entertained the panelists for a bit tells us he's fighting an uphill battle for a victory in ADP.

(Heck, he's sounding so approachable now, we're thinking Bill might even take us out to Denny's for a Grand Slam.)

Judge started with, "Why ADP? … This does not sound like a company that necessarily needs your help."

Bill said, "The issue for shareholders is not how well the company has done over the past. The issue is how well it's gonna do in the future. And the bottom line is ADP has massively underperformed its potential." (Zzzzzzzzz)

Judge said ADP is up more than 100% in 5 years; "10-year, ADP up 166, S&P 65."

Bill said, "Those numbers are not correct. … The company overstates their total shareholder return under this CEO's track record. How do they do that? Well they start for example the measuring period on the day after he started as CEO. Well actually if you started on the day before, the night before, which is the proper measuring period, the total return comes down by 17%."

Bill said ADP also counts the doubling of ADP's CDK spinoff.



Bill mildly warned Lee not to talk about him on CNBC


Impressively early in the show, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime played the recent clip of Lee Cooperman calling Bill Ackman's ADP venture "foolish, inappropriate and irresponsible."

Bill claimed, "He made those comments prior to our making our presentation." Bill said he even told Lee, "Before you come out and go on CNBC and say you don't like what we're doing, whatever, at least listen to what we have to say."

Bill also dismissed Lee's relevance to the company. "Lee was on the board 6 years ago. As he told everyone, he sold the stock. probably sold the stock 6 years ago. And the world has changed dramatically in 6 years in terms of the competitive landscape of the company," Ackman stated.

Bill said his analysis of ADP is a "very detailed presentation, 168-page detailed presentation of the business." (That right there is the problem; shouldn't need 168 pages to explain why margins can be higher.)

Launching into one of his most prominent themes Wednesday, Bill said ADP owned CDK for 42 years, spun it off in 2014 with 16% with margins, and "within 2 years it had 26% margins."



Bill touts analyst as support for his position, moments later, implies the analyst doesn’t matter


Bill Ackman on Wednesday's Halftime said "analyst commentary" has been "very supportive of the notion that there are very significant opportunities to improve operating margins" at ADP.

The first analyst he mentioned was Sanford Bernstein.

Moments later, Judge said "it's not like" Bernstein is "wholeheartedly in agreement" with Ackman on margins reaching a "tremendously higher level," rather, Bernstein thinks "the right answer falls somewhere in between what you say and what ADP thinks itself."

"That's an analyst- uh, 1 analyst's opinion," Bill said.

"But you cited it," Judge correctly noted.

Judge brought up the issue no one has ever solved, whether Bill asked for a one-week nominating delay or 45-day delay from ADP, stating Bill waited until what "essentially is the last minute for the- to try and extend the nominating period."

"That's not accurate," Bill said (again), before reciting ADP's press release.




Yeah, but it’s possible his bid here could get the ‘Urban Cowboy’ mechanical bull treatment


Bill Ackman on Wednesday's Halftime indicated he knows what he's doing with ADP (and isn't as discombobulated as the company and Lee Cooperman have suggested).

"It's not my first activist rodeo, if you wanna call it that," Bill chuckled, adding the ADP explanation of his approach was "not how it went down."

Bill claimed ADP "has done everything they can to knock the stock down."

Bill hailed CP, APD, ZTS and CMG as the "only 4" companies that he's working on regarding "operational improvement" of the business. (Translation: I've got a perfect record.) "In the first case, CP, we got the same response we got from ADP," Bill said.

Bill said, "I'm not saying ADP is IBM today, but it's at risk of becoming IBM."




Panelists not nearly as blunt about Bill’s moves when Bill is actually sitting there with them (Jim even says he takes what Ackman is saying as ‘gospel’)


Regarding the amount of stock he actually owns in ADP, Bill Ackman on Wednesday's Halftime said, "We own 2% of the company in common stock. … We own very deep-in-the-money stock options that have a term that goes out into late 2020 and early 2021, and those options are over the counter, they are extendable. Uh, they're unusual in that we actually receive a pass-through of the dividends on the meaningful percentage of the options that we own. … It's equivalent of buying the stock with a 30% margin loan."

All in all, "We own the economics of 8.3% of the company," Bill claimed.

But he admitted, "We can only vote 2%."

Judge wondered why, in his ADP video, Ackman is speaking directly to the retail investor. Ackman said those investors are often "ignored" and that the retail community owns 28% of ADP.

Bill said Ken Squire determined that, out of all of Bill's activist campaigns (apparently not just the lone 4 where he's working on "operational improvement" of the business), he's put up 146% average return while the S&P is up 16-17%.

Ackman admitted VRX was a "disastrous investment."

That brought the show to a commercial break at the 30-minute mark. Given a chance after the break to ask Bill a question, ADP long Sarat Sethi fumbled and stumbled, eventually asking about the "short-term impact" on ADP of trying to grow margins. Bill pointed to CDK, which he said is a "microcosm of ADP."

Bill grumbled about PG spending "$100 million" to make it harder for Nelson Peltz, whom Bill said PG is treating like a "virus," to get a board seat.

Jim Lebenthal asked Bill a curious question that we think was about ADP margin contraction. Bill told Jim that ADP "gets a higher multiple 3 years out."

Bill told Judge he's getting the impression that "Twitter is filled with a bunch of, of, uh, Chipotle short sellers." (We're not sure why Rich Greenfield thinks DIS needs to buy TWTR.)




CNBC superfox Aditi Roy
appears on 5 p.m. Fast Money


In the remainder of Wednesday's Halftime, Judge said a Goldman Sachs analyst issued a sell call on JNJ.

Stephen Weiss said "it makes sense, the way he's looking at it." Weiss predicted the talc suits will be a "real problem going forward."

Jim Lebenthal called the sell call of JNJ "aggressive." Jim said he could name "a lot of other Dow components that are a heckuva lot pricier than this." Weiss said the analyst doesn't cover those other names.

Jon Najarian said there's a "modicum of risk" in the Fed comments later in the day. (This review was posted after market close.) Doc said at his California conference of "some of the biggest family offices in the U.S.," they were saying, "No chance of inflation."

Weiss claimed a December hike is "baked in" to the market. Not everyone else was sure.

Doc said October 222.50 FDX calls were popular. So were CENX October 22 calls.

Jim's final trade was PFE. Weiss said he bought a little more WDC, but it's "low conviction." Sarat Sethi said the XLF. Doc said VZ based on June call activity of next year and that it's been on a "rocket ride."



[Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017]

Maybe Peltz will take to Twitter like Robert Pera, critique the show’s discussion of his business (or maybe he just keeps his head down and focuses on products)


On Tuesday's Halftime, David Faber, who's not normally on the show, laid out the PG battle lines and said it looks like a close campaign and that both sides are trying to woo retail investors.

Faber said Ackman's push at ADP will be a "tough one," noting Ackman only has 2% of the common.

Faber also mentioned the latest on endlessly rumored TMUS. Pete Najarian said people have recently bought huge lots of November 70 and October 67.50 TMUS calls. Oh joy.

Joe Terranova said PG holders shouldn't do much with the stock, suggesting it "guides towards a hundred dollars."

Stephen Weiss tackled the telecoms first, suggesting TMUS and S would be a "merger of equals," but the cost savings would be "massive."

Then, all hell broke loose when Weiss asserted that Nelson Peltz has "performed in line with the S&P with his funds. Yet, you're locked up for 5 to 8 years."

Joe, frustrated for some reason, said, "Everyone's bringing up his track- what does that have to do with Procter & Gamble?"

Weiss said the "relevance" is that "he's not adding that much more value in a general portfolio to the names that he brings there."

Jim Lebenthal told Joe that PG has "performed OK relative to value indices … but they've massively underperformed the S&P 500."

After a break, Judge told Weiss, "I have it on pretty good authority, I mean, Nelson Peltz is like double the S&P. Um, I don't know what, you know, what time frame or exactly you're talking about."

"From inception. I'm happy to show you the numbers, I've got 'em right here," Weiss said.

Flummoxed, Judge claimed, "There's a difference between sort of when you- when you get involved for all the, the, the time frames that, that maybe you're focusing on or when P&G's focusing on." (Translation: Peltz has outperformed the S&P; I don't know what numbers you're lookin' at.)

"I'm focusing on from inception, his own numbers," Weiss insisted.

"His long-term performance speaks for itself, as he said," Judge said, adding, "I'm not gonna get into it now," even though he had already gotten into it for several minutes.

"I'm telling you I've got his presentation. I'm looking at his numbers," Weiss continued. "And furthermore, since he went to a more concentrated portfolio in 2012, he's slightly underperformed, with fees. So he's making a lot of money for himself, and the investors are making what the S&P's making."

"He did show the document to me. I saw it," Pete Najarian told Judge.

"I don't- I don't know what you're, you're citing, specifically," Judge stammered.

"I'm citing his presentation from his hedge fund from his marketing people," Weiss explained.

Joe Terranova said, "I'm not being critical of Steve," then mentioned "Procter & Gramble (sic, then corrected)," then said it's a "good thing" if Peltz is advocating a conversation on improving the business.

Weiss insisted, "I started it all by saying, he's a great investor." But, "If I lock up money 5-8 years, I expect more than what the market gives me."

We don't really know what the truth is, but Weiss more than held his own, made an interesting point, and rebounded from the "strategy" investing bungle he tried to talk about in his last appearance. He couldn't resist one more compliment later for Peltz while stating Peltz's fund return isn't for him. Judge promised Ackman on Wednesday's show.



Don't forget Carl’s ‘Day of Reckoning’ from last year and basically anything Marc Faber has said on the channel, ever


Jim Lebenthal on Tuesday's Halftime Report said recently, there's been a "steady drumbeat" of people warning about corrections; "I don't mean to name names here but Howard Marks, these are good investors, Jeff Gundlach, uh, uh, Shiller."

Jim said some people got "spooked out of the market because of that, and now it's catch-up time," which favors small caps.

Steve Weiss said it's a "very good sign" that the Russell is "playing catch-up."

Pete Najarian hailed the "great move in the financials yesterday."

Joe Terranova, who was barely heard a day ago, touted regional banks. "If financials work, then small caps are gonna work," Joe said.

Jim said financials are "3 steps forward, 2 steps back."

Pete backed Jim's mention of CBI. Joe touted CTAS.

Pete said he'd buy BA and said people are ignoring the cash flows. "It's almost a double in a year," cautioned Jim Lebenthal, adding "North Korea's gotta be priced into this at this point in time (sic last 5 words redundant)."

Pete said, "I disagree; I think there's plenty of upside still."

Judge asked Pete if Pete would buy NVDA right now. Pete dodged, stating "I bought it the other day" and that he still has "remorse" about selling Friday and hopes to get back in, but if it goes to 250, it "seems pretty cheap."

Weiss said NVDA is "pretty amorphous."



Chanos insists on shorting TSLA, missed UA in the 40s


Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said of UA, "I have not been a fan of the stock for a long time," stating it "never deserved the multiple."

He said of the Wells Fargo 13 target, "I could argue that it should go lower."

Pete Najarian said, "The biggest mistake Kevin Plank made was trying to aggressively go after Nike in footwear. … He has not been able to accomplish it just yet."

Judge, who unfortunately put together a rambling, stumbling performance, struggled to suggest that UA got "offsides" on focusing on performance at the expense of lifestyle. Joe Terranova said, "That's fair to say that."

Joe added, "Keep in mind this analyst just 9 months ago had an outperform and a $31 price target on the stock. Let's not make it about the analyst."

"It's not about the analyst at all," Judge said.

"They clearly are being punished," Joe said.

Jim Lebenthal said "of course" the space is in trouble; "Nike's been in trouble for a year and a half." Jim added that UA is a "cautionary tale for adidas." Pete bellowed, "Different companies though Jim," stating there's growth for adidas in North America.

Joe said adidas is "gaining traction" at the "expense of others." Jim said all those adidas comments are right, but "it's been in the stock for the last at least 6 months."

Pete Najarian said the "mistake" in the Jefferies downgrade of TSLA is that everybody wants to call it a car company while "60% of the employees are involved in software engineering."



Pete has discussed selling his NVDA stake for 3 shows in a row


Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said the KORS upgrade happened because it's an environment where "a series of analysts come out and try to find a stock to recommend in their group."

Jim Lebenthal called KSS a buy on the Amazon move.

Joe Terranova said he likes BBY, "but you have to acknowledge the technicals"; it's approaching the 200-day at $51. Pete Najarian didn't talk about it despite hailing the shares at 55 recently.

Pete mentioned 22.50 call-buying in M that expires Friday (and if we had a dollar for every time someone on CNBC talks about short-term Macy's calls …). Jim Lebenthal cautioned that Toys R Us' bankruptcy "certainly is affecting the space and probably will for the next couple of days."

Judge hectored Jim, "What's the difference between JCPenney and Macy's?" Jim said, "This is part of the downsizing of the industry that has to happen. And since you brought up JCPenney, if you look at the bond prices, there is no way there's a bankruptcy risk in the bond prices."



Analysts vs. Panelists isn’t really how it happened


In "Analysts vs. Panelists" on Tuesday's Halftime, Stacy Rasgon said he's been "somewhat cautious" on chips for the last year, "and I suppose we've been wrong."

Rasgon said INTC numbers are "safe this year," but "the structural case against them" means "a long time" for sitting on the multiple. Joe Terranova told Rasgon that INTC "seems to be a 2nd-derivative trade" on AAPL.

Judge played a caller's question asking Rasgon for the "fair value" of NXPI. Rasgon said, "It is not hard to argue that the fair value is at or above that deal price" of 110.

Rasgon called AVGO a "must-own." We'd call the whole feature an easy-miss.



Gary Cohn was incredibly torn, but no one seems to care about Charlottesville anymore


Steve Liesman on Tuesday's Halftime Report said the survey found that 38% think Trump should reappoint Yellen.

Brian Stutland told Jackie DeAngelis that the 10-year yield might tick up to 2.5%. Jim Iuorio said "the trend for the year is still lower yields," unless it settles above 2.30%.

Pete's final trade was FCX. Steve Weiss said MU. Jim Lebenthal said RDSa. Joe Terranova said MSFT and SAP and even did the "hiding out" thing again while Sully was having camera fun in the background.



[Monday, Sept. 18, 2017]


CEO apparently mocks the ‘clowns’ discussing shorting his company on CNBC as Cramer predicts it all comes down to the phone ringing or not ringing Tuesday


In the beginning, there was skepticism.

Judge on Monday's Halftime introduced Andrew Left, stating Left thinks UBNT is a "complete fraud."

Judge asked Left, "What proof do you have?"

Left started to say, "Well, if you read the Citron report-"

"I read it," Judge cut in.

"OK, there's over 20 pages of proof," Left asserted (which sounded a bit like that guy on the D.B. Cooper program who claimed he had 95 pieces of evidence pointing to some California joker), adding, "Uh, most importantly, if you just see the way they're outpacing the competition, uh, just does not make sense." (If that's the most important reason, why didn't he say that first?)

Judge said, in not much of a question, "Leveling such accusations of a fraud against a publicly traded company are, are- that's serious."

"Oh I understand; Listen, I don't do this often. Uh, the word 'fraud' I use very judiciously," Left said.

However, things quickly got more intriguing. Left singled out Ubiquiti CEO Robert Pera, declaring, "He's the anti-Benioff. … I don't think he's ever been on CNBC for that matter. So, I'm supposed to believe that the best CEO in the history of networking hardware won't even go on your show, Mr. Wapner? I don't get it. I don't believe it."

Honestly, that's a good point. CEOs should promote their companies in the media.

Judge acknowledged, "Mr. Pera hasn't responded to a personal (sic redundant) email from me to him asking him to come on today." That's actually pretty dubious.

Judge said an analyst whose name and firm he won't divulge thinks Pera might be "pushing the envelope, uh at times" but that Left is just "essentially regurgitating" the bear case for the stock for years.

Left claimed Barron's wrote about Bernie Madoff about 7 years before he was "found out."

Left added, "The company has gone to the point of ridiculous. Their new offering is a GoPro camera that you wear on your chest."

Grasping for an analogy to explain UBNT's results, Left offered, "This would be like Barry Bonds hitting 273 home runs. It's not plausible."

Jim Cramer revealed, "Andrew and I communicated, thank you Andrew for, uh, uh, trusting me to be able to go over so I had a little bit of prep, and I did not speak to anyone."

Cramer said Ubiquiti has a small board, which is "often a red flag," but Michael Hurlston, "a pretty distinguished guy from Broadcom," is a board member. Left said there's no CFO and CTO; "so forget about the board for a second, who's actually operating this company?"

Judge added, "Their board is lean, um, to say the least. I can't at least off the top of my, my head, think of a, another company we- we've talked about in, in recent memory that has a board of only 4, 4 people."

Cramer curiously said, "A fraud charge is going to- if this is a real company, the SEC will call Andrew tomorrow. If- if it's not a real company, the SEC will not call."

Judge said, "The company had declined comment, um, and wasn't in a position, or, or ready, it seemed to us, to offer him up either."

Cramer said Left's emphasis on TV appearances is a "good thing for us, actually. Andrew said that if he were so good, why hasn't he been on CNBC."

Judge said, "We'll hopefully catch up with him sometime soon."

We know virtually nothing about this company or individual, but given what went down Monday, we highly doubt that's going to happen. #notlikeAckman/Carl

After a commercial, Judge read a tweet from Robert Pera: "I just put my head down and let the products and numbers speak for themselves. My apologies to those affected by these clowns."

Judge said, "Maybe we'll hear from Mr. Pera on this program." That didn't happen, at least not on Monday.

Left has a quality sense of humor and is easily one of the program's best guests. The board and management and lack of exposure are definitely dubious here, but Left didn't identify enough specifics for a near-term case to short, kind of like the Mallinckrodt situation.

Meanwhile, Left told Judge he's not short NVDA but said we're in the type of market where, when we like something, "we just decide a valuation 4 years ahead."




Karen keeps making the argument ‘how can they possibly know’ the hit to EFX EPS, so how does she know it’s oversold?


Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime touted C and knocked WFC.

Pete Najarian said, "I hate to go against him on this one," stating Warren Buffett is still in the name and that when it's near 1.3 times book, "You gotta own it."

Judge said of Buffett's presence, "It took him a while to, you know, figure out he was ready to be done with IBM to some extent."

Pete said, "IBM didn't have the headaches that Wells Fargo had," and Warren's still there.

Joe Terranova's final trade was TCBI and IBTX. Stephanie Link said EBAY and LITE based on "conference season." Pete said XLF/BAC. Jim Cramer said CAT.

Tony Dwyer, on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that Judge guest-hosted, is still maintaining a 2,510 (snicker) S&P 500 target for year-end, though he sees bigger gains in 2018.

Karen Finerman continued to crow at her EFX short and chortled at the 1.5% rebound Monday. Pete suggested Karen close out the remaining half of her short and try a put spread instead. Karen did call that an "excellent idea."

Doing the 5 p.m. show, Judge had to deal with Tim Seymour's unrestrained garrulousness and made the mistake of asking, "Are you saying then you would be hesitant to buy anything where we are right now?"

"No, I didn't say that," Seymour said. (See, that's part of the problem, after all his commentary, people still don’t know what he said.)

"I know you didn't say that; I'm asking you," Judge said, adding, "Why are you so confrontational tonight (sic redundant, unnecessary last word)?"

"Because I think your questions require a little confrontation back," Seymour responded.

Dan Nathan stressed that not everyone's as good as the purebreds on Fast Money, referring to AMD, "Obviously it's kinda the ugly, red-headed stepchild."



Dammit — Pete admits early-exit bungle in NVDA


Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime (he apparently had enough free time to do an entire other show) said "the data center" is what's driving the demand for semiconductors.

Jim said NVDA is "insane."

Moments later, Pete Najarian said, "I had a regrets (sic plural) on Friday, the second I sold an Nvidia position that I- THE SECOND I SOLD IT, I said, 'Dammit — I did the wrong thing!"

"I felt so guilty sticking with it," Cramer said.

Stephanie Link said NVDA isn't cheap, but "you can't ignore; it's very much like- I can't ignore Amazon."

Link said she feels like a "broken record" on AVGO.

Joe Terranova, who had a quiet show, questioned how much of it is a "2nd derivative" trade off AAPL. Judge said it's almost all of them but Qualcomm.

Pete Najarian said there's an activist in QCOM, "and it's doin' nothin'."

Jim Cramer said QCOM will have to pay "at least 110" for NXPI.

Jim said of QCOM, "It's kind of like, they think they're the Patriots."

Pete Najarian said MU November 38 calls were getting bought.

Pete said he's back in ORCL, calling the drop "way overdone." He said, "People way over-read where they are in the cloud. Because if that's the read, then you can't own Amazon, right? Because Amazon's cloud has slipped as well. It's been steadily going lower for AWS."

Jim Cramer said of FB and GOOGL, "When you have too much advertising, you can't regulate it, high-quality problem. … Facebook has so much copy, it is hard to vet."

Joe Terranova, who gets Fast Fired over nomenclature seemingly every other day, took heat for calling MSFT and SAP a "great place to hide out."

Joe revealed, "4 o'clock in the morning, and this is the truth, I am outside bringing in the Amazon Fresh bags from what they have done," marveling at how it cut Whole Foods prices 25% in "one weekend."

Pete said of FANG's notoriety: "Half of 'em don't know. They think the A's Apple. The N's Nvidia, It's not Nflix (sic pronunciation), Netflix. How many people screw that up?"



Cramer: Seems like people don’t want to spend big bucks on sneakers anymore


In the quieter moments of Monday's Halftime Report, Judge said Piper downgraded to FINL to an 8 target.

Jim Cramer opined, "The high-priced sneaker may have gone to a level where people don't wanna do it anymore. … Sneakers are a troubled area."

Judge said, "I don't know, my guy wants sneakers."

Judge noted Canaccord's hold on NKE. "Last quarter was actually OK," said Stephanie Link, calling the stock "a long-term winner, especially in the low 50s."

But Pete Najarian noted analyst grumbling about lack of NKE innovation; he trumpeted LULU, "my favorite name in the space."

Pete said there was "incredible" options activity in TMUS, in the October 67 calls. Jim Cramer called the stock "undervalued."

Pete said someone was selling October 92.50 puts in CRM "in a big way." Pete said he bought a call spread rather than sell puts. Jim Cramer gushed about the stock and Marc Benioff.

The show congratulated Sarat Sethi (who wasn't on the program Monday) for making the Barron's Top 100 independent wealth advisors list.

Much more from Monday's Halftime, including Andrew Left's UBNT "fraud" claim, later.



[Friday, Sept. 15, 2017]


Weiss actually states that being enthusiastic about the market with stocks surging to all-time highs is ‘gonna cost you money’


Steve Weiss admitted early on Friday's Halftime, "I still hold a healthy level of cash."

Later, Kari Firestone said "there's still a lot of people who have 50% cash, 40% cash," prompting Judge to ask Weiss about that.

Weiss insisted that he runs "a strategy that's not correlated to the market," and keeping money aside for that "expands my cash level."

Also, Weiss said he looks for "opportunities," which has been a "great strategy," such as buying BABA when it got hit and AAPL on a week of a market selloff. But he's "waitin' a little bit" on airlines now.

Pete Najarian stated, "I'd like to give Weiss a little financial advice: You're in too much cash."

Weiss said investing in beta vs. Pete's picks of MRK and PFE, it's actually like being "quadruple" Pete's position in PFE.

Weiss also said that in his strategy, "I don't want a lot of emails and stuff, it's only for accredited investors," but he's got to "wait" and be "optimistic" (sic probably meant "opportunistic") to put money in that strategy. Josh Brown asked for his minimum; Weiss said $5 million.

Weiss, who tends to stack papers on his desk when losing an argument, noted that "we hear" Howard Marks and Ray Dalio, then scoffed that "we come here, we hear this incredible enthusiasm, you gotta be in … pedal to the metal and all that. And guess what, that's not reality, because that's when the surprises come out and hit and gonna cost you money."




The more he talked, the more Weiss dug a hole


Steve Weiss on Friday's Halftime Report said "there's no good reason" not to own AMZN, "except for my discipline doesn't allow me to, because they're not concerned with profitability."

That drew some skepticism, as Josh Brown noted that Weiss invests in biotechs that don't earn money.

Weiss said, "It's not because they don't earn money, I said don't earn money at this point in their life cycle." (For those unconvinced about the distinction.)

Kari Firestone cracked to Brown, "It's another kind of discipline."

Brown argued that AMZN does earn money; "by some cash-flow measures, they're earning more than every publicly traded retailer combined."

Weiss said, "But they put it all back into the company."

Brown said, "Oh, so terrible."

Judge rather subtly noted Weiss has owned NFLX (which presumably is earning enough money at this point in its life cycle).

Weiss, though, was frustrated by Brown. "It's like talking to Hillary Clinton; everything I say, you twist," Weiss told Brown.

Kari Firestone said she's got an overweight position in AMZN, but what's troubling is hearing it's going to be "everything to everyone."



Steve Liesman makes the ultimate argument for passive investing


Friday's Fast Money opened with paenlists assessing the stock market.

"Look at advance-decline making a new high," said Josh Brown, calling that the "key."

Brown and Pete Najarian both trumpeted semiconductors.

Pete said he has no regrets taking off his SPY call position.

Steve Liesman joined the crew and said a December quarter-point hike is "about a 50/50 probability."

Liesman said Yellen and others "wanna do this, but they won't do it in a kind-of reckless manner."

Liesman said he found Greg Ip's article on the Fed losing credibility "over the top."

Judge said "pardon my expression," but it seems the Fed doesn't have a "clue" in forecasting the economy or inflation. Liesman said the Fed has done "OK" forecasting the economy, but inflation is a "weird thing."

Josh Brown, rightly weary of Judge's constant what-takes-this-market down line of questioning, stated, "We could sit here and come up with this list of things that could happen, or, we could focus on the big picture, and when you do that, you'll own the market."

Stephen Weiss said he doesn't buy "markets," but "stocks." Josh said it's been working for a hundred years. Weiss said that's "mediocrity."

Liesman, apparently now the ultimate contrarian, said, "To me, Josh, the moment when the market is hitting records is the very prime time to sit there and think about what could go wrong." (And how's Howard Marks' caution and Carl's Day of Reckoning working out?)

Liesman revealed, "About a month ago, I recently (sic redundant) sold some stock." He said he only did that because he "rebalanced" his stock and bond percentage, a "totally dispassionate" move. (In the old days, we would've been rehashing the CNBC-on-air-personalities-stock-ownership policy, but now we basically yawn; we think they can own mutual funds but not specific stocks unless they're grandfathered in or GE (or perhaps Comcast now).)

He also said, "I say pick a allocation thing (sic grammar), put money away every month, and don't be deterred by the ups and downs … the majority of folks are doing it that way."

Kari Firestone said the weakening dollar was unexpected in forecasts at the beginning of the year, suggesting that's a factor in materials and energy.

Stpehen Weiss though said he'd give up on energy as just a trade.



Josh hanging around with NVDA; Pete out


Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime said he's been in NVDA since last summer and has "no plans" to take it off.

Brown said the notion that NVDA is a "crypto" stock didn't hold water this week when crypto crashed and NVDA had a good week.

Pete Najarian said he was in the name until today but got out on the pop. "It's about what's happening in the future," Pete said, adding he'll wait for the next pullback or options activity.

