Karen at Post 9!!

Closing Bell viewers on Thursday got a treat when Fast Money regular Karen Finerman showed up at Post 9 to cap the day with Bill Griffeth and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Karen mentioned buying AAPL, apparently after the recent plunge; "I got lucky somewhat on timing."

Karen explained, "There is more to the Apple story" than the iPhone X, hailing services as a possible "offset" of "lumpy" phone sales. She even got grilled as to why she hasn't owned it all along.

Karen said she's looking forward to Fast Money returning after the Olympics. Bill said, "Are you anxious to get back to work there?"

Karen said, "I've loved the Olympics though so that's fun, uh yeah, I'm ready to get back to work. I miss the guys, miss Melissa, lookin' forward to it."

MCC pointed out, "Melissa's not back next week." That probably means Sully-land.

Bill and MCC obviously haven't been reading this page or else they would've wished Karen a Happy Birthday this Sunday.

Famous Bottoms: Timothy
overachieves as Mr. Hart
in ‘The Paper Chase’

Joe Terranova started off Thursday's Halftime Report revisiting the activity of ... yep ... Feb. 9.

"I did a poor job as many others have in the wake of February 9th not saying that that was the bottom and that it was time to get back in again," Joe said.

"You have a market that is being driven back on this rebound so powerfully by growth momentum stocks. And that is just not aligned with the strategy that we're all so afraid of: The strategy of higher rates, higher volatility and being more defensive because there's a risk to the outlook," Joe added.

Joe also said the market Wednesday overreacted to Fed minutes.

Judge said there was a Goldman Sachs podcast (snicker) in which someone said "it's certainly possible" that there are 5 rate hikes (snicker) in 2018.

"I think that's aggressive. I think that's a lot of rate hikes," said Kari Firestone, who said that type of wage push is "very unlikely in this economy."

Judge noted that suggestion was "not from, from Hatzius."

Josh Brown said the terms "inflation" and "higher rates" are "being conflated."

"Do not use the 2 terms interchangeably. It's wrong," Brown said.

Pete Najarian stated, "Well first of all I think the algos have now programmed themselves to be attached to the, the rates themselves."

Pete predicted the financials will do great in a trading environment and "drag along the rest of the market." That's odd to hear "drag" used in the sense of taking something higher.

Jim Lebenthal said Wednesday's Fed notes were "irrelevant because it was 3 weeks ago." Jim said inflation is more relevant, and all the inflation worries are "centered on the month of January."

Jim said he doubts 5 rate hikes, which would be "courting disaster."

Still wondering what happened with Greece ... why Greece isn’t the word ... aren’t all the PIIGS going to sink the market ...

Jeremy Siegel visited with Thursday's Halftime crew and started off agreeing with the idea of Wednesday being an "overreaction."

Siegel said talk of a "supergrowth" has "really cooled down in the recent data," which gave Judge an opportunity to heckle the Atlanta Fed number again. But Siegel does expect 4 hikes.

Siegel said James Bullard has been a "superdove" and "super-uberdove."

Then Judge made this declaration about the Fed: "They look at what's happening in the stock market. And for better or for worse, their opinions and decisions have been made at times by virtue of what the stock market has done and what investors quote-unquote have told the Fed to do," Judge said.

Siegel told Joe Terranova that, "Most of us think that 3½, 3¾ may be the peak of the 10-year. And that is a lower world than we experienced, you know, I'm not even talking about the inflationary '70 and '80s but even in the '60s and the 2000s, where we had the 10-year, you know at 5 to 6%."

Siegel faulted an "inordinate number of trend followers" for the rapid plunge and rapid recovery of the past month. (So now it's trend followers and not the levered VIX ETNs.)

Siegel said that unlike the 2010 Flash Crash, this time "there were no dislocations" and that the market seems to have gotten through it "with flying colors."

Joe insisted upon stating that in April 2013, "The 10-year was 1.60. The following January, the 10-year was 3.05. The S&P went from 1550 to 1850. We had the same concerns. So there's the template. The market can go higher as rates move higher."

Josh Brown noted a bounce-back in utilities and REITS while rates haven't pulled back.

Pete sits out the SNAP discussion, says nothing this time about ‘single digits’

Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report brought up the MoffettNathanson bear calls on SNAP and TWTR.

Josh Brown conceded TWTR is a "very expensive stock" with a lot of hopes pinned to revenue.

Brown said SNAP has had a TWTR-like bounce the last couple months, while "the only fundamental change in SNAP has been negative. Uh, 1-star reviews for the app on the app store are like 86%. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. The user community is so disgusted with the overhaul."

Brown concluded, "I own Twitter, would not own Snap."

Kari Firestone noted "Twitter is still well below where it was a few years ago" and said "it's done a lot of things right."

Jeff’s research for making bullish bitcoin prediction amounts to phone call from Doc

Jeff Kilburg on Thursday's Halftime Report said the crypto selloff is "due to regulation."

Kilburg said he just talked to Jon Najarian, who's doing a "crypto crawl" in Europe again, and Najarian "said sentiment is strong," so Jeff thinks it can go higher.

Anthony Grisanti said he's got 9,570 as support and said resistance is 11,800. "I would expect this market to trade sideways a little bit," Grisanti said.

Pete Najarian said RF March 22 calls were bought for 2 days in a row. Pete also said March 75.50 calls in XOM were popular.

Pete admitted P upside calls "did not work out."

Joe Terranova said CHK's gain is "obviously" a short squeeze; he likes CXO and PXD better.

Kari Firestone said W could "move higher" after its slam if it executes well.

Addressing what proved to be a bungled final trade from Tuesday, Jim Lebenthal said ROKU beat on earnings and beat on revenues, and "it's where it was 1 week ago. So clearly it got ahead of its skis." But Jim said "this stock will be back at 50 ... you can fix margin problems really easy." It's a compelling argument given the extent of the selloff, and one we'll think about. (This writer has no position in ROKU.)

Josh Brown said CAR had low expectations and thus the stock is up, but it's "still a sloppy chart" and not where he wants to be.

Pete's final trade was WFC. Josh Brown said he'd stay long TWTR and said you can put a stop just below 30. Kari Firestone said WCN and called it "recession-proof," for those fearing recession. Jim said GM. Joe said MOS in a "longer-term trade."

[Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018]

Weiss explains what hedge funds do, claims they’re ‘not supposed to outperform’

Leslie Picker on Wednesday's Halftime reported that Greenlight had a 5.5% drop in January and that David Einhorn said the prior worst underperformance was in March of 2000, "which was a similar environment" (snicker).

But the really interesting comment of this discussion came from Steve Weiss, who curiously stated, "Let's understand what hedge funds do. Hedge funds are not supposed to outperform. Because they're running a hedged portfolio. So their net exposure to the market is half what the market is, 60%. So, outperform doesn't mean outperform the S&P. It means outperform their peers."

Really? ... People are paying 2 and 20 with a goal of not outperforming passive investors? (Joe was already doing a rehash on this program (see below); we expect the same from Weiss on this subject in a few days.)

Meanwhile, Picker said Paul Singer continues to warn of a "potential crash on the horizon," but then again, "Singer has been beating this drum for years."

Judge said Einhorn predicts "a reversion is coming" in growth vs. value. Joe Terranova brought up one of our favorite snickering terms that we'd almost forgotten about, questioning if Einhorn is still short the "bubble basket" (snicker).

Leslie said he is, so Joe said it would take AMZN and "Netfix" (sic, corrected) to "fall significantly" for Einhorn to be right.

Judge asked if anyone sees value gaining ground. Weiss chuckled, "I don't know why I'd care. You know I'm, you're finding, instead of being a strategist, he might as well buy ETFs, if that's his thought, because the stock-picking's not working out." (But his goal isn't to outperform, apparently, and neither is Ackman's.)

Judge said Einhorn's strategy has "worked in the past." Weiss said, "It hasn't worked for 3 years" and noted Elliott has performed well while Greenlight hasn't.

Erin Browne said there are "2 instances" that would favor value, namely reflation and the tax bill, but it really hasn't happened. "At some point, you've gotta question, is this trade fundamentally flawed for some reason."

Joe continues to talk about whether AAPL is making fundamental or "index" gains. (Zzzzzzzzz)

Joe rehashes Friday’s exchange with Josh Brown about The Bottom

On Wednesday's Halftime, Joe Terranova was hitting rewind.

On Friday, Joe told guest host Sully, "How many people, myself included, on this network, said, to answer the question that we were all posed, was last Friday the bottom ... well maybe, it was the bottom, it could be. But we'll probably retest it again."

That led Josh Brown to point out that Brown was saying on that Feb. 9 that it was a bad time to sell during a washout, with Pete Najarian piling on.

Joe on that show tried to clarify that he wasn't saying people should've sold on Feb. 9 while Brown and Sully butted in to quibble over Sully's ski-accident analogy.

On Wednesday's Halftime, Joe brought up that Friday discussion and stumbled a bit to say Brown "michunderstood" (sic pronunciation) his point.

"I was not saying that you needed to sell I think on, on that February 9th low. That's not what I was saying. But I think in the rebound, part of the rebound is that there is this sentiment that still believes we need to go down and test that low," Joe said, and it hasn't happened, so that sentiment persists. "I'm amazed at the speed of this rebound."

What happened to Greece? And the PIIGS? They’re not going to accept austerity! omg!!!!!!

Judge opened Wednesday's Halftime with Tony Dwyer, who apparently expects a "shock drop" that will retest the lows and whose argument simply got worse the more he stumbled along.

Basically he's citing the "10-week rate of change on the VIX." He said "typically" in situations such as early February, there's a 5% rally off the low, then a retest.

Judge said, "We've already kind of had a retest. And we've also moved far more than 5% off of what the low was."

Dwyer insisted "that immediate retest Scott doesn't count."

Then we got what's known in journalism as the "nut graf" when Tony added, "I wanna make it clear: I am absolutely not calling for people to trade this lower move. I'm saying, Get ready for that lower move, be prepared for it when it comes, don't let it shock you. And you wanna take advantage of it."

Translation: Don't sell, because chances are, I'm wrong.

Judge suggested rather than the retest not counting, "Maybe the correction shouldn't count."

Part of Tony's sample size apparently is the 2010 Flash Crash. Tony claimed that he went to the bathroom during the Flash Crash, presumably came out, couldn't figure out why the market was down 500 points, then the market bounced back, "and then you made a lower low."

Moments later, Judge asked Dwyer, "What happens if 10 days from now you have a jobs report that does not back up the wage number from the prior month."

Poor Tony eventually said, "I think the next move is lower on lower long rates and a defensive move, and I think that's what you wanna buy." Judge was heard scoffing after the word "move."

Judge said, "You honestly think that in the next jobs report, if if um, you know, alleves some of the fears about inflation, that stocks aren't gonna go up. You think they're gonna go down on that?"

"If you gave me the number Judge, no clue," Tony said.

"You just said-" Judge insisted.

"Here's what I know: Again, again, I think that you can peak out the long rates here ... " Tony said.

Weiss jumped in on Judge's side and haggled with Dwyer over which time Weiss said there's a better chance of Dwyer growing hair.

Joe Terranova said shorting volatility has to be a "critical component" of retesting the lows. Tony said, "We're doin' a lot of what-ifs here."

Tony Dwyer likens Fed
concerns to gunfire

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Erin Browne insisted they all agree (uh oh, that's always trouble on this show) that the correction was technical and asked guest Tony "shock drop" Dwyer who the "incremental seller" is now.

Dwyer said he disagrees that early February wasn't a fundamental move, suggesting it was based on "volatility of Fed policy" (snicker).

Tony even suggested the volatility ETNs were the "gun" and that "the actual shooter, the way that it fired, was off of fear of Fed and higher interest rates."

OK ...

Joe Terranova noted that tech is leading the recovery, and if Tony's correct, wouldn't value stocks be more in favor. Tony said "typically" when people get hit, they're going to buy what they already like.

Steve Weiss actually said "it definitely was a fundamental move" but "exacerbated" by volatility and algo trading. Weiss insisted to Judge it was "fundamental" rather than "fear of fundamental change."

Judge said it was "one number." Weiss said "big deal."

Rich Saperstein asked Dwyer how the market would get below a 16 multiple with robust earnings. Tony mentioned "some of the volatility products" (#2018bogeymanalert) playing the "Monetary Policy Uncertainty Index."

Weiss actually claimed there's an immigration policy "that wants to keep the low-cost labor out" and predicted hotels having to pay more than minimum wage.

Erin Browne said the Move Index was a forward indicator ahead of the meltdown.

Saperstein said this is a "whole new phase" of the bull market. (Translation: Tony's historical patterns probably don't amount to a hill of beans.)

Judge at one point told Dwyer, "The market's biggest fear right now is inflation. Could we- we can agree on that, right?"

"Correct," Dwyer said.

Honestly, Tony always seems like a good bloke, and we felt for him this time. Some days, after a rough patch, you're just thinkin', Man, what was I thinkin'.

Judge accused of ‘attack’
on Atlanta Fed GDP data

Kevin Hassett on Wednesday's Halftime told CNBC's Eamon Javers we're not in a "new normal" era of low growth but "normal" growth again.

Hassett seemed like a good bloke, and we were wondering how this fellow found his way into the Trump administration, given that many A-listers haven't exactly been applying.

Maybe we got our answer when Hassett got oddly chippy over Judge's questions about the reliability of Atlanta Fed GDP forecasts, telling Judge, "I don't agree that you should attack the Atlanta Fed GDP Now number quite so aggressively because it is something that's been proven over time over many many years of econometric study to be about as good a real-time read of Q1 as you can get."

"I certainly wouldn't use the word, um, 'attack,' and that's not in any way-" Judge started to say.

"Well that's what it sounded like to me," Hassett said, albeit rather breezily.

"Who doesn't hope that, that GDP in the first quarter is, is above 5%," Judge said. (Well, actually, probably a bunch of bondholders, to be honest.)

Judge read Hassett some excerpts from Paul Krugman's column in which Krugman, mostly referring to Trump's own apparent goal, referred to infrastructure spending as "investment."

Infrastructure is basically never an "investment." Infrastructure is like a car. You buy it, you pay to fix it, and when it wears out, you pay more for a new one. You don't pay $30,000 for a car and expect your boss to start paying you $31,000 more.

Hassett said with a straight face, "Absolutely we're keeping a very close eye on government debt, and on deficits."

Something about Doug McMillon’s role to ‘put his arms around him and act as his bodyguard’

Addressing tech stocks, Cathie Wood on Wednesday's Halftime said, "We are in the sweet spot of some S curves here" in the tech space. Wood said AMZN made less than $3 billion in advertising last year and is aiming for GOOGL's $73 billion and FB's $40 billion and is "effectively becoming another search engine."

Those numbers alone were interesting and worth the price of this interview.

Judge asked Wood about some more obscure picks; Wood touted names involving genetic work including ILMN and EDIT and CRSP.

Anthony Grisanti said he'll go from selling crude rallies to buying dips as gasoline demand picks up. Jim Iuorio said 65 is his upside crude target. Jackie DeAngelis looked dynamite in black.

Pete Najarian showed up at the very end of the show and said April 80 C calls were getting bought.

Courtney Reagan reported that Marc Lore says he's absolutely not leaving WMT.

Pete's final trade was MNST. Rich Saperstein said MAS. Erin Browne said XLY. Steve Weiss said biotech. Joe said MA.

[Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018]

Important CNBC birthday
occurring Sunday

This Sunday, a popular — can we say "foxy"? — CNBCer is going to be blowing out candles.

Unfortunately, because of Olympics coverage pre-empting the 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin, we're not expecting to see any celebration. Those of you with the means and access to provide a gift and cheer, you know what to do, with all the appropriate courtesies.

(One thing we gotta wonder ... why won't she upgrade her Twitter profile picture to something besides that 5-year-old book publicity shot?)

Researching previous year's coverage of this event, we noticed that Tim Seymour on the Feb. 22, 2017, edition of Fast Money declared, "We haven't been this overbought since 2010."