Pete trumpeted chips including QCOM; Judge pointed out that QCOM has been a "dog." Pete admitted, "you're a hundred percent right."

Weiss said he bought MU "in the high 20s" and called WDC a buy.



Pete: ORCL ‘way overdone’


Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime said he doesn't disagree with "some of what Jamie said" about bitcoin.

"I think the ICOs are mostly frauds" that will draw regulator interest, Brown said. But he predicted "serious institutional usage for crypto" and said he wants to be in the "gray area" on the subject.

Pete Najarian said October 26 GDX calls were popular after recent buying in March 30s. (And do we ever go a month without the Najarians spotting unusual bullish activity in either the GDX or GDXJ?)

Jeff Kilburg said the trajectory for gold and silver is higher. Anthony Grisanti though said hedge funds are "about to be squeezed" on long positions in gold and silver.

Steve Weiss said of FSLR, "any time the stock spikes like this is a time to take profits … I'm not a buyer."

Josh Brown said CCL has "definitely" broken the uptrend; he doesn't want anything to do with it.

Pete said ORCL's outlook was "weaker than expected," but the selloff was "way overdone."

Kari Firestone called robotics stocks interesting, CGNX, ZBRA and TER.

Pete Najarian's final trade was FCX. Josh Brown said ALB; "I will not stop talking about it." (This writer is long ALB.) Kari Firestone said HSC; Weiss said FCEa and said it's worth in the 30s.




Weiss tripped up multiple times on why he’s bogged down in cash


Friday's Halftime Report produced a skewering of Stephen Weiss' "healthy level" of cash (and various investment strategies).

Weiss (picture above not from Friday) tried to dismiss the general market enthusiasm (for stocks at all-time highs) as somehow a contra-indicator, stating that "we hear" Howard Marks (how's that been working out) and Ray Dalio, then scoffed that "we come here, we hear this incredible enthusiasm, you gotta be in … pedal to the metal and all that. And guess what, that's not reality, because that's when the surprises come out and hit and gonna cost you money."

But Josh Brown rightly tired of Judge's constant what-takes-this-market down line of questioning, stating, "We could sit here and come up with this list of things that could happen, or, we could focus on the big picture, and when you do that, you'll own the market."

Steve Liesman though somehow echoed Weiss' argument, stating, "To me, Josh, the moment when the market is hitting records is the very prime time to sit there and think about what could go wrong."

Much more about Weiss' portfolio and approaches to AMZN, biotechs and others, later.



[Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017]


Seema in glasses! (a/k/a Tom Lee suggests (with the usual qualifier) bitcoin $25,0000)


Chamath Palihapitiya on Thursday's Halftime said each FANG is merely a "data company in disguise."

He said FB and GOOGL have a much higher "regulatory overhang" than AMZN does.

Palihapitiya is "massively long" bitcoin, because it's a "fundamentally distributed store of value" amid central banks' "created or implemented value destruction."

Josh Brown asked Palihapitiya if the IRS and Treasury could one day "rip 50% out of the market cap of crypto." Palihapitiya asserted, "The IRS has no place to go."

Brown said, "They could shut the exchanges down tomorrow if they wanted to." Palihapitiya shrugged, "It'll just happen like it did before."

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Tom Lee — whose most notable call recently was his boneheaded 4-5% correction in the S&P 500 over the month of September (then again, whatever happened to Carl’s Day of Reckoning?) — was asked to forecast the price of bitcoin in 2-3 years.

Lee said the "framework" for evaluating bitcoin is to regard it as a "store of value." (This is where the b.s. comes in.) "If it's 5% of gold in 5 years, it's 25,000 per unit," Lee said.

Karen Finerman somehow is bullish on bitcoin. "I know that I wanna be there," Karen said. At least Guy Adami brought up the Emperor-Has-No-Clothes angle: "So my pushback … How can it be a way to conduct commerce and still have the volatility that it has. It's either a- it's either a currency in which you conduct commerce, or it's a speculative tool."

Primary speculation centered on what Seema Mody would somehow do for an encore while reporting on this subject; the answer was glasses.



‘Assume all of your data has likely been breached already’


Judge on Thursday's Halftime finally brought up EFX, asking Chamath Palihapitiya about cybersecurity — prompting Palihapitiya to make his most convincing statement of the day.

If you worry about things such as the Equifax disaster, "You'll worry yourself into a puddle," Palihapitiya said.

"I think it's almost better to assume all of your data has likely been breached already," Palihapitiya asserted before pointing out that we're only barely aware of the most recent reported details. "It's probably happened before … these people have probably been in there for years."

We thought about that, then realized, we couldn't possibly agree more.

They say people should worry about things within their control. How corporations and government and quasi-government entities protect personal data is not one of those things.

People scared of being 1 of 143 million on Equifax should consider the possibility of a junkie breaking into their dentist's office and grabbing some patient files while searching for the Vicodin.

That doesn't excuse the disgrace/incompetence of Equifax. But it's not the first and won't be the last. Protecting your data in ways that you can control — not giving it out to hucksters on the phone or replying to phishing/spam emails or having an angry ex-spouse or relative — is the best you can do; if you unfortunately end up with a problem, there are mechanisms for dealing with it, some of them actually quite impressive on the part of financial institutions in terms of response.

Anyway, Jon Najarian said QCOM December 57.50 calls were getting bought.

Brian Stutland said crude needs "significant" demand to propel the price past $50. Jim Iuorio said he'd be a bigger bull with a target around 54 if crude settles above 50.15.

Doc's final trade was NLSN. Jim Lebenthal said GM. Josh Brown said ALB. (This writer is long ALB.)



The great Transfer of Wealth to Texas Car Owners (cont’d)


Adam Jonas was summoned to Thursday's Halftime Report to explain his downgrades of HTZ and CAR — which would've been a better topic for the 5 p.m. Fast Money, when CAR bull Steve Grasso was on.

But whatever.

Jones explained that "it's not just the Uberization; we think the barriers to entry to car rental are going down."

"There's greater risk than opportunity in car rental," Jonas added.

Jonas admitted to Judge that he actually raised his price targets on HTZ (14) and CAR (21) despite the downgrade. That's when he again brought up the notion of "wealth transfer" (snicker) from insurance companies to the car dealers and consumers; he thinks used-car prices "will be pretty good for a couple quarters."

Jim Lebenthal said it sounds like Jonas is saying the industry is "fatally flawed." Jonas didn't really answer the question but mentioned car-rental insurance upselling and then, in fairness, actually tried to make the bull case for the rental companies while concluding he doesn't think it's enough for investors.

Chamath Palihapitiya wondered about financing for Hertz as it has to keep buying cars. Jonas said it won't have to be dealt with in the latter half of 2017 but agreed that it's coming.

As for Tesla, Jonas told Judge that the truck only adds about $5 to the stock price.

Jonas said the "message" behind his TSLA equal-weight rating is that they "really respect" what Tesla's doing, and the suppliers have "enormous respect" for the company, "but we do think that it's gonna invite competition over time."

Chamath Palihapitiya said the demand for Tesla's Model 3 is "absolutely enormous and off the charts" and then made a stark forecast for the BMW3 series; "that entire business is gonna go to zero."

Jonas said, "I hear that a lot from folks, 'BMW's gonna go to zero.'" But while that might be calculable on paper, in reality, the auto industry is huge in Germany, and "This is gonna get so political," Jonas said.

Judge brought up Jim Chanos' anti-TSLA argument about burning cash. Jonas said those points are "factually accurate." But if Tesla is viewed as more than just an auto company, "It may not be an expensive company."

Josh Brown said Chanos understands the TSLA excitement, but Chanos would point out that "there was a time when Enron was considered more than just a utility." Jon Najarian said Enron was "pretending" to do stuff, while Tesla is actually doing stuff.



Low bar: Anyone professing a new IPO technique need only point to SNAP


Chamath Palihapitiya, the star guest of Thursday's Halftime (unless you count Adam Jonas), said of his Social Capital Hedosophia IPO, "It went way better than I thought it could go." (Well, isn't that supposed to be his specialty?)

"People are betting on you!" Judge told Palihapitiya. Palihapitiya said, "I think what they're betting on really is for us to actually do a better job than say the traditional IPO banking infrastructure."

Referring to the most dubious stock of 2017, Palihapitiya said the SNAP process was "quite profound."

"Clearly it was mispriced," he said, adding Morgan Stanley admitted a "mistake," and now it's below the IPO price, all "fundamentally unnecessary" and "entirely avoidable."

Josh Brown, recalling his retail brokerage days when "we were doing a SPAC a week," told Palihapitiya that "there weren't any successes when the dust settled … the excitement wore off, and the stocks ended up not working."

Palihapitiya said that's an "excellent point," and "all of those SPACs were about control transactions … that's not what we are doing here."



[Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017]


The question David should’ve asked Karen, but didn’t


The most informative conversation of Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money centered on whether the pain in EFX is over (something we kind of dabbled in, to poor results).

Karen Finerman said no way, she is short as of Monday. "We're gonna see so many pile-ons," Finerman said, adding, "I just wonder how damaged is the business on a much more permanent basis."

Bringing up something that crossed our mind (snicker) this week, Finerman said, "This is unlike, the, you know, United Airlines passenger situation," noting TRU was also getting "crushed."

David Seaburg though said if the $200 million revenue from direct consumer business disappears for EFX, "that's 35 cents impact to earnings."

"I don't think that's the containment of the issue at all," Karen said.

"I don't think so either," chimed in Mel.

Seaburg said with an 18 multiple and consensus numbers down to $6.37, "that's a $115 stock."

Karen said, "Why should they get an 18 times multiple?" Seaburg said he was subtracting from "21½-ish."

Well, a couple things … first of all, nobody mentioned volume, surprisingly because Guy Adami usually takes note of it. EFX not only had massive downward volume Friday, but Wednesday. At some point, we're not saying when, a stock in this situation runs out of sellers.

Also, data breaches have not been like asbestos suits or oil leaks in the Gulf. Not yet, at least. This company deals with banks; it's not Chipotle.

Here's the question Seaburg should've asked Finerman: What price would you buy it at? We're sure Karen will protest, "It's too hard to know right now." But we also know she would gladly scoop it up at $5. So there is a price at which she would buy it. Is it $100? $75? $50? Worse? Whatever the answer, that's your trade.

Guy Adami said it's a "fascinating conversation," but, "I happen to agree with Karen."

Dan Nathan tried to claim the EFX hack will help the blockchain community.




Fast Money gang discusses favorite Patrick Swayze movies; no one mentions ‘Road House’


We tried to ignore Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but they kept roping us in, partly because Karen Finerman made a rare appearance.

Guy Adami said the FL and FINL trading bounce will continue, though ultimately they're value traps.

Finerman, who had touted FL in spring and summer, admitted, "I've been a Foot Locker fan," but rather than distributors, "brands is where you kinda wanna be." She halfheartedly recommended PVH. (Nothing about the joy of buying stocks trading down in "integers," which was the case with FL in the mid-50s.)

Karen also sounded like she couldn't push the button on M, though Scott Redler even suggested 28 for that name.




Mel dynamite in new navy top


Dan Nathan on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money touted NKE (snicker) for all its ecommerce moves (even though its profile in Barron's evidently escaped Judge's attention).

David Seaburg said, "I think Nike's in trouble."

We'll side with Seaburg; there's a glut of performance athletic wear or athleisure or whatever it's called, and there's nothing exciting in the sneaker space.

Guy Adami articulated a bull case for TMO, an excellent call by Joe Terranova over the summer.

During a discussion of drug patents, David Seaburg mentioned Kyle Bass, first time we've heard that name in months if not years. (What's happened to the Greece or Japan pending implosion?)



AAPL event finally over


Much of Wednesday's Halftime centered on AAPL, a stock and company we're highly tired of hearing about.

Jon Najarian said he's not calling for a 5-10% selloff in AAPL, but the stock may reach "maybe even the low 150s."

Josh Brown said his team "went and ran the numbers," and "there's absolutely no rhyme or reason" in terms of what AAPL does immediately after the launch vs. where the stock is in 90 days.

Brown said it's a "fantasy" to foresee a 5% pullback based on the product announcement.

Brown mentioned the (Zzzzzzzz) wireless charging and 2-hour-longer battery life of the new iPhone, calling it the "Jesus Phone." Doc chortled, "Samsung had all this multiple models ago."

Brown said "the Apple customer is not switching to a Samsung phone." Doc said, "Just so we are clear on that though, that's not an innovation. Apple makes it better. Apple makes it easier to use."

Toni Sacconaghi, who always is introduced with the label "No. 1" even though Pete Najarian only talks about Katy Huberty, said the AAPL announcement is "in line with expectations" (Zzzzzzz).

Sacconaghi said "the real question" is what will be the "elasticity of demand" based on the higher phone price.

As to the "I" question, "I think if you look back over the last 5 years, one can certainly make a case that Apple's level of innovation is not at the level that it was in the preceding 5 years," Sacconaghi said.

Sacconaghi called the new phone "a home run in China."

Jim Lebenthal said the Watch (Zzzzzz) was "off the radar screen" a year ago, but now people think it's a "growth driver."

Joe Terranova said the next 3 months could be "bumpy" for AAPL, but 9-12 months from now, it's "going to be higher." He touted AVGO and said he bought GLW and even said "Samsung's a big winner in this."

Jim Lebenthal said it'll be "huge" for QCOM (Zzzzzzzz) if it prevails on collecting royalties based on average selling price rather than just the components.



Honestly … not trying to be snarky … but given the headlines, sounds like Delivering Alpha was pretty boring


Judge on Wednesday's Halftime aired a clip of concerns expressed during Delivering Alpha but said Mary Erdoes said alpha is back.

Josh Brown said he doesn't know that alpha is back, stating "80% of all the flows into funds this year have gone into products with uh expense ratios of under 20 basis points. The entire industry is being upended. It's possible that we're only in the 2nd or 3rd inning of that phenomenon."

Joe Terranova said the "takeaway" from Delivering Alpha was, "There is no greater time to be diversified than now."

Josh Brown said Julian Robertson is right about, in the '60s, the FANG stocks would be 200 times earnings and that they're not trading like the Nifty Fifty. Joe said the FANGs are "deeply liquid," which is why they're so desirable.

Leslie Picker said Chanos announced a short in CLR. Joe said Chanos' thesis was "in direct opposite" to that of Lee Cooperman. Joe touted RRC and said he's "not necessarily sold" on Chanos' short but said, "If you think rates are gonna spiral out of control then yes, Jim is gonna be right on this one." (Actually rates are either going to spiral or not spiral regardless of what anyone thinks about them.)



Brown: Harvard doesn’t
need $100 million


Bobby Turner joined the set of Wednesday's Halftime to tout Profits with a Purpose.

Josh Brown asked Turner about people giving $100 million to Harvard, "which clearly doesn't need the money."

Jim Lebenthal said he just doesn't get how SLB can be considered socially responsible.

Doc said January 10 calls in OCLR were getting bought in "big numbers" while the 8 puts were getting sold. Josh Brown asked what the company does; he's never heard of it. Doc said fiber and said "I think this is one of Stephanie's stocks."

Brian Stutland said he expects copper to pull back to 2.90 or 2.80 where he'd buy; he sold at 2.99. Jim Iuorio said he's looking for 2.85 and sees it as a dollar story.

Joe Terranova's final trade was IBTX and TCBI. Jim Lebenthal said GM, and Josh Brown said ALB, a name in which he has hit a home run. Doc said HES, another energy name even though he constantly says he shouldn't have done energy names this year.



[Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017]

Pete tries to suggest Chanos might want to think about shorting AMZN


Tuesday's Halftime Report crew, conducting a show during Delivering Alpha, somehow decided that the full hour — during a record-breaking S&P day — should be devoted to a famous short seller.

(At least Judge didn't even bring up CAT, the most boring and useless famous short of all time.)

But the most interesting subject was a stock that Grandpa Jim Chanos won't short, AMZN.

Judge asked if Chanos could ever envision shorting it. "No," Chanos said, claiming, "Everybody likes to say that Blank is the next Amazon. We hear that all the time."

Actually, we're not sure we've ever heard it, on this program or elsewhere.

But Chanos offered perhaps the best, and most concise, explanation of Amazon's business model that we've heard on the show, explaining Jeff Bezos had previously financed the company by selling stuff to consumers and paying the suppliers later. "When he got AWS, the profits started to flow," Chanos said.

Pete Najarian seemed to think AMZN would be a strong short possibility for Chanos. "AWS is shrinking, slowly, but it's shrinking," Pete said, stating it occurs to him that "God, Amazon would be something that would stand out for you, because, in some ways they- they're not making enough money to support where they are."

Chanos shrugged. "I can find you, I can find you 30 other companies that have P.E.s similar without Jeff Bezos there," Chanos told Pete.

Chanos added, "Their basic product is data, your shopping habits … at the end of the day, that's a reasonably good model. See Google, see Facebook."

Actually, we'll take the other side of that. Google and Facebook each went public after they were enormously used … but well before they were printing money. The bull case was that they would quickly be able to do so. They did. Amazon is getting bought because people are streaming movies. Does anyone think AMZN is going to have $100 billion in cash anytime soon?

Meanwhile, "The grocery industry, we've been short," Chanos said. He wouldn't tell Judge if he's short KR but said you can take some "guesses."

Chanos was so lukewarm and matter-of-fact about the short scene, we gotta think this market's on autopilot.



This time, nothing about how Sen. Claire McCaskill should walk the 2 9 miles across town to MNK’s offices


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime brought up Jim Chanos target MNK.

The only problem is, we've heard this all from Andrew Left on this program months ago.

Chanos pointed to an article released last night after the close about an Oregon study on Acthar that was "devastating." Chanos also pointed to the Medicare costs of the drug.

Judge said MNK says Chanos overstates the "level of contribution" that Acthar makes toward the company's profitability. Chanos said the company was just sued by the ESOP who claims the company is "lying" about that percent.

Judge said ESRX says there's no "payor impact" at the level Chanos has stated.

Chanos shrugged, "We're short the PBM industry" as well as "bad actors" in the drug specialty space.



Another day in September, another blow to the 5%-drop-in-30-days prediction


Grandpa Jim Chanos on Tuesday's Halftime pinned the roaring stock market on the Fed. "I think we're here because, basically the central banks have stayed easy," Chanos said.

He pointed out that markets around the world have done well, so it's a "stretch" to credit the year's gains to Donald Trump.

Chanos joked to Judge that it's "easier" to find shorts in this environment, but "they don't work."

Chanos told Steve Weiss, with Josh Brown one of the early panelists on Delivering Alpha day, that "large corporations" are not clamoring for tax reform because, "Under most of these scenarios, they actually- their cash tax rate will go up."

"The non-deductibility of interest is a big deal," Chanos added, contending that tax reform is really about the "pass-throughs."

Chanos affirmed he's still short TSLA. "The only people more bearish than us are the corporate executives," he cracked.

After rattling off the typical financials/corporate governance, Chanos concluded, "If you wouldn't be short this, what would you be short?"

Here's the only problem with that. It's the premier entry in an exciting space, it makes a great product, it has a star CEO. It's like NFLX. Someday, it'll be uninteresting, but that's likely years or decades away. (This writer has no position in TSLA.)



Evidently Chanos underestimated BABA’s clout (a/k/a Things That Famous Short Sellers Overlook)


Jim Chanos on Tuesday's Halftime revealed he covered his BABA short in January.

"Their corporate lawyer was nominated to be chair of the SEC," Chanos said, before offering what should be his take on Tesla: "This might just be a dead story for a while."

"Basically 70% of their business is advertising," Chanos said of BABA.

Stephen Weiss revealed, "I've been adding to BABA," saying he's "sorta glad the accounting is somewhat opaque." Weiss admitted his reason for owning is because BABA is a "momentum stock in a momentum market that I'm looking to take advantage of."

Judge said Chanos is maybe the most "notable" China bear, "maybe on the face of the Earth." Chanos admitted he's "less short" China now than any time in the last 7 years.

After a Delivering Alpha update from CNBC's Leslie Picker, Weiss faulted Ray Dalio for touting gold "in the name of diversification." Josh Brown said gold has been in a 37-year bear market, and on an inflation-adjusted basis, it "has never gotten above the early-'80s high."

Chanos said he doesn't have a view on what if Gary Cohn leaves the administration. He said he has "no thoughts" on whether Janet Yellen should be reappointed." Weiss claimed "nobody's indispensable," citing "so many people" who used to work for him.



Nobody’s indispensable — imagine what would happen to BABA if Jack Ma weren’t there, to TSLA if Elon weren’t there ...


Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime struggled to ask Jim Chanos how does he/does he not pick an asset class globally to short. (Yeah, we couldn't really figure out the question either, but at least he didn't ask about liquidations in the tech sector.) Chanos eventually told Joe, "We're passively long the markets … and we're short individual ideas."

Judge noted Lee Cooperman said at Delivering Alpha that UAL could go to $100, though it may take "12 to 18 months." Pete Najarian said, "I own this stock," but he said while it gets 70% of DAL's income, it's only half the market cap, so, "Something's not working there in that math."

Joe said he prefers DAL to UAL, citing Texas and Caribbean storm impact.

Pete's final trade was PFE and MRK. Joe agreed and said CTAS.

Chanos said MCD is "absolutely taking share" in the burger space.



[Monday, Sept. 11, 2017]

Gene didn’t clarify if 7-8% drop constitutes ‘liquidation’


Gene Munster on Monday's Halftime Report said he's now expecting a 7-8% drop in AAPL, not his original 10%, after the event, citing "something incremental" in the LTE Watch.

Munster said the Watch "is 3% of Apple's business today."

Judge asked if Munster is saying that the Watch "in and of itself" (sic redundant) is changing his near-term forecast. Munster said yes, because Street numbers probably go up.

Munster said the "Golden Master" of the Apple event somehow got leaked. But he said he thinks the new phone will deliver growth. Judge finally asked what should've been the first question, why the stock will fall. Munster said people have made a lot of money over the last year and it's had a strong run into this event, and when that happens, "typically there is a pullback."

Jon Najarian said AAPL 162.50 calls were getting aggressively bought. Doc said he'll be selling AAPL calls on Tuesday. Pete Najarian noted that Doc talked about untethering the Watch to the phone "years ago." Pete also mocked Weiss (who wasn't there) for claiming AAPL is "not innovating," citing Augmented Reality (snicker) and also that Weiss "doesn't like services, but he owns the stock."

Joe Terranova wondered if Steve Mnuchin will talk about repatriation at Delivering Alpha.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Pete said he talked with Gene Munster on Friday in Minneapolis. (That would be a fun one to eavesdrop on; "You should hear what we talk about during commercials," etc.)



Haven’t heard any AMZN-to-$3,400 in at least a few days


On Monday's Halftime, Jackie DeAngelis, who reported all day from Riviera Beach, Fla., said power and ports were the 2 issues in Florida (that was pretty much the story all day, although she later added gasoline); "it's 90 degrees here and hot" (hopefully Jackie packed a swimsuit).

Joe Terranova shrugged that he's "not overly concerned" about cotton and orange juice trading in the wake of Irma. Jim Lebenthal said of insurers, "This is not the time to go diving into this sector right now."

Judge made sure to wish Floridians a "speedy recovery."



If SNAP hits single digits, it’s the Call of the Year; if not, it’s the Bust of the Year


Jon Najarian on Monday's Halftime said December 55 calls in ORCL were getting scooped up.

Doc also said people who bought TEVA 16.50 calls last week for 16 cents are now getting $2.30.

Pete Najarian said November 35 calls in INTC got bought. Pete also said there was "pretty aggressive buying" in SNAP 15.50 September calls. Even so, "I think it goes single digits," Pete reiterated. Doc said he, like Pete, bought in to this trade.

Pete said he's long MU but not in STX. Joe Terranova said he wouldn't "align" himself with a "falling knife" strategy such as buying STX; he thinks MU is in a "much better position."

Jim Lebenthal said he prefers INTC (big surprise) to MU.

Judge said MA hit an all-time high. "It's goin' higher from here," said Jim Lebenthal.

Joe said he doesn't want to buy UAL despite the nice reversal. He does want to buy JBLU and DAL.

Pete said he wouldn't buy REGN just yet.

Doc said RE bounced but opened at 245 and was only 234 during the show.

Pete's final trade was WFC. "Maybe the turn is in," Pete said.

Doc said TWTR; he likes it for "2 or 3 months."

Jim Lebenthal said GM. Joe said ORCL and SAP.



Joe says owning QQQ puts was a ‘very bad position,’ an ‘awful position,’ a ‘horrible position’


Just Wednesday, Joe Terranova was bragging about buying "fantastic" QQQ puts.

It was a different story on Monday's Halftime, when Joe was forced to admit at the top of the show, "Obviously I took a very bad position in QQQ puts, that's an awful position to have this morning. You take your loss, you move on … horrible position."

But honestly, that wasn't nearly as bad as Tom Lee's lunkheaded "September '87" reference on Friday to a 4-5% drop in 30 days. (Or even Weiss' boneheaded "50% cash.")

Joe questioned how the Fed has any "accuracy" in forecasting data amid 2 hurricanes.

Pete Najarian, meanwhile, said Goldman Sachs deems this market as "not euphoric."

Judge noted, "We're positive for September." Jim Lebenthal said "this is exactly why" you shouldn't try to time a correction.

Jon Najarian said the market was providing a "very good reaction to what most of us would say is pretty s- horrific news."

Judge cross-promoted Steve Mnuchin on Delivering Alpha on Tuesday.



Judge doesn’t mention Barron’s article on avoiding NKE


Craig Johnson, who sees up to 5% upside into year-end, said on Monday's Halftime that we've gone "303 days without a correction" of 5%, which he said is "adding to the nervousness."

Johnson said, "If we start to see a break in the FANG stocks, then I'm gonna be nervous; otherwise, 2,575 I think is a really reasonable objective by year-end."

Judge asked, "What could drag the market down." Johnson said the "key risk" is that "the bond market does not believe that there's any sort of inflation."

Jim Lebenthal said Johnson is more likely to be right than Tom "4-5% in 30 days" Lee is, and that a name such as AMZN has already corrected.

Pete Najarian took issue with Johnson's suggestion that banks would "roll over" with rate headwinds.

Pete soid he sold BAC but bought WFC; the latter became his final trade.

Doc said BAC is the only bank he owns now. He thinks JPM will get to 100 by year-end, but he'll be able to get it at a better price.

Usually all it takes is someone breathing on the panel to prompt a discussion of 1) NKE or 2) the Barron's cover story; Judge curiously avoided NKE Monday even though it made the Barron's cover with a stay-away call.

More from Monday's Halftime later.



[Friday, Sept. 8, 2017]


September 1987 enters the lexicon of parallels for this dangerous market


Joining the ranks of Howard Marks and Jeffrey Gundlach in the most recent CNBC parlor game, Tom Lee on Friday's Halftime Report — the 2nd straight day of crisp, informative programming — predicted a 4-5% drop in the S&P 500 over 30 days, citing "evidence of risk aversion," "deterioration of market internals" and "setbacks in Washington."

Well, we'll give him props for attaching a time frame.

Waffling like l'eggo my egg'o, Rob Sechan said he agrees and disagrees, that the drop could happen but "probably not," it's a situation where "there's lots to worry about with a healthy fundamental backdrop."

Lee made a reference to "September '87" (usually from others it's something about the market not looking like this since 2007, 1999 and 1929), explaining an 800-basis-point-per-year gap between stock performance and GDP over 5 years.

Later in the show, Lee said the median P.E. is 19 times forward earnings. "The only times it's been higher has been '99 (bingo), and 2000, 2001."

Jon Najarian politely said, "I don't agree with the 6% selloff," explaining he saw "huge paper in the S&P 500" on Friday.

Pete Najarian said he too disagrees with Lee and pointed to that "really aggressive" S&P September call-buying. Pete said he jumped on that trade "immediately."

Not part of his original catalyst, Lee said "Both Sandy and Katrina saw the market draw down 3% peak to trough at least over the next 30 to 45 days."

John Harwood said tax reform looks less likely, given the cost of hurricanes and the suddenly crowded Washington calendar and "rising (snicker) discord" between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell.

Tom Lee called FANG "defensive growth," suggesting a low bond yield is positive for the group.

Pete said a lot of the growth in technology is tied to the cloud, stating it's understandable that Lee likes the FANG names. Judge questioned again if "the FANGs will work if the market doesn't." Pete said his answer is "yes," and if the dollar stays weaker, they'll do even better.



If the stock market can’t figure out how to value GS, then what actually can it value properly?


David Konrad of Macquarie said on Friday's Halftime Report that the market's missing that "FICC's no longer the driver of Goldman Sachs."

Touting the stock, he said, "Sentiment's poor; valuation's attractive," adding this is "seasonally" a good time to buy brokers. He said the story's "a bit misunderstood."

Judge said "it makes me smile" that Konrad raised his GS price target from 255 to a whole 258.

Jon Najarian said he disagrees with Konrad's FICC assessment, predicting when the dollar turns, the FICC side of GS will "explode again."



Don’t give out your password (cont’d)


Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime said the selling in EFX days after the breach was detected is "a little suspicious in and of itself (sic last 4 words redundant)," and noted with Pete, lo and behold, on Aug. 21, someone bought a bunch of September 135 puts.

Eamon Javers said what the Najarians were talking about (not specifying whether he meant the sales or put buying or both) is an "absolute red flag" but stressed, "it's not definitive."

Javers noted the depth of the breach. "To me, the question is, why are companies allowing this to happen," Javers wondered.



Still trying to figure out what DIS has to gain by purchasing TWTR


Judge on Friday's Halftime said RL got upgraded to outperform by Credit Suisse.

Jon Najarian said he was in it in the 70s but hasn't been in for a while; he likes the call and thinks it's an "iconic brand."

Doc said short interest "propelled" the RL shares through 90.

Rob Sechan said technology seems to be helping RL.

Pete Najarian said in retail, "It's about brand," and he credited Jan Kniffen for talking about that recently. Pete also hailed LULU.

"Kniffen's gonna love the name drop, Pete," Judge said.



Possibly the least enthusiastic ‘generational-bottom’ call of all time


Judge on Friday's Halftime Report kept interrupting Tom Lee as Lee tried to speak about the car-rental companies, a favorite subject of Steve Grasso on recent episodes of Fast Money at 5 p.m.

Lee said "rental cars are interesting" because there are only 2 million rental cars in the U.S. and a million cars being destroyed by storms; he said the sector also needs stable used-car prices, which are benefiting from the storms.

Judge stumbled over handing off KR to Pete Najarian on the Trader Blitz. Pete said the results were fine, but, "they dropped that outlook significantly."

Jon Najarian shook his head at CMG; "I don't know that you buy this one here."

Rob Sechan said he's "not sure" if the pricing power will return to property & casualty insurers after the storms. "They traded down after Katrina, they really didn't trade back meaningfully after that," Sechan said.

Judge and other CNBCers keep referring to weather gal Kalee Dionne as from "WMAQ," without mentioning "Chicago," which isn't exactly Florida or the Caribbean.

Jon Najarian made BBBY his final trade, noting that back to college is "kinda like Christmas for them." Rob Sechan likes the ITB. Tom Lee actually touted digital currencies.

Lee called MSFT a great value stock, and he touted "telecom services" as a great value play.

Lee said energy's at a "generational bottom," though he didn't sound highly effusive.



[Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017]


Fast Fire: Marcato’s stake in Buffalo Wild Wings (a/k/a what is the status of Sumner?)


Judge in 2017 has given a decent amount of airtime to Mick McGuire, whose Marcato has for whatever reason been adamant about turning around Buffalo Wild Wings. (McGuire's appearances actually date back to the Kate Kelly era, evidenced by the photo above.)

McGuire touted his activist initiative in BWLD on Feb. 13, when the stock was 158.20.

On April 20, with the stock at $163.75, he actually tossed out a possible 450 price target, if the "value drivers" are hit.

On Thursday, it skidded to $95, just the latest 52-week low.

So, you can't believe everything you hear on TV.

On May 8, at Ira Sohn, Keith Meister trumpeted his stake in CTL, a day it closed at $24.80.

On Aug. 18, a day CTL hit a 52-week low of 18.41, Pete Najarian said he was in CTL September 20 calls. The stock did climb above 20 over the next week, but Thursday, it was at 18.47.

We should also note that Mario Gabelli, during his occasional appearances, is always asked about VIAB, given that he's a big stakeholder. (Honestly, in the latter half of 2016, CNBC talked about this company every 15 minutes.) To Gabelli's credit, he's never been pounding the table for it, and he has pegged the turnaround as taking 2-3 years, but in January he did tell Barron's about a double in 3 years; that one too is at a 52-week low.



Best show in weeks; panelists at top of their game on DIS, AMZN and GE


After Julia Boorstin reported on Bob Iger's EPS forecast, Rich Greenfield dialed in to Thursday's Halftime and said the media space is challenged, and "even Disney can't avoid those challenges."

Greenfield said DIS spent $2.6 billion on BAMtech, "a money-losing platform."

Greenfield said Disney does need to "create a direct-to-consumer experience." But "they should be getting out of the Hulu joint venture and putting all of the ABC content in. They shouldn't be launching a separate ESPN product; that should be part of it. They should be- It should be everything Disney, not these silos that they're trying to create for different types of content," Greenfield said.

Greenfield said DIS needs to buy something, specifying ATVI "or a major video game player," a service like Spotify, and even TWTR (snicker), because "SportsCenter now is Twitter."

Pete Najarian questioned what's wrong with BAMtech. "This puts them in a position for streaming. I really don't fully understand where Rich comes from on that perspective."

But Pete conceded, "They absolutely were late, and I think that's right directly on Iger."

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money (repetition alert), Pete said, "I love- like" what Bob Iger has done, but, "where were they when it came to streaming that it took this long for them to get to this point."

Judge on Halftime said Disney's streaming is "a move to play defense" rather than offense.

Joe Terranova said, "I'm not sure what Activision really does for them, but Netflix to me would clearly be the target." Joe also doubted whether TWTR is "gonna really move the needle."

Pete questioned if it's "too late" for DIS to buy NFLX. Joe said they have to do something about revenue growth.

Stephen Weiss delivered the best analysis of a crisp segment, pointing out the actual numbers, stating "the issue" with buying NFLX is that DIS would have to pay $100 billion, and (to agreement from panelists) DIS shareholders would "flip out" and be "destroyed" by the dilutive acquisition.

Josh Brown said he read in the morning that AAPL and AMZN are in the bidding for James Bond, which means unlimited competition for the studios. Brown called DIS "probably a better buy than a short" but conceded the whole business "just got a lot more complicated in the last couple years."

Not that long ago, CNBCers used to hail Bob Iger as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Thursday, Weiss said, "He's a great CEO, phenomenal company, but it's just not their time." Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said of Iger, "Where was he a month ago. … The same comments could've been made 25 days ago."

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said of DIS, "I think you gotta buy the stock."



Who knew — the secret to growth is buying a grocery chain


In a not-so-convincing argument (but still interesting discussion), Tom Forte on Thursday's Halftime said he's got a $1,300 AMZN target because it's ushering in a new era of "bricks and clicks."

Forte also touted "margin expansion" based on more sales from 3rd-party units.

Judge noted "a guy over at MKM" has a $3,400 AMZN target over the next 7-8 years. Forte said it could be an "open-ended growth story."

Judge asked about risks. Forte said the risk is "slower growth from their Web services unit."

Stephen Weiss said the risk to AWS is actually "happening now" as companies threaten to use other options.

Jon Najarian said AMZN seems to be in "no-man's land" and said 1,300 in 12-18 months is a "reach."

Josh Brown said AMZN "tends to make a big move all at once" and has "so many levers to pull."

Joe Terranova said he has "no clue" as to where AMZN goes, perhaps "sideways." Joe also suggested "too much rhetoric out of Washington, D.C.," is a risk; Josh Brown mentioned the Justice Department's war on MSFT 20 years ago.

Pete Najarian said AWS has reported the lowest level of growth in 3 years. "That's what's driving this company right now," Pete said.



Analyst complains he’s being used by rivals as a contra-indicator


JPMorgan's Stephen Tusa on Thursday's Halftime Report said GE's EPS forecast should be more like $1.30 while the Street is at $1.70, and his latest note indicates it's "it's even worse than we think."

Tusa claims his own clients have been telling him that there are "some other brokers that are basically using my name and saying that I'm too negative as a reason to buy the stock." (Now that's a curious argument — "Hey, buy this stock because this guy is too negative on it.")

Judge noted Tusa's note calls $24 a "ceiling."

"My price target's 22," Tusa said, but he indicated the teens might be more likely, stating the 4% yield "may not be realistic."

Josh Brown asked Tusa what's the "worst thing" GE management could do. Tusa said "A breakup, um, at kinda fire-sale prices, um is probably not the right move."

Tusa added that "40% of their portfolio is exposed to fossil-fuel markets." Brown tried to clarify that Tusa doesn't want them to get out, but Tusa didn't fully answer the question, stating the market value is already reflected in Baker Hughes and so selling doesn't really matter.

Doc scowled at GE like it was SNAP; "they've been buying puts in this thing" for the last week, as if GE was in the "eye of the hurricane," Doc said, specifying "huge numbers" of March 25 puts. "They think this thing's just sliding lower," Doc said.

Stephen Weiss said, "I think you need an entirely new board" at GE. Josh Brown said the stock "looks awful" with "no buyers" (except the ones being steered by rival brokers bringing up Stephen Tusa's name).



Not clear how viewers are supposed to trade orange juice futures


John Harwood on Thursday's Halftime said a debt deal may not be so easy, but he thinks it'll probably get the House votes.

Paul Richards said stocks "possibly need to" react to the dollar, and that in the government, "They're basically setting us up for a mid-December showdown."

Richards said "poor old Draghi … just had no bullets" to stop the euro's rise. He called the euro a "difficult buy" when you've got central bankers watching it so closely.

Judge said AAPL had taken "a noticeable drop lower" because of the WSJ story that the new iPhone has been plagued by "production glitches." Pete Najarian shrugged that this has happened "how many times in the past." Others agreed, but Doc suggested letting it slide to 157 and then buying.

Toni Sacconaghi was brought in later, stating there's been "speculation" for 6 months that the new high-end OLED phone would be delayed. Sacconaghi said the issue is whether the delay would be enough to cause buyers to consider other devices. Judge said, "So, you're essentially saying they have a 2-month window."

Doc said there was a rumor that Jana would step in to TRIP. He said 45 and 45.50 calls expiring Friday were getting bought. Pete noted GILD has "absolutely exploded" since the KITE deal; the September 82.50 calls were getting bought.

Jim Iuorio thinks orange juice is heading higher long term. Brian Stutland said cotton and lumber had been basing and starting to recover before the hurricane season; "watch for prices to move higher."

Judge said FEYE got upgraded at Morgan Stanley; Joe Terranova scoffed, "that's basically a get-out-of-jail-free card for Fireye." Joe called SYMC "much better."

Pete Najarian said BAC upside calls were getting bought. Doc's final trade was ALKS based on buying of the 50 calls while Judge kept interrupting with Weiss' jokes. Weiss' final trade was FCEa. Josh Brown said ALB, and Joe said HON.



[Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017]


Not interested in bitcoin, but now it appears Seema is CNBC’s bitcoin reporter ...


Mel billed the appearance of Robert Shiller on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money as a big bitcoin showdown because Shiller apparently thinks bitcoin is in a "bubble."

Which of course means he's really going to 1) sound surprised at the first question (check), 2) say, "I'm not as negative as it may seem" (check) and 3) soften the definition of "bubble" (check).

Tim Seymour complained his "wife's guitar teacher" and his "lift home at 2 in the morning when I've been out drinkin'" have been asking him about bitcoin, making him skeptical.

It's not hard for us to see this thing "trading" (if that's the right word) for $100 after people start to wonder why they're paying 4 digits for a computer doohickey.

On other matters, Seymour said, "I have to tell you that, um, Gary Cohn as Fed chairman doesn't give me a ton of confidence. And I wonder, you know, really, what is on the resume that allows this guy to be Fed chairman." Obviously Tim hasn't spent all 9 innings of a Yankee game with Cohn.



If Joe brings up tech ‘liquidation’ on Thursday, we’re gonna toss him outta the union


Judge on Wednesday's Halftime didn't read a Barron's article to panelists and viewers.

But he did decide to say that the tech sector "looks questionable."

"It looks questionable? Ooh, really," hooted Pete Najarian.

Joe Terranova only made things worse, stating he disagrees with Pete and Steve Weiss, claiming, "We seem to lose technology yesterday at a certain point."

Pete said, "I think that's an overstatement to say 'lose technology.' I mean, how did we lose technology yesterday."

Pete insisted tech had just "screamed to the upside, and now it's in a pause phase."

Joe said, "You're actually I think validating what I'm saying in the- in the near term."

"I'm not sure I am," Pete said.

Pete accused Judge and Joe of "making it sound like everybody just said, 'Holy crap, we gotta start selling tech.'" Then Pete told Joe, "Yesterday you used the word 'liquidation.'"

"Well, absolutely," Joe said.

Judge asked Pete, "Somebody pee in your Honey Nut Cheerios today?" (That's our line, from "Wall Street.")

"Hey man, I'm all good," Pete said, "I just don't understand something that's not even down more than 1% that suddenly they're liquidating assets in, that just seems baffling."

Joe said, "Well, tech is down 1% so far this month. It is."

"Liquidating, selling, it's the same thing … it's semantics," Joe said.

"I don't know," Judge offered. "I liquidate my bank account, I sorta take everything out, don't I?"

"Correct," said Pete. "Thank you, Scott. That's where I'm going. That's why the liquidation worry is a complete extreme," Pete said.

Joe inexplicably suddenly admitted, "I used the wrong term. … I get all that." Then he bragged that he bought QQQ puts a day earlier that are doing "fantastic."

Weiss said he wants more of a tech pullback to buy some.

Honestly, it's a trading show, and it's fine for Joe to make a trading call in tech. But nobody's buying it. Nobody thinks it's really already happened, as Joe suggests, and the consensus is clearly that any decent selloff would get bought, so at best Joe is talking about picking up pennies and nickels in front of trains.

He's more than welcome to try.



If plunging 10-year yield reflects deflationary real impact of technology, why is technology being liquidated?


Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Halftime Report said "it's time to be concerned" about the 10-year yield, but not "overly worried."

Rick Santelli said it's "highly likely" that the 10-year will drop below 2.0%, but the amount of time spent there will be "rather limited."

Steve Weiss said that declining bond yields simply "drives investment to stocks" and dismissed bond bubble fears.

"We're in year 5 of the bubble," Weiss shrugged.

Weiss and Pete Najarian claimed "fear" is driving bonds to 2.0% or lower. Santelli demanded to know "what's the primary fear." Judge decided to take a crack at that one himself, stating, "Maybe it's playing too much chicken with the debt ceiling … North Korea's gotta be in there somewhere. But maybe it's the debt ceiling front and center."

Weiss reiterated a point of his from last week: "You're watching a game of laser tag with nukes between two 5-year-olds."

Santelli suggested gold would be at $2,000 if people were really afraid of North Korea.

Paul Richards said N. Korea joining the nuclear club meant "7 to 8 basis points on the 10-year."

Richards said "the Trump Trade" is in "real danger from a market perspective."



What’ll the market think when Taiwan announces a nuclear program


Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime said Jong Un wants nukes because "nukes are the only way he stays in power."

Actually, it's probably not even that. He's likely clinging by a thread, and ignoring him is the best way to make him go away.

Trying to change the subject from tech's "liquidation," Joe Terranova questioned where energy is going. Pete Najarian said every energy move this year has been a "head fake," and, "If I could take back every energy trade I've put on this year, holy crap, I'd be doing incredible." (That didn't stop him from talking about NRG October 26 calls later in the show.)

Judge made the "Call of the Day" Nomura's 185 on AAPL. (Gee, wonder if the panelists think AAPL is going up.) "I like the call," said Doc, but he doesn't think it moves for a couple of weeks.

Weiss said Apple needs to show it's got "innovative gas in the tank." Weiss said a company shouldn't be satisfied with "status quo."

Judge told Weiss, "I mean, really. Status quo. They're a status quo company?"

Weiss said that Apple has "The best marketing on the planet," because it apparently has convinced the panelists that Apple does a great job of copying other technology.



Been a few weeks since we heard about how great it was that Stephanie bought AMZN for TIAA-CREF


Judge and Doc on Wednesday's Halftime pointed out that Facebook purports to have an ad reach of 41 million 18-to-24-year-olds; "the only problem with that," Judge said, is that the Census says there's only 31 million. "They've got more than 1 account," Doc joked.

Pete Najarian said he'd expect HDS to be moving even higher to the upside, it's not, so he's staying away.

Steve Weiss said he's staying away from SRPT, but "invariably it'll fall back," and when that happens, he'll take another look.

Joe Terranova said NWL is affected by the Caribbean, but he thinks it's now at a point where you buy it.

Erin Browne, who had a quiet show, still likes homebuilders, because of low rates and the Harvey rebuilding.

Doc said WFT October 4.50 calls were being aggressively bought. Doc said October 87.50 calls in ADI were being bought. Doc admitted he bought BABA calls at $2 and "lost about half the money."

Pete Najarian said 12 calls in VALE were getting bought.

Jeff Kilburg said OPEC announced an extension of its agreement in hopes of pushing crude over 50. Scott Nations said oil has been in a downtrend, but if we get "convincingly" above 50, then all bets are off.

Joe's final trade was SAP. Weiss said MU. Erin Browne said XLF. Pete said materials but said he's out of X. Doc said ARRY.



[Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2017]


‘Conference season’ might deliver more than Jong Un


Joe "The Liquidator" Terranova contended on Tuesday's Halftime that there are a "tremendous amount of obstacles that the market faces right now."

We'll beg to differ.

"I'm rather certain that volatility will be spiking," Joe predicted, despite the fact Pete Najarian said Friday that volatility has been "sucked out" of the market.

Stephanie Link said "conference season" might help "offset" some of the obstacles.

Link said she was just adding to ABBV.

Josh Brown chuckled that the Barron's article by Ben Levisohn is just typical "bull-bear ping-pong."

Link questioned why you wouldn't want to be in U.S. stocks. Brown said an answer would be, "There are only 2 moments in recorded history where you've been paying the same multiple on earnings for U.S. stocks that you're paying right now.

"Now a sample size of 2 is not science," Brown added, but he said it's possible all the positive catalysts cited by Link are priced in.

Judge noted that Barron's mentioned valuation, only to have Brown cut in and argue against his own previous point; "you need an exogenous catalyst" to sink stocks besides valuation.

Jim Lebenthal said Monday's selloff is "probably North Korea."

Jim noted there is "great disparity" among valuations. Hectoring another co-panelist, Josh Brown cut in to say "this idea that 'Oh, I'm just gonna sell the expensive stocks and buy the-' that's great, it's not gonna stop you when correlations spike to 1, from realizing a hit in the portfolio. … There is no gold medal awarded for owning the cheapest stock in a correction."

Joe suggested the Russell was slumping because it has 25% exposure to financial institutions, and, "You've got a 10-year Treasury that at the beginning of the year, everyone said, predicted, to Josh's point, it was gonna go to 3%."

Joe pointed to the 2.08 10-year: "What is that telling you about the deflationary real impact of technology?"

"Sentiment couldn't be any worse for energy," Link said.



Joe says Judge didn’t give the full story of Joe’s bank positioning


Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said the banks' selloff is "creating an opportunity," citing planned buybacks.

Judge said Aug. 22, "the same day" Pete bought BAC calls, Joe Terranova sold MS, reflecting opposing sides of a trade.

Joe protested, "What you're not telling, is I'm long Bank of America stock," but Joe wishes he'd "limited my risk (snicker sic means put less money in the position) through calls."

Joe said if MS gets back in the upper 30s, he'll be right back in. Pete said he's long BAC and trades around the stock. For those who are excited about that, Josh Brown pointed out that BAC has traded within a 3-point range since November, "so there's probably more volatile areas where there's a lot more money to be harvested from things like uh, calls and puts."

Pete said until we see "cracks," he's not changing his bullish outlook on the banks.

Pete thundered that the options buying has been in materials recently.

Judge challenged Jim Lebenthal over whether banks are 2 steps forward, 1 back (Jim) or the other way around (Judge).




Nothing more about the great ‘transfer of wealth’ to Texas car owners


Dan Leonard, who works for something called The Weather Company, observed on Tuesday's Halftime that Hurricane Irma was driving orange juice and cotton futures.

Steph Link called HD and LOW "great quality companies" but "very kind of crowded longs." She said she's inclined to trim a bit of URI.

Jim Lebenthal said HD and LOW aren't cheap; he suggests MLM and EXP as rebuilding plays.

Seema Mody, in blue, pointed out emerging markets are leading the U.S. and Europe. (She also addressed the bitcoin surge on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.)



Karen on Fast Money says ‘the bitcoin story is very much intact’ but ‘very erratic’


Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said 15 times earnings has typically been a place to buy DIS, and it's starting to "accelerate" in the streaming area to compete with "the Netflix (sic not plural) of the world." (Either there's more than one Netflix, or "of the world" is redundant.)

"It's not like they're just sitting on their hands right now," Pete asserted.

Josh Brown said Pete's right about streaming, but took issue, stating, "Let's not look at it like they're playing offense. This is defense. They're screwed if they don't do it."

Joe Terranova said DIS "seems to be stuck" between 100 and 105.

Jim Lebenthal suggested "the E part of that multiple" for DIS may be coming down. He said 115 is "in the cards," but not in the next 6 months.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Mel brought in Marci Ryvicker, who said of DIS, they've got a new "Star Wars" movie coming out! "We don't think there's that much downside."




Judge rusty, flat in return just 1 business day after Mike Farr says CNBC needs Mel on the air ‘more often’


Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report said March 10 calls in HIMX were getting bought; the screen graphic said they were March 12s. (Judge didn't seek a clarification.)

For the S&P 500, Josh Brown said "the 50-day is very noisy" and pointed out that when we've dipped below it this year, we've climbed back with "no material consequences whatsoever."

Jeff Kilburg said "the biggest undercurrent" moving copper is dollar weakness. He thinks the trend is higher, unless sustained equity selling sends it down to $3. Anthony Grisanti said he's looking for $3.20.

Paul Richards said the "natural reaction" to the North Korea situation is "a little bit of panic." He said to get below 2.0% in the 10-year, you'd have to give up on U.S. and global growth and any kind of resolution for North Korea.



Joe, Josh tangle over definition of ‘liquidating’ (a/k/a Josh doesn’t know Joe’s original Fast Money nickname is The Liquidator)


We were gonna highlight Judge's return to Tuesday's Halftime Report.

Instead, people got hung up over one word.

Addressing Monday's stock-market selloff, Joe Terranova declared, "Everyone is in technology right now, and they're liquidating."

That got Josh Brown's attention. "XLK made a new all-time high on Friday," Brown said. "What are we talking about? XLK's down 1% and we're calling that a 'liquidation'? Joe, you've been around a long time, dude. This is gonna get worse until liquidation."

Joe said the QQQ's were down more than 1% after being higher in the morning.

"Can we get into a 5% drawdown before we use the L word? That's all- that's all I'm asking," Brown said.

"No. Because you always are gonna use the liquidation phrase because those are the first things that are gonna get sold off. Technology," Joe insisted.

Stephanie Link introduced a head-scratcher: "I think we all agree that the theme this year would be rotation," Link said. (Actually, we thought the theme was FAANG.)

Later in the program, Joe asserted again, "These tech names have rolled over today. That's a short-term liquidation."

Brown scoffed, "Oracle is green. Intel is green. Seagate is green. Salesforce.com is green…"

"OK, why is Nvidia down 3%. You talk about Nvidia all the time," Joe said.

"This is the best liquidation ever. I love it," Brown chuckled.

"It's the trading phenomenon of why the market is down 200 today," Joe retorted.

Steph Link asserted that Joe "can be the day trader. I'm gonna be the long-term investor."

Value guy Jim Lebenthal said, "Price does matter," citing AAPL and AMZN (but what happens if AMZN outperforms into year-end).

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.



[Friday, Sept. 1, 2017]


Mike Farr uncorks an attention-getter for those named Wapner


Friday's Halftime Report spent most of the first 10 minutes on … the jobs report.

Jim Lebenthal said the jobs report signals to him there will be "maybe not a rate hike this year."

Steve Liesman conceded, "It's not that big a deal."

"We've got a good labor market," Jim said.

Josh Brown said "college-educated unemployment is effectively zero."

Brown said there's no economic narrative this year, pointing to stocks rising while rates go either up or down.

Pete Najarian said volatility has been "sucked out of this market." Guest host Missy Lee pointed out that volatility tends to fall before a 3-day weekend.

Jon Najarian, who continues to pronounce Gary Cohn's last name as "Cohen," said the Barron's article about the Chinese being back in the bond market explains a "big part" of why yields are low.

Mike Farr, who usually is on other CNBC programs, uncorked this declaration: "This is a great show today, Melissa. I think they need you on more often."

Farr said he's fully invested (unlike Weiss at 50% cash and Pete at 30%). While Josh Brown said he agrees with what Farr's saying, Pete was heard in the background open mike saying, "from up here to down here."



Being in 50% cash or 30% cash because August is usually bad and Jeff Gundlach and Howard Marks are warning (cont’d)


Friday's Halftime Report, heading into a holiday weekend (some have been on the holiday for a while), had little in the way of sparks, except that Greg Sarian got a little bit tripped up by a question from Jim Lebenthal.

Sarian said, "Investors should be concerned with the fact that we're at record highs again and entering a seasonally challenging period" and that the "market has some wind in its face."

He said he finds overseas markets "much more reasonably priced."

Jim asked Sarian how to deal with investors if the U.S. market does well into year-end and they miss out on some of it.

Sarian told Jim, "The international markets are gonna follow what our markets do."

So … and keep in mind we're a little challenged in the I.Q. Department … on the one hand, foreign markets will outperform … but on the other hand, they'll just "follow" the U.S.

Gene Todd suggested September "could be cause for a little concern," first citing historical badness and then adding the debt ceiling, neither of which we think has any bearing on whether stocks will be up or down in the next 30 days.

Guest host Mel said advisors "always" say stay the course, "and I get that, totally," but what would make advisors tell people to take money off the table. Todd admitted that timing the market historically has been a "sucker's bet."

Sarian touted biotech.