Josh Brown says he thinks we’re going to have a 10% correction but doesn’t tell viewers to unload stocks

Fireworks — or maybe it was little more than firecrackers — briefly flickered on Tuesday's Halftime when Jim Lebenthal suggested, "I don't think you're gonna get another 10% correction. No."

"How could you possibly say that. What planet are we on," asked Josh Brown. "We could have a 10% correction for absolutely no reason."

"I didn't say you could not have one. I said, I don't think we're going to have one," Jim said, as things briefly got testy.

"Oh. OK," Brown said. "I think we are," in that semi-obnoxious way that drives some folks batty.

This all occurred after Judge told Jim earlier in the program that (Grandpa) Mike Wilson sees 3,000 on the S&P but then thinks there could be "at least 1 if not several 10% corrections after that."

Jim said, "I think we're talkin' about timing here. ... I think we've got one last glorious leg up in this bull market ... I think it's gonna take longer than a year for this bull market to run its course."

Al Sharpton once said that George Bush’s tax cut was like Jim Jones’ Kool-aid

One of the star guests of Tuesday's Halftime, Andrew Sheets of Morgan Stanley, explained he thinks the best time for big returns in 2018 is going to be the first quarter, and then afterwards, "we're gonna face an environment of rising inflation" and a "normalization in mean reversion."

Sheets said Mike Wilson's assessment of the latter part of the year being pockmarked with 10% corrections "makes a lot of sense" (snicker).

Sheets said he's more on the "skeptical side" of an elongated boost from the tax cut that isn't already priced in.

Judge questioned if the stock market "overreacted" to that Friday wage number and then the correction "was just accentuated by some other factors, some of these volatility products, et cetera."

Sheets didn't exactly answer but said the challenge is, "We all know markets love to extrapolate."

Then Judge spoke via phone with Richard Turnill, who thinks U.S. stocks are promising. Judge declared, "There's a great debate" on the market.

Turnill said there's been a "spectacularly strong earnings season in the U.S." He said the expected 20% earnings growth this season will offset the cap on multiples from interest rates. Turnill said one of the risks would be a "significant spike in the dollar," but that hasn't happened.

Kevin O'Leary said, "If you buy into Richard's story, you wanna go Russell 2000."

But Joe Terranova asked, "Why are small caps underperforming?" O'Leary insisted "that elastic band is winding up and getting ready to spring."

Stephanie Link said U.S. multinationals are talking about global upside. O'Leary stressed the "super charge, turbo charge" for domestic U.S. companies from the tax cut.

Josh Brown, who's got his own birthday later this week and thus should've been all smiles, said he's with Link because George Bush passed a bigger tax in 2003, "and for the next 4 years, international stocks did way better than U.S. stocks."

O'Leary said "it wasn't the same," there wasn't the accelerated expensing element.

"There's always a caveat, fine," Brown said.

Jim Lebenthal said Andrew Sheets "laid out an extrapolation argument there that March, April, May are gonna get worse. And I- I- there's no evidence of that."

Jim said there are a lot of questions as to whether there's "noise" in the wage report. Judge said "there wasn't any noise. It was one number."

Joe actually claims that Judge’s question about ‘the market’ might’ve been referring to the Nasdaq only

Joe Terranova said at the top of Tuesday's Halftime Report that the "right strategy is to be diversified." (Actually, we think the right strategy is to buy something that's going up, but what do we know.)

Stephanie Link said she's actually been adding European stocks because valuations are lower.

Kevin O'Leary contended throughout the show, "The Russell 2000 is underowned."

O'Leary said to "forget the REITs" in the Russell 2000 because they're not affected by the tax overhaul. He said many companies that will be positively affected don't know it yet. "So it's a stock-picker's market in the Russell," O'Leary said.

"You might be right," Stephanie said 3 times while insisting there are big breaks ahead for big companies. "I don't think it has to be one or the other," Link said.

Judge asked Josh Brown if he's more cautious now on the market. That prompted Joe to cut in and ask, "Which market by the way."

"The U.S. market," Judge said, before scoffing, "The Philippines market."

Joe protested that it was really a reasonable question: "Nasdaq? Which part of the market?"

Judge actually used the occasion to tout his "Shark Tank"-watching credentials, demonstrating to O'Leary that he knows the panelists' names. (How anyone is not sick to death of that program, we have no clue.)

Judge said he doesn't get the "vibe" of positivity from Brown right now and that he senses "doubt about the true worth of this tax plan on the stock market, on corporate earnings."

Brown said "there's no room for any doubt," the market loves the tax overhaul. Rather, the "open question" is whether it will have the impact on parts of the economy that the architects say it would.

Brown indicated he's always got to be cautious for his clients. "This year we're even more overweight international," Brown explained.

Joe said, "I'm concerned about the market because the VIX is still at 20."

Jim Lebenthal said, "Nobody is buying the VIX here, come on."

"You can't buy the VIX," Brown agreed.

Kevin O'Leary insisted, "Everybody hates that thing. You can make money on it if you own it at the right time. ... It's a tool."

Jim said those products are for "literally" 10 minutes.

It took Judge 26 minutes to finally cut to commercial; he made up for it in the latter half-hour.

Stephanie rightly frustrated by being cut off multiple times while trying to make a simple point

Joe Terranova caught some flak on Tuesday's Halftime for revealing he sold some of his WMT stake.

Josh Brown said he'd buy the stock. Joe insisted he's still long; "I sold some of it today from a risk-management standpoint."

Joe cited online growth, but Brown cited tax-related disappointment and "higher capex," which is "exactly what they should be doing."

Stephanie Link said she'd buy WMT at 85 because it's an investment year for that company. Jim Lebenthal was nearly baited by Judge into a SHLD conversation before insisting "you don't have enough information to get long retail right now."

Stephanie Link kept trying to make the point that margins don't look so great. Jim kept interrupting her to question why they are arguing, but they weren't arguing; they just weren't letting Stephanie finish her point.

Joe’s call of Patrick Doyle as secret CMG CEO hire was a bust

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime noted Andrew Left trashed UBNT a while back. Josh Brown said the subpoenas are seeking information on an "endless list" of subjects.

Jim Lebenthal said he likes QCOM in part because he wants it to acquire NXPI.

Joe Terranova said he likes the ag space, including MOS and BG.

Joe said he got out of DPZ at 180 but hailed the company's international and digital prospects.

Stephanie Link said Albertson's should be able to turn around RAD "in a big, big way," so that makes her nervous about CVS and WBA.

Jim Iuorio said if bitcoin can settle over $12,000, then "14,000's the next step." Scott Nations wondered why bitcoin is getting a boost because a government wants to help it when it's supposedly "beyond the reach" of governments.

Joe's final trade was CME. Stephanie said EL. Josh said "still avoiding SNAP." Jim said ROKU. Kevin O'Leary said STE.

[Friday, Feb. 16, 2018]

If you are 70 and you like stocks, go for it

Guest-hosting for Judge on Friday, Brian Sullivan inadvertently happened to ask one of the greatest questions in show history that Judge has somehow never asked.

Sully asked, "Should a 70-year-old retiree be 100% equities right now?"

The group of Grandpas said no. Steve Weiss was even heard to say "probably no equities."

Now that's interesting. Because why is anyone in stocks in the first place, as opposed to bank CDs or Treasury bonds ... so they can make more money.

Is there something about being 70 years old that negates that sentiment?

Does AAPL stock care if its holder is 70 or 25?

If the value of something is going up, shouldn't everyone — regardless of age — be long?

And wouldn't 70-year-olds be much more capable of riding out corrections than someone who's 25? Presumably a 70-year-old is getting Social Security and already has the home paid off and the college tuition paid.

But there's more. What exactly does it mean to be "100% equities"?

Is that even humanly possible? How can a person's entire net worth consist of stock? No checking account? No spare change? How would such a person go to McDonald's? Tell the cashier you have to sell a share of GE first? (And minus commission, perhaps have enough for Value Meal No. 5?)

What exactly were they saying on Feb. 9?

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime invoked some recent history.