‘Widowmaker’ stocks up 26%


CNBC's Scott Cohn said on Friday's Halftime that the 40-minute Arkema conference call raised more questions than answers.

Jim Lebenthal said he'd be "very careful" with the refinery space, echoing a point he and others have made probably a dozen times this week. (#argumentforweeklyshow) Josh Brown said refiners are not even a sector but rather an "industry group."

Jon Najarian said PANW has "caught fire," but the security space has been a "widowmaker," pointing to FEYE and FTNT, even though Mel's chart showed those names up 26% this year.

Jim Lebenthal said SYMC is his top pick in the space, but it seems like the space is 2 steps forward, 2 back.

Josh Brown said PANW will "literally decapitate you" on bad news. His favorite is CHKP.

Jim said he wonders if NTNX is a takeout candidate; he thinks "there's a lot to like."

Josh Brown said he doesn't understand why anyone's in AMBA.



Fast Money gang thinks ‘transfer of wealth’ is a profound statement about insurance policies (a/k/a people with flooded Hyundais becoming as rich as insurance people)


Kimberly Greenberger on Friday's Halftime Report said the LULU results show the technology being put in the product is "absolutely winning fans." She said the top line looks "very sustainable."

Greenberger said there's "an increasing divide" between winners and losers in athleisure.

Pete Najarian said "everything was great" in the LULU report and hailed its sales of men's pants, online sales and innovation.

Jon Najarian said September 22 calls in GGP were getting bought. Pete said VALE options buying has hit 4 times in the last 2½ weeks, specifically the October 12 calls.

Phil LeBeau noted GM's surging stock.

Guest host Mel noted what Adam Jonas said on Fast Money this week, that what happened in Texas is "Mother Nature's Cash for Clunkers," and also this supposed "transfer of wealth" when it's just people collecting on an insurance policy. (Does that mean every person who is not reporting a loss is transferring his/her wealth to insurers?)

Jim Lebenthal asked Phil LeBeau if the "asymmetrical" (he likes that term) risk is to the downside if FCAU doesn't get bought. Phil said Sergio Marchionne is "looking to make a deal at some point."

Josh Brown said he'd rather be in lithium than in the automakers and mentioned ALB.

Jim called BKS "kind of a tough stock to play." He said "what possibly happens here" is a private equity firm comes in; he'd stay away.

Josh Brown called SBUX a "strong hold."

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was PFE.



[Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017]

Weiss in 50% cash, Pete 30% as everyone fears the Marks/Gundlach/last-2-weeks-of-August correction


Steve Liesman on Thursday's Halftime recapped the Steve Mnuchin interview.

Josh Brown said "The best news is that they are adamant about, um, the debt ceiling's not gonna be an issue," which shows a "level of maturity that we haven't seen in other arenas."

Jim Lebenthal said the S&P 500 has been "in a 3% range this month."

Leslie Picker was in Brokaw, Wis., to discuss local outrage against activist investors, specifically the shuttering of a paper mill blamed on Starboard, which had a stake in Wausau Paper. But Picker said a Duke U. study showed hedge fund activists had "essentially no role" in the closure of the Brokaw mill.

Josh Brown said you have to be in the "gray area" on this topic. Kari Firestone finds it "curious" that this legislation doesn't target private equity as well. Guest host Mel noted that Jeff Smith will be at Delivering Alpha, which will be a "great conference."

The 5 p.m. Fast Money crew basically said in unison, when it comes to tax cuts, "they will get something done … it almost doesn't matter what it is." (That was from Karen Finerman.) Nobody cut to the chase, which is, there's nothing to do, other than a simple vote to allocate some cash to Houston.



Looks like Pete outdueled Weiss on whether GILD made a good deal


Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report gushed about GILD, pointing out it's up $10 since last Friday and that the company has gained $13 billion in market cap for a purchase of $12 billion.

"I'd say that's a good trade," Doc said. Hard to argue with that.

Kari Firestone said she looked at JNJ "very seriously" a year ago and didn't buy, though it's a "great defensive story."

Josh Brown said he's long BMY, which is having "as legitimate of a breakout" as you get. He's also in AMGN but called JNJ a "really expensive stock primarily because of its steady dividend."

Jim Lebenthal noted health insurers and biotech are both in uptrends. He said he's long ALXN and PFE.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Guy Adami questioned if Donald Trump, after pushing through tax reform, would "circle back" to nail Ken Frazier on drug prices, affecting MRK.



Jim botches CNBC Silicon Valley technology correspondent’s name


Josh Lipton on Thursday's Halftime Report mentioned invitations going out for AAPL's Sept. 12 event.

Jim Lebenthal said "this is not news" but said he's not trying to take anything from "Josh Upton (sic)."

Kari Firestone noted AAPL has a "low P.E. relative to the market" (effect not a cause). Jon Najarian said he will "guarantee" that the iPhone will go on sale "2 days before the end of the quarter."



CIEN: From hero to goat


Kari Firestone on Thursday's Halftime said she's cut back her FB position simply because it's gotten too large. But she's "still a big owner."

Josh Brown said CPB needs to "reinvent itself" and that it needs "something fresher"; he'd "completely avoid" the stock.

Jim Lebenthal said the problem with DG is that brick and mortar is a "very, very treacherous sector."

Jon Najarian said people who bought CIEN 23.50 weekly puts "nailed it." (He didn't say that while Stephanie Link last week called CIEN "very volatile," she said it could go from 23 to 29 in a day, rather than the other way around.)

Kari Firestone wishes she owned WDAY. But it's a "volatile stock" and "not without risk" (as opposed to all of the risk-free stocks out there).

Doc said bulls were buying HDS 32.50 September calls.

Kari Firestone's final trade was V. Doc said VZ because of call-buying; he didn't say what the strike or time was. Josh Brown said the Dax slipped below its 200-day, but it's because of the currency, not fundamentals. "You should not be panicking," Brown said. Jim Lebenthal suggested GM amid prospects for scrapping all those cars in Texas.




The best Tug trade since the Phils got McGraw


Scott Cohn, not often on the Halftime Report, pointed out the water levels still afflicting Texas cities on Thursday.

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report said the RBOB September and October contracts were pulling back after a "big squeeze this morning," even though the numbers shown on the screen didn't show any pullback.

Doc said traders "were on tugboats" in the Gulf and trading with backup Marine band radios in case their cell connections went down; they made "a nice chunk of money" trading refinery activity (or lack thereof) and were rescuing people in their boats later and even giving out money "because they felt very generous after this, uh, windfall for them."

Jim Lebenthal said, "That's awesome."

Jim said he sold MPC about a month ago "at exactly the price it's at right now."

Joe Terranova dialed in and said, "You cannot get overly excited about what's going on right now and rush into the refiners."

"This is a front-month dynamic," Joe explained, lukewarmly stating HFC, Delek and CVI benefit from not being in the storm region. But Joe said those refiners were giving back gains because of the WTI rally. "It's a very treacherous trade," Joe said.

Joe said the "real opportunity" is possibly nat gas, mentioning another hurricane in the Atlantic. But then he told Mel, "Natural gas equity plays are, are, difficult uh to really get your hands around," and mentioned RRC and EOG and COG but said those are names "that have been struggling all year."

So, it's a real opportunity, but … (a/k/a let's buy these names instead of NVDA).

Tom Kloza said for drivers, the "worst-case scenario is probably about to develop," which is a gasoline spike of 40 to 60 cents. He cited Kipling and predicted "panic behavior in places like Dallas, in places like Tennessee and in places sort of along the Carolinas."

However, "It should largely be a non-event for crude oil," Kloza said, asserting Thursday's rally "makes no sense."

Jim Lebenthal said typically there's a "surge export" that goes mainly to Europe, but "those exports can be redirected" to the U.S.

"I think a month from now, this is gonna all have blown over," Jim said.

Kari Firestone said she owns PSX and thinks it's the type of name that should go up in this environment. Josh Brown said he doesn't see holiday weekend drivers changing their plans over gasoline price hikes.

For some reason, Futures Now was pushed back in the program; when it aired, Scott Nations said WTI is up because of a fear that crude will be "trapped" in the Gulf for a while. He said the government has released 500,000 barrels from the SPR, "first time we've done that in (sic meant 'since') 2012." Jim Iuorio doesn't think crude can cross 50.

More from Thursday's Halftime later.



[Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017]


70, 400, 572, whatever


Nick Setyan on Wednesday's Halftime Report said JACK has about 70 company-owned stores in the Harvey-area market; they are losing "about 5K" every day.

But, he said, "I actually like Jack in the Box here," because the trend with the Smoky Jack had "a chance to accelerate" before the hurricane."

"He had me at Smoky Jack," guest host Mel said.

Kari Firestone said she just bought MIDD.

We found it a little hard to believe that the CNBC graphic said JACK has 400 locations in the "Houston area," but then again, the map of the U.S. showed a circle in East Texas with "572" in it, so looks like we've got the problem of several different forms of measurement of info within the same story, and it's anyone's guess which number is most relevant.

Jon Najarian's final trade was JACK; he said he bought during the show.



Pete mistakes effect for cause, claims people are buying tech for P.E. ratio


In a curious GDP assessment, Kari Firestone on Wednesday's Halftime Report stressed that all the years of low growth might be "a base that now we can build from."

Steve Liesman said the market has been sniffing out a GDP "upward shift towards the 2½ range."

Liesman stressed that "the Fed is talking about a terminal rate … closer to 2 than to 3. It is a dramatic change."

Gorjus Ylan Mui said Donald Trump's remarks on tax reform later Wednesday would be "short on specifics."

Kari Firestone revealed, "Today I published a piece on CNBC.com about surviving in the age of unpredictability." That's fine, except we wonder how "unpredictable" this "age" is when volatility's at all-time lows.

Kari explained that "every day when we wake up, we don't know where the market's going," so tax reform if it happens is just an "added increment."

Guest host Melissa Lee summarized Kari's point as "it can only be upside."

Pete Najarian said GDP numbers were "in line" and "fairly strong."

Rob Sechan said, "It's taken a long time to reach cruising altitude," but it's a "pretty good environment" now.

Weighing sectors, Pete claimed, "The reason that technology has performed so well is, what's the P.E. of Apple. What's the P.E. of Oracle? What's the P.E. of all of these companies?"

"And ex-cash," Mel chimed in.

Jon Najarian said you might get a chance to buy AAPL "several dollars" below 160. He noted Tim Cook cashing in his new shares "immediately."

Kari Firestone said "investors are saying to themselves" to put money in AAPL with its low P.E., perhaps validating Pete's non-point.



If Warren Buffett had bought AMZN instead of BAC and WFC, he’d be a lot wealthier


Becky Quick on Wednesday's Halftime Report recapped the Warren Buffett interview.

Rob Sechan said he doesn't like insurers because of pervasive "competitive pricing pressures."

Jim Lebenthal said insurers are appealing only after some short-term "earnings hits" and when a few smaller companies "go out of business," but "not now."

In a decent little debate, Pete Najarian stressed that management is the key to picking banks. Jim Lebenthal though said, "I'm not sure there's that big of a difference in the management of any of the big money-center banks."

Jim's right. Especially when the companies are all still in a straitjacket-type of environment.

Anyway, Pete was practically taken aback by Jim's management point. "I start there. That's where I start," Pete said.

Jim mentioned the banks having "more than a hundred thousand employees," which are too many for one person to supervise.

Mel asked Jim if banks are a "monolithic" trade to him. "That's a good word for it," Jim said.

Jon Najarian said BAC is the only bank he's long.



Pete scoffs at XLE dividend


Brian Stutland on Wednesday's Halftime Report said RBOB moving above 1.80 is a signal of longer-term supply problems. Jim Iuorio suggested 2.15 is "fairly reasonable" within a couple weeks.

Jon Najarian said there was "huge activity" in PBF options; he said the company just has 1 refinery in New Orleans, and it's been spared.

Guest host Melissa Lee suggested the XLE. Kari Firestone said "you can be comfortable right now in that trade." Rob Sechan also seemed to endorse it, but Jim Lebenthal said, "The shale oil production is such a fast response time that we may not get the spikes we've seen in the past" in crude.

Eventually, Pete Najarian shrugged at the XLE, "I wouldn't be comfortable there. How great has that dividend been with those stocks for the most part down 20% if you get a 4% dividend" (sic grammar).




5 p.m. Fast Money panelists largely fail to name Lightfoot songs during usual 4-minute commercial break


Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said November 13 calls in AMD were popular.

Pete Najarian said SUM October 30 calls were getting bought for $1.

Doc said ADI has 70.5% gross margins.

Pete said being long CHRW has "been pretty painful," but maybe it's turning.

Jim Lebenthal said HRB is a stock "that's very hard to make money in." He said full employment doesn't given him any reason to be in this name.

Rob Sechan said there are homebuilders who "benefit greatly" from Harvey rebuilding, but he didn't name any. Jim Lebenthal said material companies such as MLM are finally starting to perform when he thought that would've happened before Harvey hit.

Rob Sechan's final trade was XLF. Kari Firestone said AGN. Jim Lebenthal said KMI. Pete said GILD has been going up since the acquisition, and there is call-buying.



[Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017]

Weiss in 50% cash, actually claims CEOs will see consumer confidence ‘erode’ and factor that into guidance


Steve Weiss dialed in to Tuesday's Halftime to say he's been 50% cash "for a while."

He said after the North Korea news, he bought the SH, a short S&P 500 instrument, but "covered on the open."

"I'm not expecting a big decline," Weiss said, just a "normal correction."

Weiss pointed out to guest host Missy Lee that he mentioned the 50% cash last week, which he did. He said he's at that 50% level because he's watching "essentially a game of laser tag" between "two 5-year-olds," those being president of the United States and leader of North Korea.

In a curious prediction that could happen but seems a reach (we'll even call it loopy given the variables involved), Weiss predicted CEOs will downplay upcoming quarters "as they see consumer confidence start to erode."

Weiss said he added Tuesday to the XBI.



All business: Mel prods Jeff Kilburg to get to the point on gold


Guest host Melissa Lee, running a crisp (if slightly pressed with lots of stuff going on) edition of Tuesday's Halftime Report, grew impatient with Jeff Kilburg's gold speech.

"So you think it's gonna go higher," Mel finally cut in. "I do," Kilburg said, stating 1,400 is a "tick away."

Anthony Grisanti said hedge funds are "all in" on gold with the highest long/short ratio he's seen, so he thinks it's going higher.

Mel asked Chip Dillon of Vertical Research Partners how Harvey is affecting paper mills. Dillon said past experience shows mills down anywhere from a half day to 3-4 days. He said supply of cardboard boxes could be affected because mills are already running at "close to 98% of capacity" throughout the country.

Mel asked who could fill in the gap for the storm-damaged areas. Dillon said that's a "great question" and mentioned WRK, PKG and KS; he has a buy on all 3 names.

Dillon told Lee that IP estimates are at risk for 3rd and maybe 4th quarter. Doc said he might be interested in WRK.



Haven’t heard about Chanos’ CAT short for a while


Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report said there was "very strong activity" in weekly AAPL 160 calls.

Guest host Missy Lee noticed that the graphic said "September 160" calls and wondered if that covered Sept. 12. Doc insisted it's "just this week." Mel pointed out, "We had up September," a fair point, assuming it's the regular September option (whenever that is).

Sarat Sethi said AAPL tends to run up ahead of products, and then "once the product comes out," it pulls back.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't see opportunity in JILL. Doc said "the good news" for FINL is that it rallied from its 6.90 open. Doc said you could take a shot at Tuesday's price but admitted, "The sector has just been death." (Yeah, even after Karen Finerman cheered that the sector was trading down in "integers" a couple months ago.)

Pete Najarian said it was "eerie" how close the BBY numbers were to HD. As for the day's BBY selloff, "It doesn't scare me at all," Pete said, even though Mel said Hubert Joly said "it's not the norm." Pete thinks BBY is a "great opportunity."

But Sarat Sethi later said of BBY, "I would wait for the stock to come back a little bit more" because momentum investors are getting out. Joe Terranova said he agrees but that the "very, very conservative outlook" bodes well for gains down the road.

Erin Browne said she likes Europe but advised not hedging the currency; "you want that euro exposure," so she likes EZU.

Erin Browne's final trade was FXI. Sarat Sethi said HFC, which he said doesn't have much exposure to the Gulf Coast. Doc said BAC calls for a week from Friday were being bought. Joe said he likes CAT at 116.

Eamon Javers said this is Donald Trump's first experience as "healer (snicker) in chief" or "consoler in chief."

Karen Finerman finally returned to the 5 p.m. Fast Money, in smashing new hairstyle, but was subdued.



Erin Browne: U.S. stock portfolios ‘fairly well insulated’ from an Asian war


Offering a rather copacetic view of the world stage, Erin Browne on Tuesday's Halftime Report conceded there are "irrational actors" on the world stage but contended that if war "were to break out," it would be "highly localized to the Asian region" and the Korean peninsula.

So "U.S. investors probably are fairly well insulated in their portfolios," Browne said.

Sarat Sethi said that despite the missile launch, "Nothing has really happened," and so the market trades on earnings.

Jon Najarian pointed out how the S&P crawled back after the overnight futures drop.

Joe Terranova said he was "surprised" by the day's price action, and he almost wished that there had been "further downside pressure" in the morning to draw in people on the sidelines.

Pete Najarian said he's sitting on "30% cash" before admitting, "I think that's too much quite honestly" while pointing to option buying in the metals.

Erin Browne said to buy construction stocks in the wake of Harvey.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.



[Monday, Aug. 28, 2017]


Weiss’ timely point: Sen. Ted Cruz explains vote against Sandy relief


Nearly all of Monday's Halftime Report was rightly devoted to Hurricane Harvey; little did we know that the show would ultimately get political.

John Spallanzani questioned if Democrats and Republicans will come together for "bipartisan" (snicker) infrastructure spending.

Guest host Melissa Lee even said this could be a "crystallizing moment."

With timing that would soon prove amazing, Stephen Weiss said no, "it was Texas that voted against hurricane relief for Sandy."

Moments later, Mel turned to Contessa Brewer, who conducted an impressive interview with Sen. Ted Cruz at a Houston convention center.

Cruz said he's not going to worry about "political sniping" over Texas' response to Sandy. "The silliness of Washington we can worry about another time," Cruz said — before launching into a point about Washington.

Brewer asked Cruz if he'd rethink his Sandy vote in the wake of Houston's tragedy. Cruz said, "I didn't think it was appropriate to engage in pork-barrel spending where 2/3 of that bill was unrelated spending that had nothing to do with Sandy and was simply politicians wasting money. That shouldn't happen. The focus of emergency relief shouldn't be cynical politicians trying to fund their pet projects. It should be providing relief to people who are in crisis."



Weiss apparently doesn’t know Jeff Kilburg’s name


Brian Sullivan, one of 3 CNBCers (Contessa Brewer and Jackie DeAngelis) in the trenches in Texas, noted on Monday's Halftime Report, "The rain just will not stop."

Sully said the Galveston Ship Channel is "completely shut down."

Jackie DeAngelis said of 3 of 5 refineries in Corpus Christi were shut down.

Contessa Brewer said Texas' attorney general is going to investigate complaints of price gouging regarding bottled water for $8.50 or gas prices "jacked up" 30%. Guest host Missy Lee said it's "against the law and morally reprehensible."

Back in Englewood Cliffs, Joe Terranova said the important thing for the oil space is that the Colonial Pipeline will be OK; he called this a "very bearish event for crude oil, which is already in a bear trend."

Joe reiterated that this is an opportunity to get out of refiners.

Stephen Weiss suggested not overreacting on the hourly news. "These things typically overshoot," Weiss said, predicting price increases for insurers and stating it used to be they would sell off big on disasters and only later climb back on price hikes; now it happens "pretty quickly."

Jeff Kilburg said the Brent-WTI spread is about $5, the widest in almost 2 years. He also said cotton was popping up on flooding fears. Kilburg noted Weiss said something about people overreacting, but maybe we don't know all the data yet.

Weiss said, "Jim (sic), just to clarify, I'm not saying we're overreacting, I'm saying that you typically overreact in the middle of these things. I don't know."

Kilburg's point was fair, but Weiss is also correct, there does tend to be a lot of overreacting. But nobody knows if tomorrow will be better or worse than people think.

Josh Brown said "I agree actually with everything" Weiss said. Brown said it would take $100 billion in losses (not the $30 billion worst-case estimates) "to really have a monster impact" on property and casualty insurers.

Brown said TRV would be the insurer he buys.

Brown said Houston homes are covered by national flood insurance, and that private insurers sell flood insurers to businesses and will raise those prices next year.

John Spallanzani said the biggest fear is that Harvey will revert to the Gulf and then hit Louisiana.




CNBC manages to cross-promote ‘The Profit’ during Harvey coverage


Phil LeBeau on Monday's Halftime showed pictures of car dealer lots with vehicles "completely underwater" and said "perhaps more than a million vehicles" could be completely salvaged. He said to look at AN, GPI and KSU.

Marcus Lemonis dialed in to say Camping World is helping out.

Revisiting his point from the top of the show, Stephen Weiss said car dealers and "other stores" are getting hurt in Texas now, but "the replacement cycle is gonna be so much stronger."

Josh Brown said it's "really tough" to know which stocks are going up or down today because of the storm and not a game for amateurs.

CNBC superfox Ylan Mui, gorjus in green (below), said she didn't want to "diminish" the storm's economic impact on Texas but said that for the country, "economic shocks of this nature tend not to have a lasting impact."

Capt. Richard Russell of AET crude operation started to say they prepare for storms, but the phone connection went out and Mel deftly shifted to analyst Kevin McCarthy, asking about the impact on chemical plants. He said the plants are designed to handle high winds "but not high water." McCarthy's top pick regarding the hurricane is WLK. No one on the panel was interested in the chemical space. Joe Terranova said rail concerns are "probably" an opportunity.




Pete takes issue with Weiss scoffing at GILD’s 2.5% gain


In a tiny bit of non-Texas news on Monday's Halftime, Pete Najarian (via satellite) said Kite is the "perfect buy" for Gilead.

Stephen Weiss though said we won't know "for a long time" whether this is a good deal, but KITE was "a $17 stock about a year ago when it came public" (none of that appears to be remotely correct based on the charts we looked at), "so they took way too long," and he called GILD's 2.5% gain Monday "relief."

Pete acknowledged KITE "might be a little bit behind" rival companies, but "immutherapy" (sic pronunciation) is in the "sweet spot."

Pete said he "totally" disagrees with Weiss' comment about the 2.5% GILD gain, stating "usually" there's a little bit of a pullback.

Weiss said he doesn't think there'd be a pullback if you're buying something "tremendously accretive." But GILD wasn't pulling back, so we're not sure of the point.

John Spallanzani's final trade was the weaker dollar but gave too long of an explanation. Josh Brown suggested BRK-B even though he previously indicated people shouldn't try to trade the storm effects (though whether BRK-B has much storm exposure is a matter of opinion probably). Weiss said WDC. Joe Terranova said health care is the sector in which to "hang out."



[Friday, Aug. 25, 2017]


Rob Sechan unable to convince panel MLPs are a good idea


Jackie DeAngelis, live from Texas, said on Friday's Halftime Report that some Texans actually were planning to hunker down and wait out Harvey.

Ex-FEMA boss Michael Brown told guest host Sully, "If you listen to that last report, we apparently haven't learned anything from Hurricane Katrina."

Jeff Kilburg said it looks like the "longevity" of the storm will be worse than anticipated. Kilburg said there's "a lot of emotion" in the oil trade now and that it's an "opportunity" to get names such as VLO and SLB at a "deep discount."

Jim Lebenthal recited the history of U.S. "swing" oil production during storms that now is distributed across shale plays, suggesting a hurricane in Texas is a "non-event for the oil sector." Kilburg said he won't call it a "non-event" but conceded fracking has "changed the game."

Rob Sechan once again touted MLPs. Jim though wanted to "push back," pointing to Enbridge Energy Partners and stating the space got "hammered" in 2015 and hasn't fully recovered.

Steve Weiss said "first of all, they did have a big recovery, then it sold off." Weiss suggested those who got burned with the K-1 have "got long memories."

Jim said he's still in the space. "I'm in, but I'm not all in," Lebenthal said.

Sechan demanded to know of another sector that has an "implied return" of 16%. But Josh Brown asserted "there's been no recovery at all," citing the Alerian MLP Index. Sechan said it was up 100% last year.

Brown insisted you'd have to be "pretty delusional" to view MLPs as bonds; "essentially they're equities with high coupons."

"Nobody called them bonds," Lebenthal and Weiss said. "Take that off the table," Jim said.

Brown said you can get the same performance "with regular energy stocks without the K-1 lunacy."

Weiss tried to explain how he did research to determine which MLPs aren't highly tethered to the economy, but Brown hardly let him speak and Sully didn't break it up.



SNAP is actually better than something (but remember, Zuck is determined to obliterate it)


Brent Thill on Friday's Halftime said he launched his "Internet playbook" on Friday; it's 200 pages long.

(Um, just some unsolicited advice, but a playbook that's 200 pages long probably isn't going to be read by anyone.)

Thill, who downgraded TWTR, said Twitter has a "huge" user base, but "users do not equal revenue."

Thill even said, "Snap has actually seen better engagement than Twitter … Snap's just a better platform for video."

Thill said Josh Brown made a great point, that advertising on Twitter is kind of like putting up billboards along a highway and hoping people look. But, "They have the chance to pull this off," Thill said, before touting Instagram while explaining he went fly fishing and started following fly fishing ads or pictures on Instagram and started getting merchandise marketed to him on Instagram.

Steve Weiss revealed he's "90% out" of his "great trade" being long SNAP. He said there's still potentially some upside, "but I'll be quick to pull the trigger" with the remaining 10%.



Still waiting for Karen Finerman to explain why it was a good idea to be long FL


Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime beamed in from Minnesota to report unusual activity in materials, specifically BHP December 45 calls.

But much more interesting, Pete said Jeffrey Gundlach is high on the materials trade and "doesn't feel like- that we're covering it enough." But Pete thinks "we are (covering it enough) on Halftime," even though we haven't heard BHP on this program in ages.

Jim Lebenthal said Janet Yellen gave a "fairly innocuous speech" with a "tepid shot across the bow" at regulation.

Jim explained, "There is talk out there of will Trump serve out his 4 years," and suggested that if the president "decides not to continue on," Mike Pence would say "I'm not messing with anything that doesn't need to be messed with."

Josh Brown asserted, "REITs are on the verge of a major breakout."

Rob Sechan said UBS surveyed 2,800 high-net-worth individuals, and somehow 80% of them declared, "This is the most uncertain time in history."

Josh Brown scoffed at that sentiment as "the availability bias" and wondered, "How certain was Sept. 10, 2001?"

Brown is still not a buyer of SBUX, calling it "trendless."

Stephen Weiss said he'd wait for a pullback on ADSK.

Jim Lebenthal said to buy AVGO and hold it into the iPhone hype.

Rob Sechan is bearish longer term on the dollar.

Jim's final trade was that gasoline won't spike. Josh Brown said to stay long GOOGL over 920. Weiss said airlines. Sechan said to buy MLPs "right now."



[Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017]

Judge adds Josh’s credentials when introducing him to ask a simple question of Nicole Miller Regan


Judge on Thursday's Halftime brought in Nicole Miller Regan to explain her purported 65% upside in CMG.