Brown said, "On the show last Friday, viewers that were watching will remember" a conversation about internals, and Brown indicated that he said at that kind of "washout" moment, "It's probably the worst time to be making a sale."

So we checked out the Feb. 9 tape. Brown did give a bit of a speech before saying, "If you didn't sell last week, you might be a little bit late to sell."

So we'll give him credit, although it would've been more impressive had he been more effusive.

The S&P happened to experience a bit of a free fall during that show; it was around 2,560 when the show began but we think in fact the 2,532.69 low occurred during the latter half of the program (though we can't verify that at the moment).

Rob Sechan that day said the correction has gone from "overdue" to "overdone" and said to consider "legging in" to the market. But he warned that dip buyers are "completely, completely scared." (They got a lot more unscared in the last 5 days.)

Jim Lebenthal started off that show predicting "we bounce along the bottom here for the next couple of weeks." He said he was nibbling at GBX, but, "Folks I'm not saying this is the bottom; that's not what I'm saying." Oh well.

Pete Najarian had the biggest clunker of a call, of course based on options activity which, given this example, has to be regarded as a lagging indicator for those who didn't realize that already. (Yes, we know, except for all those insiders buying calls after obtaining secret info.) "You're not seeing the derivatives markets telling you right now at least that this is the bottom just yet," Pete said, adding that people who had been profiting from put buying "continue to wanna see that. ... I don't think you wanna just jump in. ... I don't think we've hit the bottom just yet." (Well, he was right; it took another 45 minutes or so.)

Honestly, we can't fathom why these guys are so Grandpa-cautious in this market that's so obviously a good market in the midst of historically great economic data and far more regulated leverage than when Jimmy Cayne and Chuck Prince were in charge; yes, when Lehman Brothers fails and Congress seems maybe inclined to let other banks fail, you probably don't wanna buy stocks ... for all other instances, when you've got a robust economy with very low inflation and a president who's a lot stronger than he appears (let us know who has declared for 2020) and along with the Fed measures success by the S&P 500, you should probably be viewing any pullback as a gift. So the Halftime Report dudes didn't want to risk calling the bottom 3 days early ... gee whiz, the horror ... if you happened to buy only after the first 1,000-point Dow drop and didn't wait to the 2nd, does it honestly really matter?

Bozos of the Year thus far: Knuckleheads who sold afternoon of Feb. 8 or morning of Feb. 9

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime told Sully "nothing's changed" over the last week even though stocks are on an upside rampage.

"Nothing fell this week," Brown noted, pointing to stocks and gold and bitcoin.

"The candle on a, on a weekly chart looks phenomenal," Brown said.

Meanwhile, Joe Terranova said there's a "tremendous amount of surprise" in the market. (Translation: Nobody can adequately predict the intense volatility of February, so don't blame anyone here for waffling about calling the bottom.)

"We've never seen in history the short duration type of recovery that we're witnessing," Joe said.

"The average correction took 64 trading days," guest host Sully said. "This one took 9."

"Something internally in the market went screwy," Sully concluded.

Joe offered that "it was the short-volatility strategy." (Which Nancy Davis assures us is still prevalent, but Joe didn't say that.)

"Bingo," Sully said.

But Josh Brown begged to differ. "Something didn't go screwy," Brown said, "Long before there were machines ... we had market corrections," Brown said. "They're called stocks, 'cause this is what they do."

Steve Weiss said he knows some quant traders. "They were on the wrong side, they had to hurry up to get to the right side," Weiss said.

Pete Najarian predicted the VIX would get pushed even lower Friday afternoon as traders map out weekend plans.

Kevin O’Leary wants to invest in 10-year Treasurys at 3.70%

Joe Terranova on Friday's Halftime observed, "The velocity of the move in the 10-year has obviously slowed down quite significantly, and that has had a beneficial impact" on stocks.

Kevin O'Leary said if the 10-year yield were to get to 3.70% on its way to 4, he'd actually "allocate some of my portfolio into the 10-year, which I haven't done in a very long time" (Zzzzzzzzzzz). But then it drifted back to 2.8%.

Mike Santoli, still clinging to that quaint notion of the correction not being over, told Sully, "We're still in a zone in terms of the S&P 500 levels where folks think it would be a logical place for it to take a breather or to settle back a little bit."

"I think more fundamentally, it's the valuation ceiling," Santoli said (Zzzzzzzzzzz).

Joe Terranova said it's "obvious" that buybacks "are being implemented in the marketplace."

Josh Brown calls Sully’s conclusion from Sully’s skiing analogy ‘backwards’

Joe Terranova on Friday's Halftime curiously asserted that if you surveyed 100 professional traders, "over 90% of those people" would say the next 3% in the stock market is down rather than up.

It's possible. But ... Joe also noted how many people predicted a retest of the Friday bottom.

Joe pointed out, "People should not have sold last Friday." But he insisted the "suspicion" of a retest lingers on trading desks.

Pete Najarian said there's been a "complete turn" in sentiment in the options market and warned against using levered ETFs. (Just check out what the sentiment was Feb. 9 according to Pete on the Halftime Report.) Pete said guys a few weeks ago who bought VIX 35 calls started selling those when the VIX hit 33 and started buying 20 puts instead. Congrats. Where do we get a time machine?

Steve Weiss said the "gift" of investors such as Tepper and Cohen "is that they get through all the noise."

Sully made an analogy to skiing more carefully after someone in the group breaks a leg, which is sort of a decent analogy that indirectly suggests traders wrongly overweight certain events based on how recent they are. Josh Brown said, "You raise an interesting point, but, um, your conclusion is backwards." Brown said he wants people to realize 2017 was "bananas" and not a normal year.

CNBC's Bertha Coombs said the rising tide hasn't lifted EXPE while TRIP is up, and that SNAP and TWTR are crushing FB this month. Bertha said "Trading Places" is one of her favorite movies.

Weiss said those contrasting stock moves show the market is "rational."

Joe seems to have one-upped Doc; AAPL performing better than JPM since Tuesday debate over which stock will lead us out of the correction

Guest host Brian Sullivan on Friday's Halftime brought in Kevin O'Leary to trumpet O'Leary's WEN position.

Sully noted, "Wendy's a little skimpy on the dividend, no?" O'Leary said, "Best practices really matter," and he said he likes those with "operational excellence."

Josh Brown said SHAK had a "lousy" forecast. He conceded 2018 doesn't look like the "breakout year" for the company, but he said it's holding a key support level, around 38 or 39.

Joe Terranova said "the worst has passed" for SJM, which a couple years ago he mentioned every other show. Joe said he loves WEN "because I think it's a great cash story," while SJM's cash story needs to be better.

Kevin O'Leary said "the whacking stick has to come out" for KHC board and/or management. Josh Brown said O'Leary is spot-on and that even though the 3G contingent can cut costs, it doesn't matter if people don't want to buy the product.

Pete Najarian said KO is "doing things right."

Steve Weiss likened CPB to IBM. Josh Brown said, "Another awful chart" and questioned if CPB sells products that today's consumer actually wants.

Pete Najarian noted buying in March 42 and May 43 FEZ calls and June 54 calls in FXI, and June 43 calls in GM.

Joe's final trade was ABBV, hanging a 125 on the name. Josh Brown said TWTR, which he said is "under major accumulation." Weiss said GVA again and also mentioned steel stocks. Kevin O'Leary said BTI. Pete said MT and talked too long for Sully's limited closing time.

[Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018]

For a stock-picking environment, sure doesn’t seem too hard to pick the ones going up

Probably without realizing it, Steve Weiss said something quite fascinating on Thursday's Halftime Report.

They were talking about biotech/pharma when Weiss asserted that "the trade yesterday" was NKTR.

"I caught about half the move because I just happened to be in the office," Weiss explained.

See, that's kinda interesting ... because a lot of professionals would have you believe that it takes scores of hours — 50 to 60 a week — to outperform other folks at stock-picking.

What Weiss said makes it sound like picking winning stocks is little more than watching the tape at the right time.

Sticking to his theme-of-the-week-that-will-quickly-be-discarded, Weiss — on a 300-point-forward Dow day — insisted, "It's a time to pick stocks. Everything's not going higher."