"It comes down to the unit-level economic model, which means high volumes," Regan said. "There's really nothing to apologize for for a 2 million AUV today. Albeit it used to be 2.5 million a couple years ago. … They're still better than most of their direct competitors."

Regan, who said "at the end of the day" (which thankfully has been receding in CNBC nomenclature these days), has a $510 target and says "when, not if," the recovery plays out, there's "a lot of earnings power and leverage."

Judge then allowed Josh Brown to ask a question of Regan, with such a lengthy intro that it was clear who Judge was siding with here. "You could've made the case that you're making from much higher levels all the way down," so how do we know 300 and not 200 is the turnaround point, Brown asked Regan.

Regan called that a "really fair" question but claimed "the valuation is more or less trading in line with its peer group." Brown questioned whether 27 times forward earnings is in line with peers; Regan said she's "looking at, like around 13 times EBITDA."

Regan didn't respond when Judge said "We'll see you again soon," creating an awkward moment of dead air.

Steve Weiss crowed that he "made a lot of money" shorting CMG but got "stopped out" on his short Wednesday morning. He said Regan's multiple is "lunacy."

Brown said the only bullish sign for the stock is the short interest. Joe Terranova said he's surprised the short interest isn't higher.

Jim Lebenthal said CMG's bull case reminds him of when GMCR got bought out.



Sounds like a short-term dip is consensus


Stephen Weiss on Thursday's Halftime was nonplussed by indications of yet another frozen government.

"I'd argue that the government's been shut down going into our 9th year. And it really hasn't mattered, right," Weiss contended.

Exactly. Because there's really nothing to do.

Weiss said he's in "about 50% cash" (probably because of Howard Marks) and lamented that airlines are in a bear market. "It's crazy; I don't know the reason," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal observed, "We're in a really dull territory right now."

Jim said we need to get past Labor Day and see if there's "real traction" on tax reform (snicker).

Weiss bickered with that, stating the base metals are showing global growth. Jim countered that copper's "been a fact for a month if not more."

"I'm not saying that value's taking over," Jim said, but "value is really hangin' in here."

Dubravko Lakos told Josh Brown the EM trade is "highly contingent" on the dollar.

Eamon Javers said Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump had a "profanity-laced conference call" on Aug. 9.

Lakos told Weiss that he doesn't see political risk as a "big shock" to the market.

Josh Brown corrected Lakos (2013, 2½% selloff, U.S. downgrade) as to when the 2011 U.S. government downgrade and stock selloff occurred and the extent of that selloff.

Lakos said in "coming weeks" there could be a "mid-single-digit" correction.



Might’ve gone an entire program without AAPL


Dubravko Lakos opened Thursday's Halftime stating he's "cautiously optimistic" on the stock market.

And when have we ever heard that before?

(Surprised he didn't say "what a difference a day makes" or "what's in a name.")

However, he thinks the market could see weakness short term. (That's the Howard Marks-Jeffrey Gundlach Effect.)

Joe Terranova shrugged at gold but said the "real story" is the FANG technicals, explaining they indicate a market "on the defensive."

Judge reported John Spallanzani also is noting the lower highs in FANGS. Josh Brown said that's "backwards," that when market leaders stumble and the rest of the market holds up, that's actually a sign of strength.

Judge said the market looks to be "spinning its wheels."

Joe insisted that if you're in the FANGs, "you have to pay attention" to what's going on. Brown said, "Joe is right." (Whew.) Brown pointed out the trade for August is long XRT and short AMZN, but he said not to allow it to "completely divert" what you've been doing. (And to think there once was a time when a company that bills itself as a one-stop venue for online shopping plunging into the grocery market would've been mocked.)

"The market's much bigger than FANG stocks," said Stephen Weiss.



Hey Edna, let’s buy Transocean instead of Nvidia


Jackie DeAngelis, stunning in black on Thursday's Halftime, brought in Jeff Kilburg and Jim Iuorio to discuss the refinery situation ahead of the storm/hurricane.

Jim Iuorio said if RBOB can settle over 1.54 in October, that's a move that's "real" and could have upside.

Dubravko Lakos defended being overweight energy, largely citing sentiment, suggesting the possibility of a squeeze.

Josh Brown insisted "the selling is just not over yet." Joe Terranova said, "This might be an opportunity, if you're stuck in the refiners, to actually bail yourself out of them."

Stephen Weiss said investing in energy is like "pushing on a string": he just sees "unending" supply.

Jon Najarian though said there was bullish buying in the MPC 52.50 September calls. Judge called that an "obvious Harvey play." Doc also said October 12 calls in CZR were popular, and that MRK September 63 calls were getting bought.



If there are ‘misunderstandings,’ why doesn’t Bill take up Judge’s offer to make his ADP case to anyone who’s interested?


Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime said Ackman is complaining about "misunderstandings" about his approach to ADP.

Joe Terranova revisited SJM, suggesting it's close to a "cathartic moment" that could be a buy.

Jim Lebenthal said that to get long a name like WSM, "you have to have an opinion on the back-to-school selling season," otherwise it's a "dead-cat bounce." Actually, one's opinion on back-to-school sales has no bearing on whether WSM is going up or down.

Josh Brown said HRL has been an "atrocious stock" over the last year; he doesn't see any reason to buy.

Steve Weiss said TEVA is a "fallen angel" and that people don't want to be in generics.

Dubravko Lakos affirmed health care is an overweight for him.

Joe's final trade was to note that AMZN is down 12% and that "not one analyst has lowered their price target." Jim Lebenthal said CSCO is bouncing back. Weiss said WDC and Josh Brown said to stay long GOOGL.



[Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017]



Seema & Sara — pair
of CNBC superfoxes


Josh Brown opened Wednesday's Halftime stating WMT and GOOGL "kinda need each other."

Judge eventually cut in, wondering why WMT is flat. Brown said it's because it's just an "initiative" now.

Stephanie Link said WMT and Google Express is a "strategic move" that is really "much ado about nothing."

Brown disagrees with the "much ado about nothing premise," pointing to WMT's gains this year. But Link protested, "The stock is not up because of this news" or because of Jet.com; she said TGT and COH also have great online comps.

Brown indicated the country can't be unanimously Prime. "There is not going to be a single ecommerce giant that serves every customer in the country, and no one else gets to play against them," Brown said, adding the fact that Doug McMillan has "blood in his eyes" and is doing deals with Google "sends a signal to investors."

Link told Judge she doesn't see "a lot of value" in WMT at Wednesday's price.

Brown produced a photo of a Jet.com package in his garage on Long Island.

Jon Najarian said WMT is taking a "good step" toward challenging AMZN.

Pete Najarian dialed in later and said, "Don't forget Best Buy is beating Wal-Mart (sic meant "Amazon" but uncorrected) at their own game."

Sara Eisen (guest host) and Seema Mody (Samsung report), devastating CNBC superfoxes, lit up Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, though Sara introduced the Robert Lee announcer flap as "What's in a name," almost as bad as Judge's "what a difference" (below).



If SNAP actually doesn’t reach single digits, Pete’s gonna look kinda silly


Steve Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime actually dialed in from Denver to reveal he bought SNAP (after trumpeting the puts for weeks).

"I think it's a trade," Weiss said, even putting an 18 or 20 target on the name though saying he won't be in that long.

Josh Brown said SNAP is up 33% since its low just 7 days earlier. "This is an obvious area for the rally to stop," Brown said, so if it breaks 15, it might have some real life (snicker).

No question, the stock's had a nice bounce off the lows, a time when huge short-term gains can be made.

We'd be shocked if this ever sees 20 again. But then again, we were shocked this stock could actually have an 11 handle by August.

Weiss said he's up 6% in SNAP. He also said he shorted CMG in the morning.



Where’s Bill? Doesn’t he know Judge said he’s welcome to come on the show at any time and make his case to anyone who’s interested


Dialing in, Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said "the clock is obviously ticking" on Ginni Rometty.

Pete said Katy Huberty has been the "go-to" analyst for AAPL, but with IBM, "she's been like everybody else. She's taken the head fake."

OK. So what's the reason to follow her on AAPL. (Hint: That stock always goes up anyway regardless of what the analysts say.)

Judge said, "With all due respect," will investors follow Katy Huberty on IBM, or the exiting Warren Buffett.

Doc opined, "I certainly don't think that the cloud can get any worse for IBM than it's been over the last 6 months."

Jim Lebenthal said he can wait for an IBM "turn" before getting long the name and that its lack of revenue growth is "painful and embarrassing."

Stephanie Link said there won't be IBM momentum till next year. But Judge demanded Jim explain why you wouldn't want to start buying it now with the prospect of a back-end-loaded year. Jim's explanation was way too long, stating that controlling gross margins would lead to cutting R&D and head count.

Pete Najarian decided, "There's no reason to jump in to this thing."



Nobody addresses whether there’s really a ‘dislocation’ in trading of TRNC (after Judge sounded like he barely realized that Ross is running 1 of 8 newspapers (sorry for using that term) and not the whole company)


Coming up with a fresh idea, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime introduced his segment on the day's Dow/S&P performance with "What a difference a day makes." (Why not the old CNBC earnings staple; The good, the bad and the ugly.)

Eamon Javers actually mentioned the possibility of a government shutdown over "wall spending."

Jim Lebenthal shrugged that the market is responding to "noise" from D.C. rather than an "actual signal."

Josh Brown pointed out that KSU was down on Tuesday night's "off-the-cuff remarks."

Steph Link said the Atlanta Fed is actually thinking about 3.8% (snicker) GDP.

Jon Najarian stressed that inflation is "considerably lower" now than in 1999.

Josh Brown grumbled about building a wall "with no money to pay for it." Doc cut in that "It's a billion dollars … Cities do that all the time."



Jim actually is heeding Howard Marks’ advice (despite the fact he was apparently the ‘sell point’ panelist called out by Marks at Post 9)


Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said CIEN September 23 calls were being scooped up.

Stephanie Link said CIEN is a "very large position for me. … It's a very volatile stock; I mean this stock could go from 23 to 29 in 1 day."

Jim Lebenthal said, "I feel like Cisco is ceding the optical-router market to Ciena." Link said "it's also been speculated" that Cisco might look to buy Ciena.

Link touted ORCL, CMI and UNP.

Doc said Sept. 1 weekly BABA 175 calls were being bought.

Jim Lebenthal said he trimmed his WGO position only because it has become an outsized gain. He said he's not "recycling" the proceeds back into the market because of (yep) Howard Marks and Jeffrey Gundlach.

Stephanie Link said LOW missed despite good demand; "I'd avoid."

Josh Brown said if you're long CMG, "Don't say that you do any kind of risk management if you're long this name." He called it a falling knife but insisted he's not taking a dig at Ackman.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't see any catalysts for FL in the near-term.

Doc said he's "movin' on" after the AEO pop.

Jeff Kilburg said right now, "The market's not buyin'" a December rate hike. Anthony Grisanti said if the dollar breaks 92.30, we're looking to 91.

Doc said someone was buying NRG 30 calls. Jim Lebenthal said he thinks MMM continues to fall. Josh Brown said he'd fade any Mexican wall rhetoric. Stephanie Link trumpeted AVGO.



[Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017]


Sell some ads, Ross


Oh, the questions Judge could've asked Ross Levinsohn — but didn't.

The newly appointed publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who's apparently chatting up anyone who will ask (see our home page), joined Tuesday's Halftime Report to discuss his new gig and in the process failed to mention absolutely anything that he's actually going to do.

Judge asked Levinsohn, "Why'd you take this job." Levinsohn said those who know him know he has "an incredible passion for news and information."

Levinsohn claimed he took the job for "emotional and personal" reasons as well as a "value perspective."

He said he discovered that TRNC was "trading at 2 times EBITDA. Makes no sense to me." So this is apparently a Keith Meister/Mick McGuire type of move, not somebody who just wants to run a newspaper.

"What I saw was a dislocation in the market," Levinsohn said. (This should've set bells ringing in Judge's ear, as in, What in the world does he mean, but Judge passed.)

Levinsohn said Vox and Buzzfeed "do great work" and have high valuations but don't have the "journalism chops."

He said his hope is that "2 times EBITDA turns into 6 or 10 times EBITDA."

At this point, Judge should've launched into the economics of the newspaper space and demanded to know how this isn't going to turn out like coal.

Instead, Judge barely gently asked, "I'm wondering what your strategy is going to be to try and turn things around," suggesting Levinsohn is painting a vision of a "digital-first, uh, hub."

Levinsohn said his mother reads the print version of the paper and his daughter reads it on his iPad. (Still not much of a strategy.) He said the Times has to "really focus" on continuing the great "core" of reporting, perhaps in video or "shorts" (whatever that is) and then when you think about California, "you have to think about culture at its core."

Judge sounded clearly oblivious to the fact the L.A. Times itself is not a public company but part of a newspaper conglomerate actually run out of Chicago; obvious questions he didn't ask include whether there really are any synergies between the "culture" of the L.A. Times and the Hartford Courant.

Judge did say the LAT article mentioned "flagging morale." Levinsohn said he told the staff a day ago that "change is never easy." (Still not much of a strategy.)

Attributing the number to a Steve Case tweet, Levinsohn pointed to the "average life span (sic meant 'tenure')" of an employee at top tech firms and said Google was No. 1 at 1.9 years. Levinsohn said he asked how many LATers have been there more than 5 years, and more than half the hands went up, so he knows this is a "very passionate, in some cases altruistic group of people."

Is altruism why the stock is trading at 2 times EBITDA?

Judge asked Levinsohn if the L.A. Times needs to get on Donald Trump's radar like the NYT has done. "You're making my argument for me," Levinsohn said. But he made no argument. (And no strategy.)

Levinsohn concluded with a woulda-coulda-shoulda, stating of the LAT, "In the entertainment world, it should be the bible," adding, "I actually think we have to get away from the term 'newspaper.'"

This company presumably collects revenue in only 3 ways; selling newspaper subscriptions, selling ads, and printing other companies' publications.

Levinsohn never said a word about any of those 3 things.

Judge failed to note that the same article about "flagging morale" mentioned that Levinsohn is the Times' 5th publisher in a decade.

And that he's never worked for a newspaper before.

We want Levinsohn to succeed. But …

Josh Brown noted TRNC shares were up Tuesday on news of Ross' hire.



How come we didn’t hear anything about Howard Marks?


Tuesday's Halftime Report was in Happy Land because the Dow was up a hundred points.

Josh Brown said he's "howling" about people who a day earlier were scared about a correction and on Tuesday morning were declaring it over.

Brown trumpeted the "ton of money" being made in emerging markets.

Jon Najarian said AAPL was making a "huge" move again.

Chris Hyzy said, "I just try to keep things as simple as possible," adding that all the dips are being bought.

Judge actually asked with a straight face, "Are there enough buyers who are, who are still willing to, to buy the dips."

Pete Najarian trumpeted the cash flows of Boeing, a "beast" of a stock.

Josh Brown used the term "concomitant."

Gorjus Ylan Mui explained she was with Mitch McConnell and Steve Mnuchin for their "kumbayah moment" a day ago, but she's not convinced there's agreement on the "framework" for tax reform.

"It is clear that this is gonna be a really messy progress," Mui said.

Josh Brown declared that "all of the research confirms" that a 1-time bonus or dividend from a tax overhaul plan doesn't change anyone's spending habits.

Pete Najarian quibbled with Josh Brown's comparison of being a "momentum" investor or a "value" investor. Pete said the term "momentum" implies the stocks are going up without the fundamentals, but the names Josh is referring to are all about growth.

Brown said they're not disagreeing; "momentum is not a matter of opinion. It's a technical term."



Wonder if Kevin O’Leary has been hired yet to help Evan Spiegel improve his conference call presentation


Somehow, it might've been the show's only mention of Amazon. (Then again, Ross Levinsohn brought up Jeff Bezos.)

And it wasn't a great one.

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Halftime said, "Do not fade VMWare." Pete Najarian said VMW is perhaps signaling "a few chinks in the armor quite frankly" of Amazon Web Services.

Jon Najarian said NWL January 50 calls were being bought, though "they sold the next higher strike up." Pete said October 42 calls in AA were bought in one "huge block."

Pete said he likes TOL's numbers even though the stock sold off; he thinks it has upside. Judge said Doug Yearley would be on Closing Bell; we learned once from Barron's that Yearley is a huge Neil Young fan.

Josh Brown said if you're long QSR, you stay long.

Doc said M was trading on the new approach to try to launch better private brands. Josh Brown declared, "This is going lower … this is one of the ugliest stocks you can find."

Actually, Brown's probably right, but the thing is, these stocks are capable of short-term bear market rallies that aren't often possible in more stable sectors, for example, it wouldn't totally surprise us if M reached 25 at some point. Which you'd think a trading show would care about. (This writer has no position in M.)

Scott Nations said copper technically is overbought, but there are stories about China buying all the copper it can get. Brian Stutland said he thinks copper is "a little overextended," but after a possible pullback, "I'm a buyer."

Josh Brown trumpeted KSU. Doc said AEO, based on "a lot of aggressive call-buying." Pete said AAPL.



[Monday, Aug. 21, 2017]

Judge seems to think there’s no reason to do anything ‘dramatic’ to your portfolio


Judge spent the early portions of Monday's Halftime Report asking folks if the market stalled — and then attempting on multiple occasions to provide the answer himself.

"I don't think we're out of the woods just yet," said Joe Terranova.

Steve Weiss contended, "The bias short term is, is, is a little toward the downside."

Weiss added that with this administration, "Nothing's gonna get done."

Joe tried to ask Doc a question about the market slump, but Judge cut him off. Joe continued, asking if D.C. dysfunction raises the risk of a shutdown. Weiss said there's a "50/50" shutdown possibility.

Jon Najarian noted this is vacation time for Wall Street. "People are not staffing the trading desks at full force right now," Doc said.

Jonathan Krinsky said "there's just less (sic meant "fewer") participating stocks in uptrends" but proceeded to waffle about how much of a pullback we'll get.

Judge, now a stock expert apparently, stated, "The danger though is doing something too dramatic to your portfolio because you think some sort of larger event or correction-style event is, is going to happen" while the fundamentals "are still strong."

Krinsky agreed and said he wouldn't recommend "major changes." Judge demanded to know if Krinsky is predicting a correction. Krinsky shrugged and said "no," then asserted, "We've already seen a lot of it." Judge cut him off to tell him we've had a "rolling correction" involving "hundreds and hundreds of stocks." Which is basically what Krinsky was saying.



Judge explains ‘schmuck insurance’


Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime contended LULU has a moat and isn't as saturated as NKE. But he said "the issue" is valuation.

Jon Najarian, who twice tried to claim market sectors are a "pyramid" in which names at the top such as adidas are great but there's a broader bunch of losers below. Doc touted LULU as one of the names at the "top of the pyramid." Judge though cut in, questioning whether "the athleisure trend is either over, ending, or about to die." Doc insisted it's none of the above. So did Weiss.

Doc referred to the Nike "swish" (sic meant "Swoosh").

Joe Terranova said SBUX optimism for a 20% 12-month gain is "all on mobile orders."

Doc said FCX was trading with heavy volume but offered no opinion on the stock.

Weiss said the auto cycle has "plateaued" and is heading down.

Leslie Picker said the ADP move against Ackman's directors "looks like it will eventually lead to some sort of a proxy fight."

Picker said Herbalife's "best defense" against Bill would be going private. Picker said the company has said in a press release it's decided to buy $600 million worth of shares and then offer a CVR. Judge said "in Wall Street parlance," that's called "schmuck insurance." Picker said Pershing Square is "not commenting" on the subject of HLF.

Doc said GLD September (2018) 144 calls were being bought. Pete Najarian said September 10.50 calls in VALE were being aggressively bought.

Pete's final trade was HD. Doc actually suggested TWTR because of call-buying. Weiss said AAPL. Joe's final trade was PKI. Joe said the 10-year yield is "about the deflationary effects of technology on the entire economy."




Shopping tips from Doc


Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report mentioned that Second Skin athletic gear is kinda eating the lunch of Kevin Plank's (not sure too many CEOs are having a worse year) Under Armour.

Intrigued, we figured, why not give it a shot.

Second Skin apparently is sold exclusively by Dick's.

The bloke at the cash register had never heard of the product and was unaware Dick's was selling it.

(This despite the fact there's a huge sign for it right inside the entrance.)

Anyway, even though he didn't officially endorse it, Doc's onto something. Second Skin's shirts — they appear to be called Training Tops, short sleeve and long — are an excellent product. Fit like a glove, feel great. Instantly atop the leaderboard in the CNBCfix locker room.

The price point — apparently $35-$40 — might be higher than a lot of similar Under Armour and Nike products. Some of those products (we've got a few) are very good; others not so great.

It seems Under Armour and Nike might be experimenting with too many varieties of shirts. Under Armour in particular offers a lot of T-shirts with slogans.

A search on Dick's website for "Second Skin" (all products) turned up just 67 hits.

By contrast, a search for "Under Armour shirts" (not the whole range of products) produced 1,700 hits.

Surely Under Armour doesn't think the world needs 1,700 of its T-shirts?




Called shot: This page said Icahn might not be long for advisor-hood hours before he steps down


Judge dialed in to Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to comment on the breaking news of Carl Icahn stiff-arming Donald Trump.

Judge explained how Elizabeth Warren and others were critical of Icahn's informal role as Trump advisor "almost from the get-go" and that the criticism was "mostly centered around, you know, some of his energy-related things."

But what Judge didn't explain is that this page, overnight Thursday/Friday, barely more than 12 hours earlier, speculated in a headline (just PgDn to Thursday) that, as Trump's CEO friends take a hike … it's probably not unreasonable to suggest Carl might do the same.

This despite the fact that Icahn's name — save for an unrelated mention Thursday regarding Bill Ackman — hasn't come up on the Halftime Report all week.

Judge on Friday's Halftime chose not to follow our lead; fair enough. We're happy to provide material as often as possible. (Especially the good one-liners that we occasionally hear later on the shows.) For free. And unlike Nathan Jessup, they don't even gotta show us any respect. About all we ever suggested is a trip to Denny's for a Grand Slam.



[Friday, Aug. 18, 2017]

Judge should’ve just posted the New York Times Bannon story on the screen rather than share it with reporter on-air


Judge late into Friday's Halftime read off the Steve Bannon news and claimed it was "clearly having a, guys, a dramatic impact, uh, on the stock market," even though it didn't seem like the S&P had moved any more than a couple points higher.

Judge summoned Eamon Javers, an excellent reporter who this time had little more to say than that the New York Times and Drudge Report were reporting that Steve Bannon is out.

Judge told Javers that the bottom of the screen was showing that Bannon submitted his resignation Aug. 7, according to the New York Times. "That is new to me as well," Javers said, refreshingly candid about the nature of this scoop.

Judge suggested Trump maybe decided someone needed to go in the White House, and because the market fell a day earlier on fears it would be Cohn, that made Bannon the choice because Trump likes to brag about the stock market's performance.

Jon Najarian started to say Steve Bannon actually was a "much better leader of uh a push towards repatriation and some sort of uh, right-size of the tax" than Mitch McConnell; panelists pointed out that he meant Cohn and not Bannon. Doc said the Bannon exit seems "a further endorsement of Cohn."

Josh Brown actually said, "We don't know if they're gonna pull another psychopath."



Attending Yankee games
with Gary Cohn, Day 2


Oh boy.

Apparently irked by Thursday's exchange with Joe Terranova (see below), Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime Report doubled down on Joe's Gary Cohn narrative.

Brown on Friday said that if Cohn does exit the administration and stocks fall, don't be shocked if big money comes in buying the dip.

"Truthfully, mechanical money doesn't care about, 'Oh, Gary Cohn, I went to a Yankee game with him.' No one cares," Brown said. "The money that's coming into this market on negative headlines is index money and algorithmically driven money, and I just don't think it matters."

Well, if panelists are going to evaluate each other's commentary a day later, this program's gonna get really interesting fast.

Jon Najarian said he wants Gary Cohn to stay, but if Cohn leaves, the markets probably would only have a "very quick eruption."

Stephanie Link said "I've been pickin' away," but "it's hard to time" this market, "especially the macro."

Pete Najarian rattled off a bunch of tech names that are working. Judge warned that transports haven't been taking part in the rally and twice said "in and of itself."



Brown: NKE to 40s


Judge on Friday's Halftime unfortunately brought up the Disaster of the Day/Week/AnytimeSinceSNAP, the Foot Locker not-even-safe-for-hazmat-suit earnings report and forecast. (This writer had been long FL.) (Because Karen Finerman said to do it a couple months ago.)

Josh Brown happened to make the best point, stating, "I don't understand where management is this whole quarter; how do you have a stock go down 25% in one day. … How is this even real life?"

Honestly, gotta agree with that. How in the world is somebody not fired over this?

Stephanie Link mistakenly said of athletic apparel, "I still think you wanna go with the vendors" before clarifying to say she wants to own NKE, not FL.

Josh Brown said he sold NKE, doesn't hate it, but because it's going lower. "I think it's gonna head into the 40s," Brown said.

Pete Najarian said "the pressure and competition level" of adidas is a problem for NKE, but then backhanded UA which he said "I don't look at as, the same kind of competitive level to Nike as probably Kevin Plank thinks that they can be."

Judge brought up GPS and ROST. Josh Brown said, "Sell 'em both." Stephanie Link though defended the "outstanding" results of ROST and TJX and said "the takeaway is that off-price is not getting Amazoned."

Jon Najarian said BC is getting tarred by being in the "fitness" space; he said the December 55 calls were being bought, which sounds like a play on the next quarter.

Pete Najarian mentioned CTL September 20 calls were popular and that he's in them; "Obviously Meister sees something here." (This writer is long CTL and notes that Meister trumpeted the name on the Halftime Report during Ira Sohn when shares were around 24.)

Sarat Sethi called KSU "still one of the cheaper ones" in the rail space. Josh Brown gloated about KSU falling after the election on fears of the president's approach to Mexico, "so cartoonish," and said he's "shocked" there wasn't big hedge fund involvement in the name.

Josh Brown said he's "fine" with DE's fall because "I have a double in this." (which is something viewers might not care about along with Gary Cohn ballgames). He said DE had a "decent quarter."



[Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017]


News flash: Gary Cohn chose to serve under this particular individual


This page believes Gary Cohn is a great businessman and, by all accounts, a great guy.

We'd be honored to attend a Yankee game with him (see below).

But Thursday's Halftime Report panel practically spoke as if Cohn is a victim for having to work for a fellow who just elevated "both sides" into the national consciousness.

Anyone choosing to work for this president — or any president — knows exactly what he or she is getting.

There is no more scrutinized individual on the planet than the 2 parties' nominees every 4 years.

Here's a fair counterpoint: that presidencies often last 8 years, they often alternate parties, and so many quality human beings on the short list for high-level government service only have a limited window of time in life for such an appointment.

And so someone such as Cohn, who is 56, possibly might not see another Republican administration until age 70.

So perhaps it's Trump or bust for Cohn as far as this line of work.

And this doesn't appear to be the greatest White House of all time.

So Gary got thrown a curveball.

That's politics.

That's life.

Kayla Tausche on Thursday's Halftime said Cohn, according to colleagues, is "sort of torn" about remaining in the Trump administration.

Tausche indicated that concerns are not as much with Cohn but other aides, revealing "Wall Street executives" say that resignation of "one of the 3 generals" would create a risk of a "black swan event."

Josh Brown correctly said Donald Trump "is at his best" when surrounded by the business community, and that this is a "matter of conscience" for Gary Cohn that only Cohn can answer.

Judge asked Joe Terranova if the market would respond differently to D.C. noise this time. Joe started to answer about Gary Cohn; Judge interrupted to bring up the CEO exodus "in and of itself" (sic redundant). Joe said that's "absolutely a game-changer."

Jim Lebenthal claimed there's a "growing feeling" that Republicans could lose the House next year.

Josh Brown suggested Steve Bannon's resistance to the Goldman Sachs agenda within the White House makes it unclear what the real White House agenda is.

Josh Brown wondered if anyone on the panel could identify a single "measure" or "concrete thing" that's been spearheaded by Gary Cohn in the White House. Judge said Jim Cramer talks about Cohn as Fed chief being worth 5% on the S&P "in and of itself" (sic redundant again).



Joe has been to Yankee games with Gary Cohn, staying until last pitch


Basically, when someone tries to mess with Joe, we say, not on our watch.

But frankly, we weren't really sure what he was disagreeing with on Thursday's Halftime.

Josh Brown said Wall Street "really likes" Gary Cohn, and that the Fed would be a "great fit" and that GS shares would like that move, but "we're just making things up because anything can happen in this White House."

All of that seems fair; we don't disagree with any of it.

But Joe Terranova said, "I disagree with that," stating he's been to Yankee games with Cohn "for 9 innings" and that "in stressful times," people would be "very confident" that Cohn is in the White House as an advisor.

Joe said he doubts that Cohn is even concerned about what's happening with GS shares and added that "having Gary there" in the administration is "incredibly important to the market."

We don't disagree with any of that either … except we're not sure what Joe's disagreeing with.

Neither was Brown, who brought that up, unfortunately in a rather snarky way.

"So what are you arguing with? We're all saying that," Brown said.

"I'm not arguing," Joe said.

"OK. You said, 'I disagree,'" Brown said.

"I'm sharing an experience-" Joe said.

"I don't think the market wants to see him out of the picture. We all agree on that. We all agree," Brown said.

"Josh, this isn't about an argument between you and I. I'm sharing the experience of knowing the man, OK," Joe said. "What I disagree with is the premise that Goldman Sachs stock- it's worth 5% to Goldman Sachs' stock."

That came from Cramer via Judge. And if that's what Joe was disagreeing with, why didn't he just say something like, "I don't think Gary taking the Fed post would boost GS that much."

Joe said he does agree with Brown that "this administration needs some form of an adult in the room because there isn't one."

Brown oversnarked, making it worse. "So what about the general. The general's not the adult in the room?" Brown said.

"I don't know the general," Joe said.



Jeff Gundlach’s going to be disappointed if he doesn’t make 400% on his 3% S&P puts (cont’d)


Brian Belski on Thursday's Halftime Report didn't even let Judge ask a question during his intro, launching into his assessment of the previous commentary and stating "nobody" thinks anything's happening in D.C.

Belski said the last couple weeks of August is "typically" a time of higher volatility, predicting such over the next 2-5 weeks.

Demonstrating a comfort level with the program, Belski even called Scott Wapner "Judge" when stressing the "optics" of government are important. But, "Stop with the black swan talk," Belski asserted, suggesting no one knows in advance what a black swan will be.

Doc said someone bought a 1x5 VIX spread of September 23 calls. Doc said that could come up huge, but Judge cautioned that some of these VIX plays are "sucker's trades."



Day of Reckoning: Nobody mentioned whether Carl’s having the same advisor doubts as Gary Cohn


Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime noted Wall Street heard Bill Ackman's ADP plan and "didn't seem to buy into it."

Robert Chapman, who hasn't been on the program in a long time, dialed in to report an ADP short, stating his average price is around 119½.

Judge asked how Ackman's wrong, pointing out 3 hours, 168 slides, 6 months of work, 85 consultations. Chapman said those numbers suggest a focus on "quantity over quality of research."

Chapman claimed that Pershing first started buying into ADP in 2009, at the "deep, deep bottom of a horrific employment cycle. … It's a very different dynamic now."

Judge said Chapman knows the question is coming, how much of this trade is simply to be on the other side of Ackman. Chapman admitted, "Making a dollar being short an Ackman stock feels as good as making $10 on one that he's not long."

Judge asserted, "Surely their level of deep dive is greater than, than yours on this particular company."

"No question," Chapman said, but he pointed to Carl Icahn's notion of "no-brainers" and simple, obvious trades.

Judge played Ackman defender to the max, mentioning CP and Air Products and lamenting, "This guy seems to get no credit ever."

Chapman said the ADP space is fiercely competitive, predicting "the margins at ADP are screwed" and said Ackman missed that the VRX business model was "price gouging," that such a model was a "gigantic huge sycamore tree in the middle of his yard, and he just didn't see it."



V hasn’t even been publicly traded for 10 years


Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said MA September 137 calls were popular.

Joe Terranova said he has stayed long V "since the mid-'80s." Judge asked if that's the 1980s or mid-80s price. "I could qualify for both," Joe said, even though V didn't go public until this century.

Patrick McKeever of MKM said TGT had a "really encouraging quarter" and contended good things are happening with merchandising lines. "They're becoming a more viable competitor, uh, to Amazon," he actually said.

"I think it will be Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and everyone else," McKeever said.

Doc said he prefers WMT.

Scott Nations contrasted gold with bitcoin. Jim Iuorio said only if gold can get above 1,310 would he think maybe it's "shootin' through the moon," but until that happens, he'd rather look to places to short it.

Joe Terranova's final trade was DPZ, "a great low-risk trade" at 190 vs. 180. Jim Lebenthal said short IBB. Doc said DLTR.



[Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017]


Steve Weiss says Donald Trump
should step down


Talk about burying the lede.

At the end of Wednesday's Halftime Report filled mostly with humdrum stock assessments, Steve Weiss called for President Donald Trump to step down.

"He should resign," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal agreed, stating, "That's exactly right. You said it; I'm gonna agree with you ... We need new leadership."

Judge asked Weiss about the "broader implications" of Trump's CEO exodus. Weiss said he was watching the ticker during the reports, and "there's nothing in the market for any of Trump's initiatives or policies."

Jon Najarian though said tax or repatriation issues might still be popular in Congress.

But Weiss countered, "Nobody's gonna give this guy a win at all."

Josh Brown bluntly stated Wall Street's reaction to a Pence presidency would be "jubilant."

The conversation extended into Power Lunch, with Jim Lebenthal telling Brian Sullivan, "I just don't see the downside to resigning."

Jon Najarian told Sully about the "deep end of the pool" VIX trade but declared, "This doesn't impact the market."

As the story broke, Sue Herera mentioned Trump's strategic policy committee being on the "verge" of dissolving (and then that it had dissolved) and mentioned a name almost never heard on the Halftime Report: Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Eamon Javers said Steve Schwarzman was "full of optimism at the beginning of the year" (snicker).




Richard Fisher refuses to take a stand, could’ve used a little backbone, actually says ‘greatest responsibility of a board member is discretion’


Shortly after reports of another CEO (MMM) exiting one of Donald Trump's panels, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime brought in Richard Fisher … who apparently was actually expecting to discuss monetary policy (snicker).

Judge said Fisher is on the board of PEP and T and asked if he believes that either Randall Stephenson or Indra Nooyi should bolt Donald Trump's advisory panels.

"You know, I never comment on the boards that I sit on, or on the CEOs that I have the privilege of working with," Fisher said. "So, I'm not gonna comment on that. How's that? But I will say that I thought that the statement by the CEO of 3M was appropriately directed purely to economics, purely to tax policy."

Seriously?

In a borderline breathtaking moment … possibly his finest hour (or minute) on the program … Judge said part of being on a board, "other than collecting a handsome fee," is to discuss difficult issues with the "steward" of the company. Fisher actually said with a straight face, "I think the greatest responsibility of a board member is discretion, and focusing on the company's business, and that's what I do as a board member … Sorry to disappoint you," Fisher said, adding he was happy to talk about monetary policy or national economics, but "this is just not my forte."

Judge said that if Fisher doesn't want to talk about Stephenson or Nooyi, "I get it, unfortunately."

"This is the first combative interview I've ever had on CNBC," Fisher decided.

Judge insisted on asking if other CEOs should step down from presidential panels. "I think it's up to them," Fisher said.

Fisher told Stephen Weiss that at the Fed, "You check your politics at the door." Weiss kept protesting that he wasn't asking for a political view but whether the Fed would be "handicapping" whether tax reform or infrastructure programs would be passed. Fisher said those things would be evaluated for economic effect and don't fall under "raw politics."

Fisher said he views Dudley's comments as, "We're gonna start moving in September."

Judge had to correct late that Randall Stephenson does not serve on a presidential committee.



Jim: Hype will ‘suck up’ AAPL to $1 trillion market cap


In the remainder of Wednesday's Halftime Report, panelists took up the notion of AAPL $1 trillion.

Josh Brown said "I don't think I'd fall out of my chair" if Apple became the first $1 trillion market cap.

Jim Lebenthal said he finds $200 AAPL inevitable, stating the next 10% is based on a supercycle upgrade. Then, "I think there's gonna be an enormous amount of hype" that will "suck it up" to the $1 trillion valuation.

Stephen Weiss said AAPL is "arguably the cheapest of the FANGS," but we're not even sure it's in the FANGS, unless you call it the FAANGS.

Toni Sacconaghi said AAPL historically does well in advance of iPhone announcements.

Toni said that applying the peak multiple to his $11 earnings, you could get $182.

Jon Najarian said 175 may be the year's top, because people are "aggressively selling calls" of November 175s in AAPL.

Jim Lebenthal wanted to talk about INTC, CSCO and QCOM.



Judge is right; dumping XLE means you think crude’s going nowhere


Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he exited XLE despite the "decent dividend."

Brown said he bought the INVH REIT, "an incredible story," and also bought STOR, stating it shouldn't trade with mall REITs.

Stephen Weiss chipped in ADC, citing a "major transition."

Judge told Brown, "You basically threw in the towel on energy."

Brown said he's not making a call on oil. Judge questioned how one could exit XLE without making a call on oil. Brown insisted he has no idea what crude is going to do.

Weiss questioned if Andrew Hall's investors have made as much as his management fees.



Brown: TGT trying ‘Hail Mary’


Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime said TGT is in the "Hail Mary phase of retailing."

However, Jim Lebenthal said the price action is "just the algorithms piling it on."

"There's nothing exciting happening at Target," Brown insisted, pointing to the WMT chart instead.

Brown called Tencent "one of the biggest winners you'll ever see" and suggested the KWEB.

Jim Lebenthal said HD is in the "sweet spot" of … something or other. Steve Weiss said the 21 multiple would normally be high for a retailer, but not the way this company is executing.

Jon Najarian said September 33 calls in MU were popular. Weiss said he's back in WDC and MU; no surprise, because Tepper likes them.

Weiss said David Tepper is not just looking at the current market, but "2 years and 3 years."



[Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017]


Wonder if Joe has to pay the Najarian Family Office for telling him to buy AAPL calls


Viewers often wonder how Fast Money/Halftime Report panelists trade in real life.

Apparently, they sometimes just turn to each other.

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime revealed that last week at the NYSE, Pete Najarian "completely bailed me out" of Joe's QQQ put position because he "walked me into the August 25 calls in Apple," and somehow, "that literally saved the entire position."

Honestly, we don't have a clue how buying weekly AAPL calls "literally" saved Joe's QQQ puts.

But if it worked for him, great.




Psst … This is the North Korea endgame, boasting and testing a military device and showing the world its technological limits while doing absolutely nothing of significance


Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime Report trumpeting his "exclusive" chat with David Tepper, who apparently called this "nowhere near an overheated market" and dubbed comparisons to 1999 "ridiculous."

Well, can't argue with that.

As for rate moves, "50 basis points is not going to make a difference," Tepper is said to have told Judge.

Judge said Tepper likes MU and WDC as well as BABA, FB and GOOGL.

Tepper apparently told Judge that the North Korea situation "might not go away." (Ah. Yes. So real bombs might really start falling then?)

Steve Weiss basically said Tepper is the greatest investor since sliced bread.

But Weiss, naturally, felt obliged to tangle with Kevin O'Leary when O'Leary declared, "Tepper is a credit guy."

"That's wrong, Kevin," Weiss blurted.

O'Leary tried to insist that Tepper does something about evaluating credits.

"He goes where the puck's gonna go," Weiss explained.

O'Leary insisted that shorting bonds is making a call on credits.

Whatever. Stiff-arming some recent guests, Joe Terranova said "no disrespect" to Howard Marks or Jeffrey Gundlach or Lee Cooperman, but Tepper's comments are the most "relevant" he's heard about the market.

Joe praised Tepper for removing himself from a narrative or "predetermined bias" toward the market.

Jon Najarian called Tepper "a very wise investor." As for the possibility of rising rates, "Maybe we get to 2.60 this year" in the 10-year, Doc shrugged.

Pete Najarian insisted today's market is "nothing" like 1999, pointing to CSCO, which of course makes Howard Marks' point, that nobody's saying the market's toppy.

Joe pointed to AAPL and NVDA and said we're "resurrecting that momentum once again."

Judge said Tepper's message is, "Don't get out too early."



Kevin Plank quit manufacturing panel before Steph Curry could make a comment about it


Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime called HD the "opportunity" in retail names.

Judge said it's done "nothing recently." Stephen Weiss said the "marginal buyers" in HD have "dissipated," but he thinks it's surprising that the stock's down on the numbers.

Jon Najarian said COH November 45 calls were popular; "I jumped in." He said he likes spending 95 cents for the calls better than buying the stock.

Pete said October 65 calls in LULU were popular.

Doc said the Second Skin line is sort of eating the lunch of Kevin Plank's product.

Steve Weiss said he bought more BABA last week and said the biggest fear is that you wake up some day and, "Where's Jack Ma?"

Weiss said of the hedge fund world, "So many big names are there" in BABA.

Judge said that "some hedge fund hotels do well."



Movie theaters need to adopt airline-like pricing; for some reason, they can’t


Julia Boorstin on Tuesday's Halftime had a heap of trouble sputtering out the "$9.95" Moviepass fee.

Jon Najarian noted that concession sales, not tickets, are where theater chains actually make money.

Joe Terranova said the industry's in "secular decline" and said he's surprised there hasn't been "significant activism" in the space.

Stephen Weiss said he's not sure it's a good activist target.



How come Judge didn’t ask Tepper if Ackman was seeking 1 week or 45 days?


Explaining that presidential viewpoints don't really affect stock markets, Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said Barack Obama was "oppressive to business," but the Obama markets were better than Reagan's and Clinton's.

Still grasping for the last week's Most Incredible Trade of All-Time, a meager puff of the VIX, Kevin O'Leary asserted there's a "pent-up concern about volatility" that won't go back to old lows, insisting the "noise in the universe" of equities will rise.

Jon Najarian rattled off GLW downgrade details without opining on the stock.

Stephen Weiss said of SNAP, "The company's going the wrong direction," and he's staying with the puts.

Pete Najarian agrees with the WYNN upgrade and doesn't see 150 as "anywhere close" to out of reach.

Joe Terranova said that, talking about P, he's reminded of how much money he has lost in the name. (Too bad Pete didn't walk him into any calls.)

Doc said he likes STZ among the staples and, as far as its products, he said he thinks the panel "enjoy it regularly."

Steve Weiss said the top line on consumer staples isn't growing that much.

Joe suggested DEO and Nestle.

Jeff Kilburg said Dudley's comments were 1 of 2 reasons the dollar was climbing. Anthony Grisanti said there's a "really nice base" at 92.60, and it looks like the dollar "has turned around a bit."

Pete Najarian claimed BBY is "winning against Amazon."

Weiss said FL is getting more inexpensive; Joe called it a "value trap." (Karen Finerman, in stunning new hairstyle, on Monday's Fast Money said she's hoping for a big quarter, but, (sigh), we'll just say that even if the company reports $25 billion in quarterly earnings, the market will sell the pop within a day or two.) (This writer is long FL.)

Joe's final trade was FB. Weiss said AAPL. Pete bellowed that Weiss used to "hate" AAPL. Doc's final trade was MOS. Pete said 50,000 JCP February 3 puts were being bought.



[Monday, Aug. 14, 2017]


AAPL can’t buy SNAP because the name ‘Snapple’ is already taken


Monday's Halftime Report, a most turgid (and seemingly endless) exercise, was nothing more than filler before expected remarks from President Donald Trump.

But it was certainly noteworthy that, a couple business days after Howard Marks mocked someone on the panel (hit PgDn a few times), Jim Cramer (who has his own program(s), but whatever) right off the bat took a crack at Marks' "Memo."

"I just Googled 'Howard Marks bearish' and picked the year 2010. And up comes his May letter," Cramer said.

Cramer said that time was the "ultimate" time to buy JPM.

But, "I'm not picking on him," Cramer insisted.

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian said of the VIX, "You don't make money trading anything else that fast," but he clarified a couple times that it's the "deep end of the pool."

Doc clarified that he's not saying that Stephanie Link was responsible for the "exaggerated" VIX spike last week.

Doc said TGT's Grand Junction deal "could be a game-changer."

Doc also said November 125 calls in VMC were popular. Pete Najarian said TER October 36 calls were popular.

Judge said he looked twice at the Barron's article on NFLX to make sure it wasn't written by Pachter.

Doc claimed his SNAP (snicker) calls were "workin' out so far today."

Stephanie Link's final trade was DXC. Doc said DLTR as MCC got some makeup touch-up, Pete said NVDA and Jim Cramer said ATVI.

Judge asked Meg Tirrell for thoughts on Ken Frazier's exit from Trump's council, given that Tirrell has "looked him square in the face."

Tirrell pointed out that Frazier "exonerated" (sic verb; lawyers don't exonerate) a man 2 decades ago "along with a team of volunteer attorneys from death row (sic misplaced modifier)."

Jim Cramer suggested Donald Trump had a "great opportunity" to admit he was "a bit intemperate" (snicker).



[Friday, Aug. 11, 2017]


Pete’s SNAP-to-single-digits prediction might be Call of the Year


Folks who have invested in shares of SNAP hopefully have gotten beyond it emotionally if not financially (that was the case here, except we wish the latter had happened before the former). (This writer has no position in SNAP.)

Anyone holding these shares no doubt has had enough of the typical CNBC refrains about OMG THAT Q1 WAS BAD!!!!! or THE GROWTH WAS ALREADY DECELERATING!!!! while hoping there's something to Mark Mahaney's 31 (multiple snicker) price target or Dave Tepper's declared interest around 18.

But nothing stands out for accuracy like Pete Najarian's assertion starting in mid-June that SNAP is going to see single digits.

Over the course of time, that's not a hugely shocking prediction. Even GE was $6 a while back.

But Pete's call was more immediate. You could quibble a bit with the lack of a time frame (he said "at some point" as well as "after the lockup"), but hanging this kind of target on a very recent IPO … and seeing it on the verge of validation barely into August … is some big-time stock picking.

It'll be tough to beat.



Judge says Zuck and Sheryl have ‘a lot more bullets’ in their hands to take down the Vito Corleone of social media, Snapchat


Ross Levinsohn told Judge on Friday's Halftime that SNAP had a miss "on every key metric."

But, "On the flip side, I'm actually encouraged."

"The user engagement numbers were really good. People under 25 are spending 40 minutes a day," Levinsohn asserted.

He's also encouraged that "RPU more than doubled over a year ago."

Levinsohn invoked cinema legends to explain how SNAP has supposedly fended off FB. "I'm a fan of 'The Godfather,'" Levinsohn revealed, noting that Don Corleone was shot a half-dozen times, "and he didn't die."

Judge said Zuck and the people at Facebook "have a lot more bullets, um, in the chamber, um, and in their hands to use, do they not?" Levinsohn said, "Well, they do for sure." Levinsohn said Facebook's relentless attack on SNAP "means to me that they're worried."

Kevin O'Leary said there are "2 things" that make SNAP intriguing (snicker), one of them being, "they've added 7 new geographies," although the app doesn't actually work in some of those countries, and he never explained what the 2nd thing is, except it apparently is the potential to improve the company's conference calls.

O'Leary said Evan Spiegel's call was "horrific" and that "he really needs adult supervision."

"The reason the stock is getting slaughtered, 50% of it is he just pissed a whole lot of people off yesterday," O'Leary said. "I think it's gonna go single digits. And half the problem is him on the conference call."

Levinsohn said that's "super fixable." (Sure. When this bucket of garbage is $4.)

Steve Weiss said he owns SNAP puts and is holding onto them. "The fact that Facebook didn't kill them doesn't matter," Weiss said. "OK. They're not gonna die in a quarter or 2 quarters. I've got a management now that I can't trust."

Weiss mentioned "corporate governance issues." Judge said, "The problem is, is that their user metrics were going down into the IPO." Weiss said, "I don't think they would've been able to come public if they didn't do it then."

Of course, Judge skipped over that last comment, even though this whole debacle suggests the worst Wall Street tech scheme since 2000.

Jim Lebenthal said, "Unfortunately you're just not gonna see the growth ever from this."

Weiss said SNAP is not even in the "top 10" of things that worry Zuck and Sheryl Sandberg.



Value investing back in vogue (cont’d) (a/k/a What happened to the argument about JCP debt yield not nearly as high as that of SHLD (and the great cash flows))


Judge announced on Friday's Halftime that JCP just hit a 45-year low.

"I'm very disappointed in this result," said Jim Lebenthal. "Clearly I've gotten it wrong … This stock for the immediate term is not gonna go anywhere."

Jim said JCP needs "very strong" back to school results (Judge interrupted to say JCP says it's off to a "strong start") and that the new CFO "has got to come out of the shed and start communicating about things that are going right." (Funny, that's the same argument Ross Levinsohn made a couple weeks ago (not Friday) about SNAP … see where we're going here?)

Judge said of JCP, "Their guidance is as, you know, wide as the Atlantic Ocean."



Howard Marks actually doesn’t think anyone should get out (apparently)


Doing the 1-man good cop/bad cop routine again, Judge on Friday's Halftime claimed the volatility move is "sort of stunning."

But minutes later, he basically admitted that "if the situation with North Korea (snicker) doesn't get any worse," it's hard to make a case to get out of the market.

Jon Najarian said he'd stay the course and said people putting on "ratio spreads" on the VIX had been getting more aggressive and thus were "throwing gasoline on the fire."

Doc tried the latest round of paraphrasing elite guests, explaining that "Mr. Marks" was saying, "I'm not saying get out." (Even though Judge spent an entire week trumpeting that Marks was saying better to get out early than late.)

(But now, he's not actually saying get out.)

Gearing up for a pullback, Jim Lebenthal declared, "I've got dry powder. I sold some stocks earlier (sic redundant) this week."

Stephen Weiss said, "I got rid of some lower-conviction stocks."

Kevin O'Leary refused to bite on Judge's suggestion that many names are steeply down from recent highs, many of them in one sector. "There's all kinds of this overhang in retail," said O'Leary, calling Lee Cooperman "non-committal."

"I'm a bull going into the back end of the year," said O'Leary.

O'Leary said he likes JNJ, AAPL and even XOM and even took a stake in GE; "I think activists are gonna tear it to pieces."

Kate Moore, who looked great in white, said she would "absolutely agree" with Howard Marks that things are pricey across the board.



Shocker: Avoid APRN


Kevin O'Leary on Friday's Halftime said he owns WMT because it's the "anti-Amazon name."

Jon Najarian said the border tax (snicker) if it had happened could've stuck it to WMT, but, "I think this thing continues to work."

Doc said September 57.50 NCLH calls were popular.

Asked to recall some recent trades, Doc said he bought WYN September calls for about a buck-45, buck-50, but sold for "I think a dollar 30, dollar 35." But he said he bought MAR calls around $1.55 or $1.60 and got almost $3.

Doc said defense stocks' gains are obvious.

Steve Weiss said GS and others need rates to go up but he called it a "great story."

Jim Lebenthal said to avoid APRN and called it "very dangerous."

Doc said that in Europe, "A lot of folks over there are nervous."

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was FEYE. Doc said RDUS based on buying of 40 calls. Weiss likes BABA. Kate Moore said EEMA.



[Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017]


Howard Marks calls out Halftime panelist who mentioned ‘sell point’


Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report turned up at Post 9 with none other than Howard Marks, who critiqued the coverage of his Memo on the Halftime Report a couple weeks ago.

Marks said he was watching from Bogota, Colombia. "There was one guy — he's not here today — and one guy said a couple of things … I still haven't gotten my head around," Marks said.

"One guy said, 'The market is expensive, but I'm holding, until there are a couple bad days.' I haven't figured out what that means yet," Marks said. "And he also said, 'I have some- I have stocks that have exceeded my sell point, but I'm not selling.' And I haven't figured out what that means. What is it. What is a 'sell point.'"

We don't have the original quotes in our log (hit PgDn until you get to July 27), but given that it's a panelist who was not on the show Thursday, we're 99.9% sure Marks is referring to Jim Lebenthal.

We're not sure about the "bad days" comment. But "sell point" doesn't sound loopy.

It's always possible that someone hears something on one program and thinks it was on a different program, etc. But we're pretty sure Marks' recall is solid here because he added, "There was one guy, (Grandpa) John Fichthorn, I loved what he said. He said he wanted to copy the memo and send it out to his clients. He has my permission."



This time the term ‘pyramid scheme’ doesn’t come up


Howard Marks on Thursday's Halftime Report affirmed, "I don't understand what's behind bitcoin."

Josh Brown told Marks he "should sit with Marc Andreessen for, for an hour" and that it's too early to be "doctrinaire" on bitcoin.

"This is not a spending currency. This is a trading currency," Marks said. Josh Brown and Pete Najarian agreed it's "not a currency." Joe Terranova asserted it's a "commodity."

"I can't see any intrinsic value," Marks said, adding he also thinks gold has no intrinsic value.

But Josh Brown asked a good question: "Is there intrinsic value in the dollar," or is it valuable simply because of the utility. Marks said it's clearly the latter; "there is nothing behind the dollar anymore other than the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, whatever that means."



‘I wanna see the VIX rise’


Howard Marks on Thursday's Halftime said he was compelled to issue The Memo because, "I just accumulate things over time," and, "eventually they, uh, accrue until there's enough to, to, to make a, to have meaning."

The walkback didn't take long, after Judge said Marks has a "gravitas" ensuring that such a memo would "set people off."

Marks first protested that he's being misquoted.

"Somebody even said on TV, 'Howard Marks says it's time to get out,'" Marks complained. "First of all, there's 2 things I don't say: Get out, and it's time. Other than that, the guy was right. Uh, because, uh, nowhere does it say get out, and I certainly don't claim to, to say that this is time. All I'm saying is that prices are elevated, prospective returns are low, risks are high, people are engaging in risky behavior. Now, nobody agrees with any of the 4 of those. And if not, then it seems to me that this is a time for increased caution."

But what about that whole better-early-before-it's-too-late thing?

Marks said his approach is, "It's maybe in, but maybe a little less than you used to be in. Or maybe in as much as you used to be in but with less risky securities. That's all I'm saying."

OK. So just carry "a little less" risk than before. (Because we're timing a major pullback here, and you want to be early rather than late.)