‘A derivatives-tactical marketplace’

Offering seemingly contradictory statements in the span of 2 sentences, Steve Weiss on Thursday's Halftime told Judge, "I think we'll go back and test. But I think the worst is over."

So we'll test the lows ... but the worst is over.

Weiss said he initiated a position in BG and "bought back Delta." And he added to BABA and AAPL.

Judge asked why the V won't be a W, and he wasn't referring to Visa and Wayfair. Pete Najarian said it won't "necessarily" be different, but, "The pressure's on is where we're testing some of these highs, Scott, that 270 level up on the S&Ps and all that (sic grammar throughout)."

"You're up 1,750 Dow points since Friday, which is insane. Um, the whole thing is insane," said Josh Brown. Brown stuck to the wouldn't-be-so-bad-to-retest-the-low-on-light-volume thing again and reiterated how it'd be "way worse" to fail at the high again. (Yep, that'd be the worst thing we can think of, the S&P shooting up another 140 points.)

Grasping for slogans the last couple weeks, Joe Terranova uncorked a new one, stating, "This remains a derivatives-tactical marketplace. Even with the market moving higher."

Joe did seem to get a lot of agreement when he said, "I think there's a lot of surprise that we have made this V rebound."

"Well it's a trader market but it's also an investors market," said Pete Najarian. Pete trumpeted calling VMW a buy recently (we think that's more of a time machine trade than a current recommendation) and suggested BAC.

Joe asked his favorite question of late, if Powell is afraid of inflation or deflation.

Josh Brown correctly said of Powell, "You know he's a hawk, but he works for someone who is not going to want him to be a hawk." Brown added in a windup that was way too long for the simple point that could be made, "Rate fears, um, have a self-curing mechanism because the modern Fed is obsessed with the S&P 500."

Pete hailed Jeffrey Gundlach for flagging 2.91% as some kind of important level.

Borderline-Grandpa Steve Weiss continued to suggest caution. "I don't have the exposure that I had in the market a month ago. Nowhere near," Weiss said. "Because I'm concerned because I think we're top (sic grammar)."

Now that we’re apparently surviving the bursting of the passive-investing bubble, won’t be long before we’re concerned about ‘too much euphoria’

We're not sure where the scientific support for this comment comes from, but Mike Santoli on Thursday's Halftime said the S&P 500 is "at a very obvious level maybe where it should stall out and settle back down a little bit."

Hmmm. Sounds like a sell call.

Steve Weiss said you have to get rid of "the junk" or "rising tide" stocks from your portfolio. (Is there ever a good time to own "junk"?)

Judge asked "who's to think" that the rising tide market won't continue. Weiss claimed "we're reversing that trend" of the synchronized global growth being "embedded" in synchronized global easing. (Translation: My academic theory for this market doesn't seem to be matching the daily S&P 500 moves, but I'm not giving up.)

Joe Terranova said, "I think it's a great time to just have a plan," and then again, when is it not; because, Joe continued, a common mistake after a volatility spike and range expansion is that "you tend to focus on the S&P, and you almost become an indexer yourself," which invokes Gary Kaminsky's classic "Closet Indexer" gripe.

Joe said he's added NOC, FANG, ABBV and AAPL. He said he'll probably sell some calls ahead of Powell's remarks.

Pete Najarian said you get extra juice from options with the VIX around 30. (That's another time machine trade.)

Moments later, Chris Whalen credited "Rick Santelli" for saying "We're still in a very strange environment" even though Santelli wasn't on the program.

Wonder if anyone asked any great questions during commercial breaks that viewers never heard

Chris Whalen on Thursday's Halftime Report wasn't quite as negative on the big banks as Dick Bove typically is, but ...

Judge asked Whalen if he owns big banks. "No I own fintech," Whalen said, mentioning SQ, PYPL, NRZ. (This writer is long PYPL.)

"Well what kind of statement is that," Judge asked, when a bank expert says he doesn't own any of the big banks. "That's not the sweet spot for me," Whalen explained, saying the "best returns" are "the supercommunity banks."

(There must be something about analyzing this sector that really turns people off about it.)

Whalen said "the bottom was 2015 for credit" and said credit is in the mature part of the cycle.

Whalen said he heard someone talking about selling options against bank positions, and he thinks that's "absolutely right." But Josh Brown questioned spending bank dividends "on option premium." Whalen started to answer but the two got tangled up over the timeline of when the Fed may "step back."

Pete Najarian asked Whalen if GS doesn't have potential from a trading comeback. Whalen said that's "absolutely right" because bankers have been "killing volatility" for 5 years.

Steve Weiss said "I disagree completely" with Whalen on the big banks, that with NIMs increasing and spreads widening, "that's when you wanna own these."

Joe Terranova said Whalen is discounting the bursting passive-investing bubble CCAR-regulation story "way too much."

UAA ‘certainly’ could go higher and ‘certainly’ could go lower

Judge came back from the commercial break at the 26-minute mark on Thursday's Halftime all achuckle and mentioned Sam Poser's advice to fade the UAA rally.

Poser, from the NYSE, said "the numbers were good," but "the inventory levels were through the roof, which is telling me that they're not adequately addressing their problems."

Judge asked if Poser doesn't think 11 is the bottom for UAA. Poser said "there's a lot of very hopeful people. ... I just think there's a lot of hope here."

"I agree with you completely," Weiss told Poser, asking what price it should trade at and noting Poser's 11 target. Poser said it "certainly" could go higher than it is now and "certainly" could go lower than 11. Judge made a joke that we couldn't hear, but it cracked up Pete Najarian.

Judge asked Poser why he's neutral on NKE. Poser said it has a "law of large numbers" issue with the U.S. (That's a new one for that stock; usually it's an "adidas" issue, and then everyone has to pronounce "adidas" in his/her own way.)

Josh Brown said it's "too late" to short UAA, and after its island reversal, there "could be a similar scenario" to what recently happened in TWTR.

Cabbage Patch Kids fetching 5 digits again

Steve Weiss on Thursday's Halftime said he bought CMG on Wednesday for "a brief period."

Josh Brown questioned the market's "celebration" of this stock just because of a CEO hire, then, as if he was contractually obligated to make this declaration, said Weiss should get "credit" for adjusting his opinion on the stock.

The whole CMG discussion was preempted by an out-of-control Laffalympics. Weiss eventually said the new CEO will "think of some other things new to do here." Weiss said "it'll work, but it's gonna work for the lower level at this point," whatever that means.

Pete Najarian said BMY of big pharma names "gets that extra torque" from trading like a biotech. Pete's not in it; he's in GILD and CELG.

Joe Terranova trumpeted ABBV, stating the growth is "phenomenal."

Pete said someone bought a bunch of 5.50 P calls that expire a week from Friday. Pete said he took off half his MT calls.

Anthony Grisanti said 6,000 was key support for bitcoin, but "the lack of regulation" gave crypto a boost. "Certainly the trend looks higher at this point," Grisanti said. Brian Stutland said South Korea appears to be "easing back off" and that bitcoin seems to be tracking the dollar, but now you can "maybe play it to the upside."

Josh Brown said SHAK has a "good setup" after bouncing at 40. Brown said the DE run isn't over yet. Joe touted MAR.

Pete's final trade was KO. Weiss said GVA. Josh said CSCO. (This writer is long CSCO.) Joe said TWLO. Judge's birthday went unmentioned. We celebrated it with a Grand Slam (above) while the chef played "Superfreak" (that's correct) on his radio over the house music.

[Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018]

Happy birthday, Judge

Let's have a little party.

Thursday is Judge's birthday, and — thanks to ample advance notice from this page — we're expecting a party atmosphere on the Halftime Report, assuming Judge doesn't take the day off, but even if he does, Sully should lead the cheers.

Around here, we might have a cold one. (Always drink responsibly.) C'mon, be happy.

Paul Richards: Stocks ‘really vulnerable,’ could plunge 3% in 2 weeks if 10-year yield hits 3%

Last March, Paul Richards masterfully called the coast clear for the American stock market (pending the French election, which was no trouble) for 2017.

On Wednesday's Halftime, Richards wasn't quite so sanguine.

Richards said he's "praying" that the 10-year yield doesn't get to 3%, "but I think there's a 50% chance of that happening in the next 2 weeks, which is why I think that stocks could see another 2-3% downside before we hear from Jerome Powell. ... I think stocks are really vulnerable."

Richards assured, "When everybody can just regroup and realize there's gonna be 3 dots this year, everybody's gonna be fine. However, I do think the market's gonna get a lot more wobbles in the meantime."

Judge asked Richards, "Does Powell have the market's back?"

"I think so, but it's too soon to know," Richards said. "I think he's gonna be absolutely fine."

Jim: ‘We’ve got another glorious leg up in this bull market’

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he expects "another dip sometime in the next 2 weeks," otherwise, "this would be an awfully short correction." (Ah, we forgot, we're back to a "normal" market now and vol is here to stay.)

Jim said the market seems to have finally stopped fearing the next financial crisis, which tells him "we've got another glorious leg up in this bull market, but when the real downturn hits, people are gonna be complacent. Good luck."

OK ... "Good luck" enjoying the next glorious leg up, or "Good luck" with the "real downturn" that apparently is many months away at the earliest? By the way, if a "real downturn" occurs at all, doesn't that by definition mean people lose? So isn't Jim by definition wishing people luck in a game they've already lost?

Jon Najarian announced that "absolutely," the market overreacted to the CPI number on Wednesday morning.

It was 1 minute into the show that Doc mentioned Nancy Davis and how the market Wednesday "slammed volatility." Oh my. Honestly, we were practically ready to throw in the towel when Judge put us through that Sátántangó-esque chat (in both duration and pain) about volatility sentiment with Nancy Davis the other day ... but it's his birthday. We forgive.

Erin Browne spoke of inflation "break-evens."

Steve Liesman said fears of "current inflation" are "misplaced." The "real story" to him is the "uncertainty."

Jim insisted the market multiple's "already adjusted" to the new inflation scene. Jim noted that oil has come off its highs and claimed it will "offset" some of the inflation.

Steve Liesman said there are "probably 3" rate hikes this year.

Doc said Keefe Bruyette a day ago was pricing in 1 rate hike. Judge asked if that forecast came from the Atlanta Fed.

Erin Browne said if the growth is there, it doesn't matter if it's 3 or 4 hikes. Paul Richards said he disagrees about the 4, because of the plans of Japan and Europe central banks; "You throw a 4th hike in ... that's a lot for the market psychology."

Judge asked the group if buyers will still come in if the 10-year yield spikes again, even adding his own opinion: "I doubt they do."

Jim Lebenthal insisted there are a lot of high-quality names selling at "meaningful discounts," mentioning CSCO. (This writer is long CSCO.)

Doc pointed out Europe recovered from the morning's hit, and he noted the S&P was up 10 (if only he knew what it'd be doing about 90 minutes later). (This review was posted overnight Wednesday/Thursday.)

Erin Browne told Judge, "I think that we bottomed on Friday," but "it takes some time after these vol shocks for volatility to subside." Pete Najarian though said it doesn't take as much time as it used to.

Jim says CMG needs to change its name, could say the same about SHLD but doesn’t, asserts Chipotle has ‘negative brand value’ when it doesn’t

Apparently sensing victory on Wednesday's Halftime, Judge re-aired the clip of his debate with Steve Weiss on Feb. 1 about Bill Ackman's CEO-picking skills; that's the one where Judge suggested Bill will get the right guy, then said it's not just Bill making the picks, then said it's Bill's pick, then said it's not just Bill making the pick.

Though he wasn't on the show Wednesday, Weiss messaged Judge that the new CMG CEO is "a great selection." He suggested momentum will carry the stock though it may take a couple years to justify the valuation.

Jon Najarian called the hire "very bullish for CMG." Judge said Cramer calls it a "staggering" (snicker) choice.

Jim Lebenthal insisted CMG is a "fast-food restaurant." Then, in the most provocative comment of the day, Jim stated, "They need to change the name."

"They're not gonna change the name," Judge scoffed. "Why do they need to change the name?"

"Because it's always gonna be associated with e. coli," Jim asserted.

Judge said Taco Bell had an issue as to whether it was actually putting meat in tacos or something else, and Taco Bell didn't change its name.

"This has negative brand value," Jim insisted. Pete Najarian said he sees Jim's point, but he doesn't think they have to change the name; "They just have to change what the perception is out there in the rest of the world." (Sounds like it'd be easier to just change the name.) (But actually, they don't need to change the name.)

Doc said "look at the margins," comparing Chipotle's burrito prices with Taco Bell's. Doc said Brian Niccol is an "inspired pick."

Erin Browne said Niccol was "instrumental" in the digitalization of Taco Bell, which CMG is "not taking advantage of."

Jim actually claims SHLD is a ‘gorilla’ in the retail sector

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime said the TGT outperform by Baird is the Call of the Day, a distinction that surely hit home with Pete Najarian.

Pete retrumpeted his chats with Brian Cornell and stressed again how WMT is far more linked to groceries than TGT is. Pete said "there's plenty of room to the upside" in TGT despite the big recent gains.

Jim Lebenthal actually claimed that short-term, there's a problem for TGT, because there's a SHLD bond due in October (yes, he actually mentioned this) that's trading at 75 cents on the dollar.

"The financial markets are telling you something very very ugly about Sears. And when that happens ... there's gonna be a liquidation of inventory that's gonna hurt profit margins over the next couple of quarters," Jim claimed.

Judge said, "Why we worried about Sears; we're talkin' about Target."

Jim said, "Because it's in the same industry and it's a gorilla and it's gonna hurt profit margins. I just explained it to you."

"Target shares are gonna go down if Sears liquidates?" Judge asked, incredulously.

Pete Najarian said he disagrees with Jim, stating SHLD is in its "own little category."

Jim endorsed TGT and DKS but said he would stay away "for the next couple of months" for the Sears reason (snicker).

Feelin' it on birthday eve, Judge rightly scoffed at this analysis, stating it's like debating who will win the Super Bowl and deciding, "The Giants suck."

Seema Mody, curling

Jeff Kilburg on Wednesday's Halftime Report said we're at the "higher end" of gold's range. Scott Nations said of gold, "It is a store of value against inflation."

Pete Najarian said there's been "absolutely spectacular" call-buying in GLD. Jon Najarian said he likes the miners and said to watch the "big surge" into miner trades Wednesday.

Doc said March 102 calls in WMT were getting bought. Pete said March 36.50 MT calls expiring March 2 were popular.

Judge and Pete tried to claim FB is a "battleground stock" now. Mark Cuban says youngsters just don't use it anymore even though they've got an account because they've got an account. (This writer is long FB.)

Pete said he agrees with Goldman Sachs' CAR downgrade and HTZ price cut. Pete suggested KMX in the car space.

Doc said you could buy BIDU at 208 a week ago. For all those needing trades that require a time machine.

Jim Lebenthal said FOSL was experiencing "the mother of all short squeezes." Doc said calls were being bought aggressively.

Erin Browne said she likes the brokers and said IAI is one way to do it.

Doc said he likes MAR in the hotel space.

Jim said of CSCO, "Barring a mess-up, which I don't see happening, uh, the stock should rally." Pete said he loves the stock too though he's not in it. (This writer is long CSCO.)

Erin Browne blessed tech. Pete said he loves AMAT and owns calls.

Jim called MRO a "good name in the space" but suggested everything's based on the price of crude.

Jim's final trade was GOOGL. (This writer is long GOOGL.) Erin said XHB. Doc said CREE. Pete said KKR.

[Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018]

How is AAPL going to lead the market if it’s making a product that is (as Psychic Tax Prof and Jana-CALSTRS say) harmful to children?

Joe was trying to remake a point, and Doc was having none of it. (And frankly, it was a chicken-and-egg point that makes the head spin.)

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report opined, "Apple was declining into the market decline. I believe that Apple will rally if the market is going to rally, ahead of the market. So it's gonna lead us out."

Jon Najarian, though, contended, "I think it's more about JPMorgan than about Apple, as far as the direction of the market and so forth."