Judge asked, which cracks first, bonds or stocks.

"Probably bonds first," Marks said. "But I have very little faith in that opinion."

"There's nothing that's cheap today," Marks said, explaining, "I didn't hear anybody say it's underpriced."

Marks said P.E. ratios are in the "high part of history."

He said we're in a bond bubble but not a high-yield bubble.

Marks told Judge, "I think the biggest risk is that, is the, is the fact that the prices are high, and investors are euphoric. Not euphoric. But optimistic."

Joe Terranova told Marks, "Over the last couple of years, investors have shunned equities and replaced it with high yield."

Marks said, "I think credit is expensive," before going on to say that bonds are a "contract," and there's no such contract with stocks or dividends.

Addressing a dubious subject out of the blue, Pete Najarian stressed that Jeffrey Gundlach this week was "talking about 3% — or more. It wasn't 3%. It was 3% or more of a pullback."

Marks is on board this bizarre VIX bandwagon. "I wanna see the VIX rise," Marks said. "I wanna see not a string of, of unmitigated advances."

So we're back to the Vietnam Market, want to see it go down so that it goes up.

But Marks said he agrees with Lee Cooperman and Jeff Gundlach that there's no recession "anytime soon."

Marks credited Judge for inspiring him to appear on the program. "I came because you did a good job post-Memo, and I'm glad to be here," Marks said.

"This was the talk of Wall Street," Judge decided at the top of the show.



There’s at least one person ‘extremely happy’ to work for Wells Fargo


In the non-Howard Marks portion of Thursday's Halftime, Judge congratulated Mike Mayo on joining Wells Fargo.

Mayo said he's "extremely happy in Week 6 at my new firm, and we are positive on the banks long term."

Mayo apparently thinks C can double in 4-5 years. Judge haggled with Mayo over making a call of a double while claiming the restructuring isn't done. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Mayo's presence bumped Joe Terranova off the desk.

Judge asked Mayo why he doesn't agree with Dick Bove's assessment of GS. "We've seen this movie before," Mayo said, pointing to Morgan Stanley, July 2012.

Jon Najarian said he's "tempted" to do "a little bullish stuff" in NVDA because he doesn't think the options market is pricing in enough move. Josh Brown noted he's been in the name since 50 last summer.

Doc said he's getting back in to SNAP calls for earnings; he's expecting a good report. (How'd that work out when he trumpeted SNAP call-buying in April and May?) Josh Brown said, "I'm not expecting a good report."

Jeff Kilburg suggested 1,400 gold is possible "if we see some type of missile actually launch." Otherwise, gold is range-bound. Jim Iuorio said settling above 1,310 would indicate a new breakout.

Pete Najarian's final trade was C. Joe Terranova, who again got limited time (we want Joe to opine on Weiss' no-long-lines-for-ideal-retail-experience comment), said AAPL.



[Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017]


Weiss suggests some more channel-check opportunities
for Jim


Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime jabbed Jim Lebenthal about doing a "store check of women's (sic redundant) lingerie again."

Jim said he talks to "checkout clerks" who say things are getting a lot better and that "there are lines at the checkout stores (sic terminology)."

Weiss offered maybe the most intriguing comment of the day, stating, "That means to me they're understaffed. And a good retail experience never has a line at a cash register."

Interesting point. It's true, a consumer would certainly prefer to shop at a place without a line at the register.

On the other hand, 1) virtually no semi-popular retail location offers such a situation, and 2) knowing that, retailers are savvy about loading up the counter with potential impulse items that are probably more likely to be bought the longer the customers stand in line.

Weiss expresses an admirable goal. But it's fantasyland.



Panel not terribly impressed with Jeffrey’s surefire December S&P puts


Jeff Gundlach is a brilliant guy who has made many great calls, but honestly, we were laughing off his highly unconvincing or even loopy I'll-be-disappointed-if-I-don't-make-400%-in-puts-that-score-huge-if-the-S&P-just-falls-3%-by-December call on Tuesday's Halftime that sounds like it came straight from How We Trade Options.

On Wednesday's Halftime, Pete Najarian translated Jeffrey's comments (without touching the whole Death Valley thing), stating, "He's just saying in general, when you have volatility this low, sooner or later, that's gonna percolate into something, and I agree with him a hundred percent."

We gotta think Death Valley doesn't care much about the VIX in summer 2017, but whatever.

Josh Brown said that for the panel to debate whether stocks can fall 3% "probably is not a good use of time." (As opposed to all the other things they talk about that supposedly are a good use of time.)

Erin Browne said she would "question the math" of Gundlach in which just a 3% drop would send the VIX soaring to 20; "it's probably gonna pop up to 15 or so."

Judge played host defender, stating, "3% was the number he threw out, but he did say 'Or greater.'"

Steve Weiss stated, "I heard him say that he can't lose money on 'em. Of course you can. That's, that's ridiculous, and I'm surprised Jeff would say that No. 1, 'cause he's a brilliant investor. And those are Black Swan puts."

"Well I think he's making a point Weiss that, that he sees it as a sort of a can't-miss trade," Judge felt compelled to say.

Weiss made another quality point, stating, "Why is everybody so concerned about volatility. Volatility in my mind does not equate with risk. Volatility equates with opportunity."

Josh Brown said investors shouldn't be "playing Mad Libs."

Jim Lebenthal explained why he's glad he got out of stocks that kept rising (usually it's BA), such as TIF and MPC.

Judge said, "You could make a clear case that today is a (sic grammar) extraordinarily positive and resilient day for the stock market when you have the highest level of saber-rattling from a rhetorical standpoint (sic last 4 words redundant) in a generation."

Pete said Gundlach is trading e-minis because they trade for 22 hours a day, then Pete mentioned Carl buying the election night dip (but how did that "Day of Reckoning" turn out?).

Pete also said a bunch of GLD calls were bought.



How come there was nothing about, ‘Oh, there’s another “Star Wars” movie that the Street hasn’t priced in’


Todd Juenger spent most of his time on Wednesday's Halftime shrugging and chuckling as to whether DIS is any good.

Juenger said he wouldn't call DIS' move a "Hail Mary" but proceeded to parse even more than Bill Clinton in his finest hour.

"Is this desperation or not?" Judge demanded.

"Listen, I think the situation is desperate. Uh, I'm not gonna take the bait and call Disney desperate," Juenger said. "They need to proactively (sic redundant) try and take their destiny in their own hands."

Ah. That's the strategy.

Juenger described himself as "aggressively neutral" on DIS shares.

As for ESPN, Juenger said, "We believe there are still 10, 20, 30 million U.S. households paying for that service who don't really want it."

That was his most significant comment by far, evoking memories on this page of Jeff Macke pointing out that unused gift cards are gold; "it's like selling air."

Judge demanded, rightly, whether DIS is "investable" right now. "I think you probably wait," Juenger finally said after talking about people running into him on the street and recognizing him.

Stephen Weiss said none of these names are investable and said "I'm sorta glad I sold Netflix."

Josh Brown rightly questioned if the consumer wants "30 different apps" to get all of their favorite TV shows and movies. Karen Finerman, in phenomenal new straight hairstyle on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, indicated people won't have 40 apps for TV programming.



Expect Howard Marks to do the Robert Shiller routine, ‘I didn’t say this is GOING to happen; I said it’s possible …’


Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report laughed off SBUX's problem as a "mosh pit" that turns into a "complete mess."

Judge said, "It seems to be a bigger issue though Pete than efficiency of mobile ordering."

Pete said, "I think that's a big portion of it."

Stephen Weiss questioned why SBUX isn't regarded as just another restaurant/coffee shop. "I don't think the brand in coffee matters all that much," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal said he agrees and said he likes DNKN better because it's got the "whole western half of the United States," a line we've probably heard a couple dozen times on this program.

Pete said PSX September 82.50 puts were being bought. "It could be" protection, Pete said (and when is that ever not the case), but this time, God forbid, it might be a bearish bet.

Pete said there was "absolutely nothing positive" from the ODP report.

Josh Brown said WEN is doing great for 3 years and outperforming MCD.

Weiss said he wouldn't buy MYL.

Jim Lebenthal said TRIP is in a tough space in which the names are "cannibalizing" each other.

Erin Browne still likes EEM on a weaker dollar.

Scott Nations said gold is still in a "sideways channel," and it's not interesting until 1,292. Anthony Grisanti said the "North Korea stuff" is "not gonna end overnight," and he'd be long gold.

Pete's final trade was AAPL. He predicted it will "explode to the upside." (But oh by the way you should buy gobs of protection on the VIX because that's so low that it's probably going to skyrocket once German bonds start going up.)

Weiss' final trade was MU.

Erin Browne said that "if you're concerned about North Korea, short Japan, EWJ," but not Korea or the S&P 500. (But the EWJ is not going up or down based on how Joe Viewer feels about Jong Un.)

Josh Brown said to buy the dip in ALB. (We were wondering why Judge was avoiding that one.)

Jim Lebenthal suggested JCP.

Judge promised Howard Marks on Thursday's Halftime.



[Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017]

Jeffrey Gundlach does not opine on Bill’s board battle at ADP


It got better the longer it went.

But it wasn't exactly rip-roaring television.

Jeffrey Gundlach on Tuesday's Halftime Report said Donald Trump deserves "very little" credit for the year's stock market performance.

"The previous president did very little in recent years but was quiet about it. The current president is getting virtually nothing done; he's very noisy about it," Gundlach explained.

Gundlach hilariously referred to Jim Cramer's "they know nothing!" rant by pointing out it involved "Erin with the giraffe dress."

Much of Gundlach's commentary centered on the VIX. He called the shorting of the VIX one of the "manias" out there, and given that, there could be a "really big kind of shock higher." (He also drew an analogy between high vol/low vol and Mount Whitney being next to Death Valley.)

He said he's predicting volatility because "the markets have been coiling so much."

He said the copper/gold ratio is at a 12-month high, for whatever that's worth. (And to think he didn't mention that Robert Shiller's CAPE or whatever it is ratio has only been this high twice in history, in 1929 and 2000.)

Gundlach contended, "The German 10-year has no business being at 50 basis points with U.S. 10-year up at around 2.3%."

Judge correctly and impressively summarized Gundlach's apparent point as "a bond yield-initiated stock correction."

Gundlach conceded there's "no evidence of a recession in the United States or globally."



Was it 5 directors or 4; 45 days or 1 week; he knows he’s welcome to appear on the show and make the case to anyone who’s interested ...


In a clumsy, obviously pegged to whenever Jeffrey Gundlach could go on the air opening, Judge asked Tuesday's Halftime panelists to kill time gushing about how great Jamie Dimon is.

Josh Brown made his usual JPM-to-100 refrain.

Joe Terranova said he's staying with MS, BAC and V.

Stephanie Link said "everybody" owns Morgan Stanley.

Jim Lebenthal said KORS and RL had a great bounce but are still "well off of where they were 1 year ago," however, he said it bodes well for retail.

Josh Brown said he's long BMY for reasons other than takeout.

Stephanie Link called FL risk/reward "pretty good" but noted "they're still tied to the malls" and said she'd "rather own Nike." (This writer is long FL.)

Joe said the VRX CEO is sounding more confident, but he seemed skeptical that the stock is going to 25.

Bob Iaccino said oil's in a "classic downchannel."



[Monday, Aug. 7, 2017]


Trump suggests Lee got railroaded for criticizing Barack Obama


Monday's Halftime Report featured Lee Cooperman, relaxed and seemingly relieved to talk about something besides the SEC.

Sort of.

Lee said Judge's first question, Why is he speaking out about Ackman's ADP interest, is a "good question."

Lee said he's no longer in ADP — then reverted to his typical refrain.

"I made a mistake. I gave all my stock to charity," Lee said. "Should've given cash because the stock has almost tripled in the 5 years that I'm off the board."

Here's the deal:

Giving money to charity is wonderful. No argument here.

But Coop brings up this endeavor during every appearance.

We have no idea as to the seriousness of the recent SEC allegation/settlement or what really happened.

But when Lee constantly mentions charitable donations and commitments — even pointing out how, if not for the case, he could've paid for college for a lot more kids — it sounds like he's trying to buy leeway, whether in legal matters or the court of public opinion.

Later in the program, it was clear Lee's not done analyzing the SEC case.

Cooperman said he was invited to a White House dinner with Donald Trump (hopefully nobody leaked that around the Moochmeister), who told him 3 times, "'You have an outstanding reputation' … and he asked me if my problem with the SEC was occasioned by my open letter to President Obama 5 years ago. I said I had no idea if it was or wasn't." (This should've set off alarm bells for Judge and prompted a question as to whether Lee is alleging First Amendment persecution, but Judge took a called strike 3 and asked nothing of the sort.)

Lee said that however the case came together, "They were abusive and wantonly destructive in what they did."

Lee admitted to Judge that aside from market/economic issues, "You worry a little bit about the White House," even though he found Trump accommodating. "He could not have been a more gracious host," Lee said, explaining that after dinner, guests got a personal tour of the Lincoln Bedroom.

Lee said he told Trump the best thing Trump could do is "unify the public" (snicker).

Lee claimed that if Hillary Clinton were elected, "The odds favor the fact we would've been in a recession today."

Lee said if Trump walked across the Potomac River, "The press would probably say, 'Donald Trump can't swim.'"



Did Ackman want 5 directors or 4, 45 days or 1 week, why didn’t Judge know the breakdown of the derivatives stake, etc. (Bill is ‘welcome’ to appear on the show) (it would be kind of funny if Bill came on to opine about the SEC)


Lee Cooperman dove head-first into the ADP showdown on Monday's Halftime, stating, "I know and respect Bill Ackman … Notwithstanding, I consider his behavior to be in this instance somewhere between foolish, inappropriate and irresponsible."

Lee said he was "somewhat incredulous" when he heard about Bill's move.

Lee was given more than ample time to rattle off all the stats showing ADP a "phenomenal" long-term enterprise and question who'd defend Bill here.

"I'll be very disappointed in the money management profession if he got support," Lee said.

In a dig that now Judge even says people shouldn't focus on, Lee said one thing he could tell Ackman with a sense of humor, "This won't be another Valeant."

How did Lee and Bill's communication go down? "I don't wanna dis-, you know, disclose any confidences, but he called me first," Lee said, stating Bill wanted the delay in the nomination window. (How long, we have no clue; Judge couldn't shed any light on that Monday.)

"He's gonna lose the proxy fight; can't imagine any, you know, serious shareholder supporting him," Lee predicted. "It's all part of this new wave of activism where hedge funds are trying to make their own luck."

Judge said Ackman says this is a "similar thing" to Air Products and Canadian Pacific. "It's not a similar thing. It's not, please, it's not," Lee insisted.

"This is a mistake," Lee asserted, before knocking Bill's request for the as-yet-unsettled amount of deadline pushback.

"Either finish your work in time … or be a gentleman and wait for the next year's nominating committee to be open," Lee said. "They were right in not delaying."

Kevin O'Leary, on the panel this day, called ADP an "amazing story." But he told Lee, "I think your criticism goes beyond Ackman." O'Leary said that Ackman has a point to make, and, "I want to hear it."

O'Leary added, "I made a lot of money with this guy on CP."

"How'd you do in the other … names," Lee cracked.

"I understand that," O'Leary said.

Lee claimed with a straight face, "The company's happy to hear" Ackman's point of view, but the issue is, do you ask the company at the "last minute" to delay something in the bylaws.

Stephen Weiss said the reason Ackman is doing it is, "Here's a guy who needs a win," and in this particular fight, the "downside is extremely limited."

"It's beyond me why anybody would follow him into a stock at this point," Weiss added.

Weiss claimed at least one confab with Bill, mentioning JCP; "Bill and I have talked about that."

Josh Brown said Bill wants a nomination delay because his position's in derivatives (Judge still hasn't straightened that out), and "the clock is ticking." But Weiss pointed out Ackman made a long-term play in HLF with derivatives.

O'Leary insisted that Ackman has told shareholders there's 40-50% more in the gross margins, and that's why, "I need to hear his thesis."

Later, O'Leary speculated that Ackman will come out and say "that he can use AI and machines to cut 50% of the employees."

"I'm hopeful that he will come sit with us," Judge said, without a whole lot of conviction, adding that "Bill knows this, that he is welcome here to make his case, um, directly, uh, to you all watching, to us and to Lee himself and anybody else who frankly, um, is interested in all this." (Which basically covers the whole world.)

Lee said that unlike Carl's approach to Bill, "I happen to like him."

Regarding ADP, Lee said if he had to make an investment decision, "I probably would short the stock rather than go long."

Weiss likened Ackman's initiative to Weiss' view of AAPL. "I think Tim Cook could do a lot better job," Weiss said. "It's the same thing."



Lee points out Doug Kass is ‘not on the show anymore’


Judge on Monday's Halftime mentioned Howard Marks' "much-talked about Memo." (1) He's the only one talking about it; 2) This usually lasts about 4 trading days, then you never hear about it again.)

Lee Cooperman said, "I think the market is fully valued on a fundamental basis," suggesting 4% nominal growth.

"I don't see euphoria," Lee said.

Revisiting a CNBC bureaucratic wound (that viewers don't know about), Cooperman told Judge that Doug Kass "used to be a, a compatriot of yours, not on the show anymore."

Yep.

"There's no signs of recession," Lee said.

Judge made Marks' argument about being early than late. (In other words, it's best to sell as high as possible and buy as low as possible.)

Jim Lebenthal, given a chance finally at the 30-minute mark, suggested a "whiff of fear" could actually topple the "animal spirits" of this market. Lee Cooperman said he "totally" disagrees with Tom Lee suggesting FAANG will lead the market … to a lower S&P target than what it's at now.

Lee touted GOOGL but admitted it's "owned by everybody." He also likes FDC. Lee said he's got NBR and HES and WPX.

Josh Brown asked Cooperman about retailers. Lee said it's "Very situationally oriented … there's no question that retailing is challenged."

Lee said that Warren Buffett would likely say that if interest rates stay here, stocks are not expensive.

Kevin O'Leary tried to get Coop to trash regional banks; Lee said, "Are we talking banks or are we talking energy because you're confusing me."

Lee said, "You've seen the low in energy prices."

Lee predicted a 50-60 price on crude by year-end.

Josh Brown trumpeted NVDA's all-time high. He also trumpeted ALB.

Judge mentioned Paul Singer and his "devouring capitalism" fear of passive investing. Lee Cooperman called that an "extreme statement."

Lee questioned why banks and others got blamed in 2008 and not the people who decided to "overlever themselves."

Judge said Jeffrey Gundlach will be on the show Tuesday.



[Friday, Aug. 4, 2017]


Judge says if you remove VRX and HLF, Ackman’s had a great 12 months (and that Ackman would like a ‘big winner’)


Judge on Friday's Halftime said he just got off the phone with Ackman, and that Ackman was buying ADP as recently as Friday morning and was planning to introduce a board slate of 4 or fewer and that he's seeking only a 1-week filing extension.

Judge said Ackman claims to know ADP's CEO Carlos Rodriguez "quite well" because they went to Harvard Business School together. (But they must not have been on the rowing team together.)

The interview was recent. "I literally hung up with, with, um, Mr. Ackman 2 minutes before the show started," Judge said.

Stunning and gorgeous, Leslie Picker evaluated Judge's comments about Ackman and stated, "It sounds like based on your conversation with Mr. Ackman that the company's, uh, perspective is a bit different than Mr. Ackman's perspective."

Picker said that according to the company, Ackman asked for a 30-45-day extension so he could nominate 5 directors.

Judge said it was "kind of a smackdown sort of press release that, that they put out." Picker said you often don't see companies "superseding" activists by issuing the first press release.

Picker said it sounds from Judge's reporting that Ackman and Carlos Rodriguez have a "long-standing relationship."

Josh Brown questioned how Ackman could gain 4 board seats "through mostly derivatives." Judge admitted, "Frankly I don't know the breakdown of the stake."

Judge said Lee Cooperman, who sat on ADP's board "for 20 years, nearly that," sent an email to Ackman questioning this move and stating ADP has done a good job for shareholders.

Doc rambled into a clumsy explanation of a question nobody was asking; might we see footprints of Ackman's move in the options market.

Leslie Picker opined on Ackman's move. "As a long-only play, there's very little downside here," Leslie said.

Picker mistakenly said that "if you're gonna put money into something, you're gonna want it to have very little (sic) downside protection," adding that it's "clear" that this is "a pretty safe investment, um, relative to others that he's been pushing for."

Judge said, "If you sort of remove Herbalife and you remove Valeant from the picture, the other stocks that he has in his book have helped him do well over the last 12, you know, calendar (sic redundant) months."

Taking up Bill's PR cause, Judge said there are "haters who always focus on Herbalife and Valeant." (He didn't even mention JCP.)

Judge added that "of course he would like a big winner. Not just a winner, but a big winner." Really. You don't say.

Picker said companies are "building up their war chests" to push back against activists in 2017 as opposed to 2016, when more settlements were reached.



Doc: Competitors post negative reviews of rival restaurants on YELP (By the way, Pete informed viewers a day ago of ‘huge put-buying’ in that stock)


Friday's Halftime Report pronouncement that the stock market's all clear came from Jim Lebenthal, who stated, "I'm all in right now. I'm fully invested as a U.S. equity portfolio manager" (sic last 6 words redundant).

Jim said when August "goes off the rails," as Art Cashin and others have suggested this week, it's typically been in the 2nd half of the month.

Erin Browne said U.S. rates will remain "abnormally low unless we get a real inflation spike."

Judge asked Josh Brown to "tackle" the Paul Singer comments on passive investing. Josh said there are "2 pieces of irony" in Singer's statement and concluded, "Capitalism is alive and well." Judge impressively noted that Jeffrey Gundlach was talking at Sohn about the S&P 500 being actively managed.

Jim Lebenthal said Singer (he said "Elliott Singer," but Judge corrected it) is talking about a "distinct subset" of active management, namely the activist space, and that it's hard to be an activist when the top holder on so many companies is Vanguard.

Jon Najarian said he uses YELP a lot, "even despite the, uh, some of the bad reviews that you see on there that appear to be placed uh by the competitors of other restaurants and things like that."

Jim Lebenthal wondered if he's the only one who notices that YELP trades at 200 times next year's earnings. Josh Brown said this sector "trades on revenue growth and, and user metrics." Jim wasn't allowed to push back.

Doc said there was "huge … massive" buying of SNAP August 15.50 calls and then 15 calls. (Remember how well those tips worked before the May earnings when the stock was 23.) Doc actually was sort of gushing about this stock, stating, "I think this is all kinda behind these guys now and the stock's ready for that big upside move."

"They're not gonna miss twice," said Josh Brown, who later said he thinks the stock goes lower, and then he'll want to buy it. We wouldn't be surprised by a bounce, maybe up to the IPO price, but Mark Mahaney's 31 (he says that on CNBC with a straight face) is fantasy island.

Jon Najarian said someone bought September 250 calls in GS.

Josh Brown said it's "outrageous" that APRN, shortly after going public, is laying off about a quarter of its staff.

Jim's final trade was Royal Dutch Shell. Erin Browne said the XLI, and Doc said LITE.

Mel revealed on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I do check Rotten Tomatoes."



[Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017]


Who’s funnier: Sully or Judge?


Thursday's Halftime, which somehow survived a clunker of an opening on whether the U.S. market will play "catch-up" to others (Why they couldn't talk about Anthony Scaramucci or O.J., we have no clue), produced a consensus thumbs down on buying UAA.

Pete Najarian said "the big issue" to him for UAA is its commitment to footwear; "that's where they got hammered," and the valuation is still extremely high.

Josh Brown and Sarat Sethi said there's no rush to pick the bottom of UAA; wait for it to start breaking out. Jon Najarian said we haven't seen people selling UAA with both hands yet.

Leslie Picker said Andrew Hall is closing his main Astenbeck hedge fund. (That's the guy who had the bonus controversy in the early days of Fast Money, and Guy Adami declared, "PAY THE MAN HIS MONEY!!!") Picker said Hall is "just the latest victim among, you know, wrong-way bets in the energy market."

"He's blaming algorithms," Josh Brown said.

Jon Najarian took a victory lap on TSLA August 320-325 calls.

Doc stressed that PVH is just brands, not brick-and-mortar stores, the 6th or 7th time he's made that point.

Doc said people were buying September 105 WYN calls. Pete said November 34 YNDX calls were popular.

Josh Brown said SQ "bigger picture" looks very strong; he wouldn't give up on the name.

Jon Najarian said to stay away from TEVA for a while.

Sarat Sethi said he's going to buy LB. (We think Dana Telsey was touting it in the 60s or 70s a while back on the show.)

Pete said AAPL is making things very difficult for FIT.

In the Zzzzzz portion of the program, Josh Brown said "1st-level thinking" was assuming you had to be in the U.S. because of Trump, while "2nd-level thinking" was taking advantage of markets such as Mexico.

Tony Dwyer has an Aug. 2 note stating "signs the correction has already begun," citing the Russell 2000 breaking its 50-day on Wednesday while the Dow made an all-time high.

Pete Najarian said names such as PEP are absolutely beating Europe.

Dwyer said 5 of the last 7 years, we've had a negative August. Judge said, "So what?"

Scott Nations said gold "is all about the dollar." He said the dollar is "way oversold," so gold's at a short-term top. Anthony Grisanti said 1,280 is the next resistance.

Doc said he likes VIAB.

Sarat's interested in AL.

Josh Brown said he doesn't know why he doesn't own ATVI. "It's certainly not late" in this trade, Brown said.

Judge caught Sully mugging for the cameras at the end of the show while practicing for the Power Lunch opening. Judge could benefit from picking up some of Sully's 1-liners, on the other hand, Judge isn't as preoccupied with dispensing wisdom, but both could stand a bit more curiosity.

Josh Brown's final trade was BRKb. Sarat Sethi suggested IAC. Doc said SM.



[Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017]



Va-va-voom: Karen in
white shorts, sneakers


Wednesday's Halftime Report produced some interesting commentary from a CNBC legend (no, not Mohamed El-Erian).

Art Cashin said, "Markets tend to top out in the first 3 weeks of August in years that end in the numeral 7."

Well, the last thing we want to do is go against the Artmeister, but the gut feeling around here is that if you base your portfolio this month on such a small sample size, you're a chucklehead.

Jon Najarian said volatility remains low. Jim Lebenthal claimed "there's good breadth to this market."

"It is a stock-picker's market," Jim said.

Stephen Weiss said the bond market's been in a bubble "for a while."

Meanwhile, Doc said the options market was pricing only half the move that AAPL made.

Toni Sacconaghi said "unequivocally," AAPL's quarter and guidance were "much better than expectations." Judge asked if $200 a share is "outrageous." Sacconaghi said no, but "I would caution that the market does look forward."

Judge said Weiss is "arguably the biggest critic" on the show about Tim Cook's capacity for innovation. "Apple TV, where is it," Weiss demanded.

Jon Najarian actually said of WMT/Jet, "This is where I shop for a lot of stuff now. It's not just Amazon anymore."

Weiss said, "I've even bought stuff online from Walmart instead of Amazon."

"I bet most of us on the desk are Prime members," Doc said.

Weiss, Judge and Doc slung the b.s. on adult diapers.

Doc said MAR upside calls expiring next week (unclear what strike price) were popular; he got into the name.

Pete Najarian said AVGO August 270 calls were being aggressively bought. "I think 300's in the cards," Pete said.