Doc predicted the stock "consolidates" in the 165-175 range, "and basically it might be there for 6 months." Joe said he respectfully disagrees on the importance of the name, saying AAPL is "such a bellwether" and that in the last couple of days, "the market lifted as the market was witnessing Apple coming off the bottom. So look, if, if Apple's trading not 162 but 152, I don't think the S&P is sitting where it is right now making the correction."

Doc said, "The 8's are moving like crazy," but the X, "not so much."

Stephanie Link said of AAPL, "I think the stock has gone from loved to hated, and I think there's a real value story here."

Josh Brown noted AAPL is back to August 2017 levels and that at its recent bottom, it was down 16% from its peak, so those who were waiting for a pullback, what else are they waiting for.

Joe said he bought AAPL "on the decline" and if it trades 165-175, "That's great. That's great."

How would a 200-point surge in the S&P 500 be ‘the worst thing that can happen’?

A day earlier, we started to get all excited (snicker) about the notion of a market bottom being a "process" and not a "point in time" or "particular price level."

We also got all jazzed about the notion of this being an "equity" correction and not a "portfolio" correction.

The latter was revisited on Tuesday's Halftime when Joe Terranova stated, "I don't know if I can make this point quickly. I talked yesterday about equity and portfolio correction. And there is distinctly a big difference. And this is purely an equity correction. And that's what you have to focus on."

Actually, we thought from everything else Joe was saying, it's merely an "Apple correction." (We're also awaiting word on the bursting passive-investing bubble.)

Joe said 2,650 is "not that big of a bounce" from the Friday low, which Joe thinks means the equity market, of all asset classes, "looks the most vulnerable."

Judge sounded skeptical, stating, "I mean it was a pretty big bounce in 2 days- only 2 sessions."

Joe insisted, "There's a long way to go, another 200 handles in the S&P, to retest those highs."

Jon Najarian lukewarmly stated, "Like I said yesterday Judge, it felt like we could test again — at some point — perhaps not this week, perhaps not for weeks into the future. Could test again down to that level. Wouldn't be a shocker. But. Record tax revenues. When they announce things like that, that we're seeing record tax revenues collected, that's a positive as well."

Josh Brown said, "I think, I think the rational person is rooting for a light-volume retest of that low. With much less drama accompanying it." Brown added, "The worst thing that can happen is, we go retest the high and fail."

"I agree with that," Joe said.

Doc said there were some "pretty big trades" in the QQQ, specifically the March 164 calls, which looked like a "pretty smart trade" from Tuesday morning's lows.

Brown said, "Every single one of these episodes has been a V. And this is no different so far."

Stephanie Link quibbled with Josh Brown that elite names haven't pulled back enough to give savvy buyers a gift.

Judge asked Mark Cuban if Friday was the bottom. "I don't know. I can make an argument both ways," Mark said.

If the president is so bad, how come no one has announced a run against him?

Perhaps told to cross-promote "Shark Tank," Judge on Tuesday's Halftime dialed up Mark Cuban, whose flimsy phone connection should've made at least one of the parties say "I'm out."

Cuban said he bought puts on the VXX, "not huge positions, but enough to be interesting." He also bought VIRT, in case volatility continues to work (snicker).

What an exciting pairs trade.

Cuban said until recently, you could buy anything and win without caring about little things in the market. "Now we have to start paying attention to detail. Because of the uncertainty," Mark said.

OK. We'll pay attention. We'll also pay attention to Mark's curious suggestion that an offshoot of the tax cuts will be rising trade deficits and possible punitive measures.

Mark also uncorked, as Steve Weiss did Monday, the old youngsters-no-longer-use-Facebook refrain (see, last summer on the show, it was, "OMG!!!!! MARK ZUCKERBERG SAID HE'D KILL SNAP, AND THAT'S WHAT INSTAGRAM IS DOING!!!!!"), stating, "A big portion of the younger demographic, you know, they may have a Facebook account just because they have a Facebook account, but they're not really using it."

Cuban waffled on UAA like L'eggo my egg'o. "I think their worst times are behind them," Mark said, but he doesn't know "where the growth will come from."

Mark called the iPhone X "OK" but "not spectacular."

Bob Pisani reported on the VIX whistleblower who suspects possible manipulation ... but the whistleblower's letter referred to the CME when it should've been referring to the CBOE (we refuse to lower case the "boe").

That was only one of many "yeesh" moments of Tuesday's Halftime, as Judge and Leslie Picker brought in Nancy Davis to say everyone's still in the short-volatility camp though volatility and interest rates "are very correlated."

Davis said there's "a huge opportunity for actually owning vol in the market because everybody else is selling right now."

That's fine, but then Nancy reached back into the past, not the boring past but the type of past (usually it's the years 1929, 1987, 1999 and 2008 that people like to mention) that people on the show are always warning about. The current volatility sentiment is "just like Long Term Capital in 1998. What were they doing. They were selling vol. It's just like mortgages before the crisis. Mortgages are inherently short vol," Davis said.

Davis wouldn't answer Doc's excellent question about whether the VIX could hold even 20 if there's not another huge selloff "in the next week to 10 days." She said she doesn't like the VIX (that's not exactly new either).

Judge practically kills us with long commercial-free stretch; let’s hope that only happens Thursday over cake and ice cream (picture above is from 2015, but it’s all the same people)

Jim Iuorio on Tuesday's Halftime predicted crude will "bounce from here."

Jon Najarian said someone bought M March 25 calls, "probably hitting for a single here." Pete Najarian admitted he owns UPS shares at a "much higher level" (yep, that was a massive bust, although so was Josh Brown's ALB but Brown hardly mentions it) (this writer is long ALB) but said a bunch of February calls, especially the 108s, were getting bought.

Josh Brown said he agrees with the KBW upgrade on JPM, even hanging a 150 on it. Doc reiterated that he told Joe that JPM is the stock that will drive the market.

Pete's final trade was DLTR. Doc said DIS. Josh Brown said TWTR. Stephanie said PRU. Joe said RF as the show ended in a Laffalympics.

Most provocative commentary during Monday’s show wasn’t even on the actual show

It's kind of like Martin Scorsese putting together a 3-hour movie but leaving the best scenes on the cutting-room floor.

Taking up UAA on Tuesday's Halftime, Judge revealed that Joe Terranova a day earlier asked someone on the panel if UAA had bottomed ... but that the question apparently occurred during a commercial break.

We can understand why it didn't come up in the actual televised version, given that the limited airtime needed to be used to give everyone a chance to say the market has potentially put in a short-term bottom.

Anyway, Joe said Tuesday that (whoever he asked; that wasn't revealed), "The answer that I got was no that it hadn't," but that the person said "you could see a short squeeze. ... For a trade, I could see this easily pushing to 20."

"The shorts clearly are unwinding here," Joe said.

Stephanie Link and Josh Brown remained massively skeptical of UAA. "They bought the sales," Link said, adding, "I think this is absolutely a short squeeze" and advising getting out if it goes to 20.

Brown noted how far UAA has fallen over the last year or two. Judge noted it was recently at 11 and challenged Brown; "you don't think it bottomed at 11?"

Brown said, "You're making my point for me," and added, "We don't know yet if this is a short-term bottom or the bottom."

Brown scoffed that the stock has had a lot of 10%, 1-day rallies over 3 years. Stephanie Link said "It's not even close to cheap." Judge said, "It's never been cheap."

Jon Najarian said there were UAA call buyers on Tuesday who "weren't as prescient as Joe was."

Joe stumbled over a wardrobe-like mispronunciation of "the shorts" as "the shirts" (sic).

There's a lot of good stuff in the category of semantics from Tuesday's Halftime; we can't wait to delve into that later.

[Monday, Feb. 12, 2018]

If stocks plunge after Powell speaks, Powell is getting fired

Mentioning a stat we hadn't paid attention to, Judge on Monday's Halftime said Jim Keenan of BlackRock was giving his first interview in 9 months.

Keenan said, "We are entering a new phase of the cycle."

He added, "We're still in a healthy economic environment" and that people aren't debating whether there's a recession, but "the level of economic growth."