Pete said PXD offered "poor" guidance; he said to "stay away" from energy stocks.

Jim Lebenthal downplayed the monthly auto sales report but admitted sales have peaked, though he said they're "plateauing."

Brian Stutland said traders were chasing yields elsewhere in the world. Jim Iuorio said "there's a little more downside" in the dollar.

Weiss' final trade was MU. Jim said GM, Doc said TSLA and Pete said SYMC.

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, in chic blue top and … oh my … white shorts that took off 15 years that don't even remotely need to be taken off … said she doesn't know why TSLA won't just "fill the coffers" by raising money at cheap prices.

Karen said she finds GE "kinda compelling. … There's value to be unlocked here."

Karen said AMC's report is movie theaters' "retail moment" and said it's probably not over for mall REITs; "I think there is more bad news to come," Karen said.

Mel brought up the tweet reax to her report from the Sprint CEO and said, "To be clear, I have no personal opinion on this one way or the other. I don't have any opinion on any of these stories that we cover." (Except the other day on Power Lunch, when she suggested the Moochmeister used "bad judgment.")

Karen said that a company such as S can be both desperate and looking for a great deal, but when things like this go on, "things leak," so "stocks become efficiently priced."



[Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017]

Doc tries to make excuses for Howard Marks’ bogus day-of-reckoning-esque warning


Grasping for material, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime actually brought up "The Memo" by Howard Marks early in the program.

Jon Najarian said it's been "6 years since we've seen earnings like this," then later he said that Marks and other giants have to be cautious early because they can't be as nimble as most investors; "It takes a long time for them to get out of the market."

Josh Brown said technicians think August has been the worst month over the last 30 years, though it doesn't always turn out that way.

For flavor, Judge brought in Bob Doll and David Rosenberg. The latter of course said he wouldn't buy stocks here, saying prices have "far surpassed" earnings.

But Doll said, "The drivers are fundamental and pushing us higher."

"Who exactly is doing the buying right now," asked Rosenberg, suggesting maybe emerging Asia is the place to be (if that's true, the U.S. market will do just fine).

Josh Brown told Rosenberg that having 2 instances of a previously higher CAPE ratio isn't enough of a sample size to know that this market will crash. Rosenberg said he's just looking at "classic" P.E. ratios and insisted he's not talking about a "doomsday scenario."

Judge said it was "completely different pictures painted" from Doll and Rosenberg.

Stephanie Link said she doesn't want to "chase technology."

Josh Brown said that if you're just thinking of the general market as "Ooh, it's the Trump trade," then "you're probably losing money."

Joe Terranova said oil is suddenly out of favor again, but the overall market rotation is "favorable."

Joe acknowledged transports are having an "awful" quarter and said transports traditionally have been a warning signal, but he's not necessarily sure they're going to take the market down.

Joe saved his best for last, predicting serious action that no one else seems to foresee in the very near future. "I think the next 6 weeks, this market's gonna shake," Joe said.



Whitney Tilson hasn’t been on recently to crow about shorting LL all the way to zero


Judge delved into semiconductors on Tuesday's Halftime.

Jon Najarian said MU has had real issues "in the last week or so," but he thinks the Street is only looking for a "pause."

Josh Brown said the Wells Fargo chip call seems to be more about advocating the cheaper names. Joe Terranova said, "I think the semis are still fine." Joe mentioned LRCX and TXN. Stephanie Link though said she took profits in LRCX and is only in AVGO.

Pete Najarian said he's going to stay in MU, though he doesn't expect the August 34 calls to "necessarily kick in." He said somebody's selling a bunch of September 42 AMAT puts. Pete suggested being in both NVDA and INTC to get the "barbell" effect.

Jon Najarian said there's a lot of put-buying in KSS.

Joe Terranova said MOS is struggling and suggested BG or DAR instead.

Josh Brown thinks there's no reason to get out of PFE.

Jon Najarian said LL had a "fantastic" gain; "this is just a blowout quarter for them … everybody seems to be sounding the all-clear."

Stephanie Link said "people wanted more operating leverage" in CMI, but the story isn't broken.

Jeff Kilburg said crude is pausing. Jim Iuorio said "it's time we pivot" in oil; he's got 40 on the downside but doesn't think it goes immediately there.

Stephanie Link said she sold SBUX. Josh Brown said "the chart's a mess."

Joe's final trade was V. Josh Brown matched that with MA. Steph Link said APD. Doc said TMUS.

Judge promised live coverage of AAPL earnings when they happen.

On Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said she doesn't own AAPL because, "I don't know what the right device multiple is."

"I actually sold some upside calls in Bank of America," said Karen.

We'll be catching up with more Halftime/Fast this week.



In a likely first, Kevin Plank’s leadership (gently) called into question


Jay Sole on Tuesday's Halftime stated that "Under Armour continues to be in a state of transition."

Sole said the bear case is that it's a "dying brand," but he disagrees with that.

Judge, who likes to hold up sheets of paper of analyst opinions (most people just read them online now), asked what UA price would prompt Sole to do a "50-pager" recommendation.

Sole said UA needs to get the inventory and receivables under control. Jon Najarian had to pronounce "adidas" 2 ways like they always do on the show for some reason; as for Under Armour, "you see an awful lot of it in discount stores," Doc said.

Josh Brown questioned whether if Kevin Plank wasn't such a star, perhaps people would talk about replacing UA management.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later (it's a busy week).



[Monday, July 31, 2017]

Judge quizzes panelists on best big-bank stock of the year; good thing he didn’t bring in Dick Bove for a 10-year assessment


In a curious call, Donald Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director Brian Wieser told Judge on Monday's Halftime he rates FB a sell because "it hasn't gotten a lot better in the last 8 months."

Wieser outlined several reasons for his sell, which makes us skeptical, but he made a couple of interesting comments about the "viewability" of ads and the looming "saturation point" for digital advertising.

This page's readers are spared those problems. #free

Stephen Weiss congratulated Wieser for taking a stand rather than following the company higher. But he pushed back on the fundamentals, prompting Wieser to push back on the "viewability" of ads.

Jim Lebenthal said of FB, "if you own it, you continue to hold it." Jim said he doesn't get Wieser's argument that TV is a better way to advertise.

Meanwhile, Judge decided that SNAP hitting a new low constituted "news." And with Ross Levinsohn around, why not. (This writer is long SNAP.)

Levinsohn said the Street is going to be focused on Snap's active users and faulted the company for not expressing a positive narrative. Josh Brown said app downloads are "atrocious," down 22% in the last 2 months, so why would anyone think the active user numbers will be strong. Judge cut in and told Brown that he's making Levinsohn's argument.

Weiss disagreed with Levinsohn that SNAP should be saying anything now, suggesting any good news will surface in the report. Levinsohn said he totally disagrees, that the company needs to talk about what's working and that it's been "completely silent" even though "I bet you there's something good happening there."

Weiss made a good point, that Jeff Bezos never addressed the critics of his stock. Levinsohn retorted, "Different, completely different story."

Elsewhere, Joe Terranova said the upside for big banks is still there. Josh Brown suggested you could effectively own C just by looking at the chart and not knowing anything.

All the panelists seemed to know that the best big-bank stock of the year is C.

Joe said of HTZ, "Don't touch it."

Josh Brown said Morgan Stanley upgraded GPRO with a $7.50 target, below its price.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money predicted a "significant bounce" for SNAP in the short term though the company is "destined for failure."



[Friday, July 28, 2017]

Howard Marks apparently said the same thing in 2011 and 2013


Scraping for material, Judge led Friday's Halftime with Robert Shiller's observation from a day ago that the 1929 crash was preceded by low volatility.

Josh Brown wasn't having any of it, stating Shiller is a "genius," but added, "Bob Shiller has been making cautious comments pretty much his entire career. Um, and then he'll, you know, say, 'Oh by the way, I'm just indexing anyway.' … So, put that aside."

As for "The Memo" from Howard Marks that prompted Shiller's appearance a day earlier, Brown said that in Marks' 3rd paragraph, he wrote, "By the way, I said the same thing in 2011."

Steve Weiss said Marks made the same forecast in 2013 also. (See, that's why we said a day earlier (hit PgDn a few times) that if a meltdown happens in 2 years, Marks looks like a genius; if it doesn't, (virtually) no one will remember anyway.)

Weiss shrugged that Thursday was no "selloff." Judge insisted there was an "interesting reversal."

Weiss said it's a mistake to time the market; he's sitting in "about 30%" cash.

Weiss talked about pluses and minuses of the stock market and even mentioned Greece NOT issuing debt. (Yes. CNBC hasn't sent MCC there to report on the green lasers being flashed outside the parliament building.)

Mike Farr dialed in and cited a comment from Chuck Prince (haven't heard that name for a while) about "When the music's playing, you've gotta dance," perhaps signifying pre-2008 euphoria.

Jim Lebenthal twice said, "This is a stock-picker's market."



Jim says his channel check has found strength in JCP’s women’s apparel


In the 15th minute of Friday's Halftime, Judge brought up AMZN.

Stephen Weiss said there's no guarantee of a better entry point in AMZN, so if you want the stock, buy it now.

Referring to Howard Marks' FAANG skepticism, Weiss said a "value investor" such as Marks isn't going to be on board the FAANGs anyway. Judge punched back that Stephanie Link bought AMZN. (omg … the GREATEST stock purchase in the show's history.)

Judge asked Mark Astrachan some good questions about what's going on with SBUX; Astrachan mostly just offered the company's explanations but said perhaps there's a "share shift" going on where people are choosing independent coffee shops.

Judge said that in New York and San Francisco, "independent coffee shops are literally on every block."

We doubt it's really "literally."

Weiss said someone who has "250 locations in the Midwest" (presumably SBUX locations) says "traffic is way down."

In other matters, Weiss said, "I don't even know why cigarettes are still legal."

Jim Lebenthal said INTC has "a lot more room to run."

Josh Brown said there's no reason to get out of EXPE.

Weiss asked American Airlines CEO Doug Parker about fuel costs and whether he'd hedge again. "We don't feel the need to hedge," Parker said, "because we think we have a natural hedge — in our revenue stream."

Phil LeBeau, who began the interview with Parker, said Parker got a World Series ring from the Chicago Cubs.

Dana Telsey said JCP has "a lot of catalysts" for the back-to-school season.

Jim Lebenthal said that, based on his own observation at a Michigan store, JCP might be improving on "women's apparel and handbags."

Josh Brown scoffed, stating SHLD started bouncing the same time JCP did. "This is just short-covering; the entire retail sector hit a low in June," Brown said.

Steve Weiss said advertisers might abandon SNAP because they've seen the stock plunge. (This writer is long SNAP.)

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was PFE for "a little pop." Stephen Weiss mentioned AKAM.



[Thursday, July 27, 2017]


So if the crash happens within 2 years, he can say he called it; if not, nobody will remember anyway


Howard Marks played the financial media like a fiddle, and Judge fell for it like a ton of bricks.

The first 20 minutes of Thursday's Halftime Report was spent on "The Memo."

"The Memo" is apparently the title of a "warning" … of something … during this 1986-Mets market … from Marks.

The gist of it, apparently, is that Marks said he'd prefer to be cautious too early "rather than wait until it's too late."

Judge of course responded to this vague pronouncement like the traders in "Wall Street" who heard "18 for 400,000" in the BlueStar pit, reciting Marks' doomsday stats and asking panelists if the end is indeed near.

Jim Lebenthal tried to have it both ways, stating, "Well, he is right in concept. Now this is not bubble territory. … I think he's wrong to execute right now."

Jim for some reason apologized to gorjus Leslie Picker for saying this doesn't look like a "real rip-your-face-off" bear market ahead.

Leslie Picker said the difference between previous generations' hot "superstocks" and the FAANGS is that, for the FAANGs, "these companies do have a pretty significant moat around their businesses at least for now," even citing troubles of Snapchat (sigh) (this writer is long SNAP) and Blue Apron.

Grandpa John Fichthorn said Marks' message is "everything I believe in right now." He said we're "definitely at lofty levels" on "any historical measure." He mentioned 1930s, 2000 and 2007.

During these ridiculous exercises (how'd Carl's "Day of Reckoning" work out?) (what about Marc Faber in every appearance) (when was the last time you heard Meredith Whitney's theory on the wealth of the country shifting from coasts to flyover country), no one ever mentions that Fed (and presumably congressional) precedent was set in 2008, the Fed will act aggressively as soon as any downturn's in sight, there's a permanent Fed put. What would really be an empty-the-account-for-cash moment would be A) $12 oil, B) a currency crisis, C) notable war.

Marks is a great investor who obviously has a lot more money than this website. Anyone who takes this advice and sells the '86 Mets in August is a chucklehead.



‘Housing bubble’ appeared on nytimes.com 18 times in 2004, 13 times in 2002


Judge on Thursday's Halftime actually brought in Robert Shiller and asked Shiller if he shares some of Howard Marks' sentiments.

Shiller said, "Yeah I have for a few years now, and so, uh, I'm wondering why he came out with it right now."

That's odd. Just 2 months ago (visit our archives in the right rail), Shiller sort of told Judge the stock market could (that word supposedly was the key, according to Jeremy Siegel, who said he spoke to Shiller about the interview afterwards) rise 50%, though it was anyone's guess as to whether that was a 10-year timeline or less than 10 years.

Judge actually said that Shiller wrote, "One indicator has you lying awake, worried." (For those who thought that question on CNBC is always a figurative one.)

"I think that it actually relates to worries that people have that they might not bring up in discussing the stock market," said Shiller, who added this is a "time when people are worried about technology … a deep, underlying fear." (Would like to know how a Yale prof measures the level of worry about technology among people.)

"It doesn't matter what job you have, there's always some robot out there about to take it. And that is just relentlessly in the media," Shiller said. (Is there a robot set to replace Judge? In and of itself?)

But, as for the market, "It might go on for years like this," Shiller said.

Shiller also provided history lessons. Of 1929, he said, "The crash kind of triggered itself." He said there may have been "underlying fears" at the time, but those are "hard to document." (Translation: Judge wasn't on TV every day in 1928 asking people about the "Day of Reckoning, in and of itself.")

Shiller said that if you search for "housing bubble" in 2005, "Practically nobody, almost nobody said it," though he said "late 2005," it started to appear.

Grandpa John Fichthorn said he's curious about factoring in "adjusted earnings." Shiller chuckled, "I don't factor those in," then launched into a brief history of corporate accounting.

Judge said Marks thinks bitcoins are "perhaps even a pyramid scheme."



Absolutely no consumer ever buys anything except the ‘experience’ of Amazon Prime


Mark Mahaney on Thursday's Halftime said to (big surprise) stay long FB; "estimates are up more than the stock is."

Mahaney admitted he's got a sell on TWTR, but he doesn't want to write it off.

Mahaney said he doesn't see a "gap-up opportunity" for AMZN into the print, a good call (this review was posted after market close).

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't feel any "sadness" about getting out of BA much too early. He said the stock is priced for perfection.

Grandpa John Fichthorn grumbled that at Boeing, "A lot of cash was pulled in this quarter from deferreds and from customer advances. So, that's not really cash."

Pete Najarian said a bunch of calls were being bought in airlines.

John Fichthorn had "no opinion" on Ackman taking a stake in ADP.

Jeff Kilburg thinks gold will stay over $1,250. Scott Nations said gold will "bounce around" in the 1,215 to 1,315 channel.

John Fichthorn touted his ANET short and called the stock "pretty rich" and suggested it's "personal" for John Chambers to "put these guys out of business."

Jim Lebenthal said he's sometimes accused of being a "dinosaur."

Pete Najarian's final trade was C and DB; Jim Lebenthal called INTC a "sleeper long."



[Wednesday, July 26, 2017]

Professor Siegel mentions Bob Shiller, but Judge doesn’t bring up the 50% ‘call’


Wednesday's Halftime Report began pretty much as they all do these days: Everyone's reasonably bullish, vol's probably gonna remain low, the market will keep going up by rotating leadership, the banks are INCREDIBLY AWESOME, active management will start to outperform, etc.

So we sorta tuned it out.

Jeremy Siegel, who thinks tax reform is giong to happen, did say 10% higher for the rest of the year doesn't sound like Judge's "euphoria," though 20% maybe would.

Josh Brown suggested BIIB might break out, and then we could see 350, 375 "before there's any real resistance."

Rich Saperstein said the risk of an executive order on drug prices is "overstated." Judge questioned the impact of a headline, "in and of itself" (sic redundant/useless).

Josh Brown said telecoms are beginning to become media plays, and that's not so bad. But Pete said they're "leveraged beyond words."

Pete Najarian said September 135 calls in WYNN were being bought. He said he's in the stock, not calls.

Addressing DPS, Josh Brown said, "Beverages is just a bloodbath."

Brown said the CMG dead-cat bounce is already being sold. "I just don't think management's very good either," said Steve Weiss.

Weiss said he bought AKAM calls on the "Greater Fool Theory."

Scott Nations said the RSI says crude is "not yet overbought." Jim Iuorio doesn't think it will cross 50.

Josh Brown shrugged that FB is "the best stock on the planet."

Pete Najarian touted BABA on "huge call-buying." Stephen Weiss said he owns FB stock and calls but will sell his calls. Josh Brown's final trade was AMGN, and Rich Saperstein said ABB.



[Tuesday, July 25, 2017]


Karen questions why KORS wants to buy Choo at high multiple instead of its own stock


On Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, dynamite in gray, said of KORS, "I'm not a giant fan of this acquisition," questioning what it means that KORS isn't buying back its own stock at a 10 multiple while it's buying all of Jimmy Choo at a 27 multiple.

On the Halftime Report, Steve Weiss said the Choo deal is what we'll be seeing in this space.

As for retail, Rob Sechan said to avoid "those companies that will continue to be completely disintermediated by technological evolution."

We'd have to agree, it's probably a good idea to avoid any company that's being completely disintermediated.

But Judge asked if that sentiment has been "overdone" among retail stocks.

Jim Lebenthal insisted "the bottom" in retail was 2 months ago.

Kari Firestone said if GOOGL were down 4%, she'd buy more, but it was only down 3%. Judge said "But seriously," is there a difference between 4% and 3%. "I mean, really," Judge said.



Pete really tries to assure viewers that somebody buying a bunch of VIX calls is ‘far more of a hedge’


Joe Terranova was asked by Judge at the top of Tuesday's Halftime Report what he thought about the day's market action.

"I find it all impressive," Joe said.

Rob Sechan said, "The pillars of support are still in place."

Jim Lebenthal said with a straight face, "This should lead to a good, active, stock-picker's environment."

Pete Najarian said he looks at options bets for the VIX as "far more of a hedge" (he used that term 3 or 4 times, seriously) than a downward bet and even mentioned 50 Cent.

Steve Weiss grumbled, "I'm not sure the VIX is what it was."

Weiss said Steve Easterbrook "pulled some other levers" besides all-day breakfast.

Weiss said CAT's management "underpromised and overdelivered" for a change while the previous management "really had no clue" about the "dynamics" of their business.

Jim Lebenthal cited MMM as an example of how a stock can still give back if they "trip up." But Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. show said MMM was "unduly punished."

Back on Halftime, Steve Liesman reported survey results on what people think about what investors think that hardly proved or showed anything. #wasteoftime #talkaboutGratefulDeadinstead

Liesman said he's "pretty sure" that Gary Cohn to the Fed is not yet a done deal.

Joe Terranova said that partly because of the presence of Anthony Scaramucci, he's "more than comfortable" that if Yellen is replaced, the "right person" will get the job.




Still trying to come to grips with Jim Gorman as ‘the Babe Ruth’ of money-center banks


Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime fell into the timeline trap on UA.

Pete stated, "If you're willing to hold it for 3 years, then I think you've got a great runway for ya. But if you're actually looking for something in the next 6 months, couple of quarters, I don't think it's there, Scott."

That makes zero sense.

The stock is either going up, or down, or nowhere. The stock doesn't know or care whether its buyers have a 3-year plan.

If it's not a short-term buy, then it's not (yet) a long-term buy either.

Stephen Weiss said the UA multiple is "lunacy." Joe Terranova said there's upside risk, that a "significant bounce" in UA is possible.

Weiss said he bought the XBI on Monday.

Jim Lebenthal said it's "less and less likely" that Obamacare will be "wholesale" thrown out.

Pete Najarian actually said a buyer of SMH August 84 puts is probably looking for downside and isn't hedging.

Pete said "something is going on here" in SGMS, citing January calls.




Judge slammed for ‘funeral look’


Brian Stutland on Tuesday's Halftime said he sees more upside in copper; "we could be looking at $3 here."

Joe Terranova said materials can work now "for a trade." Steve Weiss said he agrees, but there's still "too much capacity."

Jim Lebenthal cautioned there's a lot of things that can trip up BA.

Weiss said he's in CMG puts; that wasn't a great trade late afternoon. (This review was posted after market close.)

Joe said he's adding to CXO. Weiss likes AKAM. Jim touted C, and Rob Sechan likes XLE.

Weiss said Judge has the "funeral look" day after day after day.



[Monday, July 24, 2017]


Karen: ‘Something’s kind of off’ in the sporting goods space


Judge kept warning viewers of Monday's Halftime that they were about to get a statement from Jared Kushner.

It — like the Day of Reckoning — didn't happen (during the program).

So Judge spent the hour taking the temperature of the panel.

In a notable understatement, Joe Terranova said it's "important that the FANG stocks deliver."

Paul Richards said the dollar is "about what Washington's going to do." He predicted "consolidation" for a couple months.

Erin Browne said the dollar will continue to weaken, then, Pete Najarian-esque, asked herself a couple of questions.

Stephanie Link has been buying EBAY.

Joe said he's "not ready" to buy P.

Pete Najarian said someone sold SGMS calls at a profit and is now buying the January 35 calls.

Josh Brown said "Today provides that opportunity" for HAS, but he cautioned not to get "hasty."

Joe said there are better names for energy's recovery than HAL.

Stephanie Link said the reaction to SWK earnings was "silly."

Erin Browne said "you should be loading up and buying" industrials.

For final trades, Josh Brown pounded the table again for ALB (Zzzzzzz). Steph Link said HDS, Erin Browne said EEM, and Joe said MS.

We weren't going to do any pictures, but on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman was soooooooo gorjus in fabulous new hairstyle and new outfit, we couldn't refrain.

Karen, a chatterbox on this program, said GOOGL had a "good quarter." She lamented being long FL but, pointing to the Hibbett revenue problem, stated, "The carnage this created in the entire space is many, many, many multiples of that, so something's kind of off there." (This writer is long FL.)

Guy Adami said to take profits in NKE.



[Friday, July 21, 2017]


Josh Brown: Scaramucci getting CNN reporters fired was the ‘clincher’ for Trump


Friday's Halftime Report was a blast from the past.

Panelists talked about stocks — but the main event was the breaking news that former longtime CNBC contributor and Fast Money semi-regular Anthony Scaramucci has somehow, after a considerable setback in January, ascended to a top White House position.

CNBC's hardy political reporter Eamon Javers declared, "This would be a significant political comeback for Anthony Scaramucci," except Scaramucci didn't previously have an official political stature, but nonetheless, it's an impressive rebound from a tough January and dubious experience at Davos that nearly knocked him out of the presidential circle.

Josh Brown opined that Scaramucci recently taking on CNN and "actually having 2 reporters get fired" had to have been "the clincher" for this White House.

Javers made a point of reading a note he received from a source, explaining, "This is happening with some resistance uh from people close to Spicer if not to (sic grammar) Spicer himself."

Later, Javers said his source carped, "This is a joke. Trump wanted Scaramucci on television as a surrogate for the White House and wanted to give him more of a formal title."

Judge offered, "Anthony Scaramucci's not afraid to take people on."

Judge added, "I've been trying to get in touch with uh, Anthony, haven't been able to do that. Uh, he may be a little busy at the moment."

Stephen Weiss said that in "every" Wall Street trading room right at that moment, "Thousands and thousands of dollars are being wagered as to who's going to play Anthony on 'Saturday Night Live.'"

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, featuring Mel's sharp new hairstyle, Guy Adami called the hiring/elevation of Scaramucci a "home run," with consensus backing from the panel.



Weiss: Markets would prefer president who’s more ‘stable mentally’ than Donald Trump


Then again, does Anthony Scaramucci know what he's in for?

Steve Weiss on Friday's Halftime bluntly suggested this might not be a 4-year president, stating if Donald Trump is impeached or resigns, "the market would trade higher," because we'd have someone "who's more stable mentally in there."

Jim Lebenthal asserted that we're in a "meltup," but Weiss challenged that term, stating this is "more of an orderly progression going higher," not a "meltup," which to him is 2% in a day.

Jim Lebenthal said the market leadership is broadening out, and maybe telecom will start participating.

Mike Wilson, who resembles Peyton Manning, said "I'm feeling very good" about the stock market, citing in part interest rates remaining "pinned."

"The Europe trade is still on," said Kevin O'Leary.

Josh Brown singled out GILD as having "tons of room to the upside," and then CELG; "this just looks absolutely amazing."

Judge wanted panelists to rave about MSFT and MCD. Pete Najarian hailed Satya Nadella's leadership as driving MSFT. Pete said MCD under Steve Easterbrook "started to care more about the customer" and pointed to (yes) all-day breakfast.

Kevin O'Leary said Microsoft is the "premier license for every seat in a small company." But volunteering a different name, O'Leary said GE is "where money goes to die."

Jim Lebenthal called GE a "value trap" and said it has been for a long time.

Jim says an analyst should be applauded for making the wrong call


Stephen Weiss and Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime said BTIG & Atlantic Equities analysts did the right thing by lowering JNJ from holds to sells.

Jim Lebenthal said splitting up JNJ would put "some life into this stock."

Jim said to "applaud" the Berenberg analyst's courage for his WFC sell, which is "not just a wimpy sell" but a $35 target.

Even so, "I don't think it's the right call."

Josh Brown said he'd rather buy OXY when it's going up, and that it's going to follow the price of crude.

Stephen Weiss said TXT is in a tough space but will still participate in a growing economy.

Pete Najarian said September 92.50 PG calls were being bought.

Jim Iuorio said gold got the "green light" from Draghi on Thursday; he plans to ride it to $1,300.



[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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♦ Maria Bartiromo
♦ Lawrence Kudlow
♦ Karen Finerman
♦ Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
♦ David Faber
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♦ Jeff Macke
♦ Pete Najarian
♦ Jon Najarian
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♦ Zachary Karabell
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♦ Nicole Lapin
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♦ Steve Liesman
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♦ Kimberly Guilfoyle
♦ Martha MacCallum
♦ Courtney Friel
♦ Uma Pemmaraju
♦ Joe Scarborough
♦ Terry Keenan
♦ Chrystia Freeland
♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

♦ Bill Gross
♦ Dennis Gartman
♦ Diane Swonk
♦ Meredith Whitney
♦ Richard X. Bove
♦ Arthur Laffer
♦ Jared Bernstein
♦ Doug Kass
♦ David Malpass
♦ Donald Luskin
♦ Herb Greenberg
♦ Robert Reich
♦ Steve Moore
♦ Vince Farrell
♦ Joe LaVorgna
♦ A. Gary Shilling
♦ Joe Battipaglia
♦ Addison Armstrong
♦ Jack Bouroudjian
♦ Stefan Abrams
♦ Warren Buffett