Keenan initially said "there is risk" if the 10-year gaps to 3.25%. "That being said, I would too look at that as a buying opportunity."

Moments later, he said if it "gaps" to 3.25%, "I wouldn't say it ends the bull market, but you would see a much more volatile market, uh, similar to you saw last week."

Jim Lebenthal asked Keenan for a range of time for a possible recession. "I'm gonna say it's 2019, and '20, '21" that those conditions might happen, Keenan said. (Tom Lee called a peak though in 2029.)

Keenan stressed that wage inflation would be "healthy" if it drives higher consumption.

Joe Terranova said "the next trouble point" is at the end of the month when Powell speaks. (We'll tell you right now what's he going to say ... nice and dovey for the foreseeable future.)

Somehow we think we went a day without "euphoria." We didn't hear a word at all about leveraged VIX ETF products driving stock through Jan. 26, but we sure heard a lot about them in the last 2 weeks.

Jeff off the hook (and Flannery is learning something new ‘every couple of weeks’)

It was another exceptional accounting lesson in GE finances.

But honestly, we're not sure what it means for buying or selling the stock.

Judge on Monday's Halftime brought in ace industrial analyst Stephen Tusa, who has cut his GE target to 14 (still below Kevin O'Leary's 13).

Judge asked if Tusa has "seen something" in the last couple of weeks that caused the price-target drop. Tusa said there was still "a lot of uncertainty" when they last spoke, but earnings have been worse than expected.

Eventually, Tusa said, "Ultimately (we) believe that any real sustainable moves here will be dilutive to shareholder value." He said the sum of the parts is "about $13 with some downside."

Tusa credited Judge for a "great question" as to whether it's riskier to try staying the course and fixing what's there or "tearing the structure apart."

The dividend, which always hover over these conversations (remember how Doc used to gloat that the stock would go up when the cut was announced before Nov. 8 or whatever date it was?), surfaced again, and not in a good way. Tusa said "an equity raise may be necessary," though when a company raises equity, "your dividend burden goes up." Given that, "If they do raise equity, they will have to cut the dividend at the same time, because it's already too high of a burden and you're adding to that burden by issuing equity."

Tusa noted that Baker Hughes has less of a pension problem than other GE units, so if GE sells Baker Hughes, in terms of pensions, "their leverage has to go up."

In a curious personnel assessment, Tusa said John Flannery has "done, uh, everything," whatever that means, and is "learning, uh, something new, um, you know, not every day but every couple of weeks."

"I do not think his credibility is on the line yet," Tusa said.

Steve Weiss questioned how this company can turn around with the same board. Tusa insisted, "They are absolutely in the hunt, uh, uh, for new board members."

Tusa said he's not picking on the board. "I've never, you know, uh, picked at Jeff Immelt either," calling it a "tough situation for everybody."

The difference between ‘equity’ and ‘portfolio’ is ... something or other

Everybody on Monday's Halftime Report tried to sound optimistic while asserting the 2018 stock market might still retest the bottom. (That's called taking both sides of the argument.)

Joe Terranova said signs for the market "look good," and as for Friday's low, "potentially (sic redundant) that could be the bottom." (Well, that's going out on a limb.)

Joe said it's important that AAPL was up 3%. Joe then invoked semantics, stressing that "it's just an equity correction" and not a "portfolio correction" and thus not a risk to global growth.

Jim Lebenthal said the market has come down to a "reasonable multiple" before he, too, invoked semantics. Jim asserted that bottoming is a "process" and "not a point in time" and "not a particular price level." (Hmmm. We always thought the "bottom" was the lowest price over a given range. Oh well.)

Jim also said, "I think we'll take 1 to 2 weeks longer to really form this bottom."

Steve Weiss curiously contended that "it's a great time to rebalance a portfolio" before settling for perhaps the worst cliche in the business: "Now it is what people have been saying for years — a stock-picker's market."

Jon Najarian's opinion is that the worst is over, "but that doesn't mean that we don't retest it." (Sigh. Do those 2 statements really coexist?)

Sarat Sethi was the lone panelist knocking it out of the park, stating he's adding to FRC, JPM, BAC, PRU, SCHW, MS, CELG, BMY, GM across the board.

Sarat said GOOGL has a lot going for it, Youtube and a cash pile, and advised thinking about buying on another pullback or nibbling now. (This writer is long GOOGL.)

Doc said something we definitely agree with, that he'll be "really surprised" if volatility can even remain in the low 30s. Karen Finerman was all over this last week.

Weiss said he sold FB and would love to get into GOOGL. (This writer is long both FB and GOOGL.) On the heels of the stock-picker's market, Weiss invoked one of the most dreadful cliches of the 2010s, that Facebook is "losing the younger, um, uh, you know, faithful that go on Facebook," about the 17th time we've heard that concern since about 2014 (although the first 16 concluded by about 2015). Weiss said he added to C and BAC.

Jim said he's adding to EA Monday after adding to GBX Friday.

Doc said to no one in particular, "You got a gift on Friday when Apple slammed down to 150." (All those great trades that can't be done now without a time machine.)

Jim, Weiss fail to clash

Mark Fisher dialed in to Monday's Halftime to say "there's a lot of short-term opportunities" for trading volatility.

"I don't know if we put in the low," Fish said, suggesting the market "probably" would test it.

"I think volatility's here for a while," Fish asserted; we don't want to trade against Fish but we'll take the other side of that. Fish added that people aren't focusing enough on the Israel-Syria news of the weekend.

Jon Najarian said THC February 17 calls expiring at the end of the week got his attention; the short-term trade is "already workin' out." Doc said March 21 COTY calls were popular.

Jim Lebenthal said GM is "an easy long here."

Joe Terranova said he bought back into NOC and said AAPL and AMZN will tell where the market's going. (We think the S&P 500 does an equally good if not better job of that.) Steve Weiss's final trade was GOOGL. Sarat Sethi said PRU. Doc said FXI. Jim said ALXN. The 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin is being preempted by Olympics coverage for a couple of weeks.

Notable birthday coming up
this Thursday

For the last few years, this page has consistently been asleep at the switch taken by surprise by an important mid-February CNBC birthday.

Not this time.

Hopefully we'll see some cake and candles on Thursday and some kind of presentation at Englewood Cliffs or Post 9. Redskins fan, chef, golfer, general sports enthusiast, shouldn't be too hard to come up big, in and of itself. (He's already got a great suit collection, however, so think beyond clothes.)

[Friday, Feb. 9, 2018]

2017-18 playoff picks spotty

There's been so much drama in the stock market this week, we haven't had time to address a very important subject — the playoff football bracket.

It's one of the toughest prognostication challenges in sports because it involves picking ALL of the games before all the matchups have been set; we're happy to give it a shot every year. (See our early January report.)

We got 7 of the 11 winners correct. Thankfully, our only wild-card miss did not affect the seedings, though we did predict the Patriots being the Chiefs and Steelers rather than Titans and Jaguars. Unfortunately, we failed to score a perfect conference, nor did we pick the Super Bowl champion. That all adds up to a C- grade.

We had the NFC correct up until the Championship Game. Had we re-picked after the divisional round, we would've bet against the Vikings, whose win over the Saints looked like at best a gift.

We had the Patriots in the Super Bowl. That's fine, but we had Kansas City and Pittsburgh each winning one playoff game, which neither did.

And the Patriots didn't win the Super Bowl even though that was predicted here.

So ... no perfect conference, and wrong on the Super Bowl champion. Not our greatest effort.

We'll try to do better next year.

Ross Levinsohn reinstated after corporate investigation (a/k/a a newspaper’s digital chief has no Twitter account)

Back on Jan. 18 (hit PgDn a few times), this page reported that we probably won't be seeing Ross Levinsohn on the Halftime Report for a few years, after a "detailed report by National Public Radio" suggesting Levinsohn has a history of "frat-boy" behavior in workplace settings.

Barely 3 weeks later, Levinsohn's corporate bosses chose to "reinstate him" and hand him a different title — Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Interactive, LLC.

This is a remarkably speedy timeframe for a legal investigation, which coincidentally wrapped up the same day that Levinsohn's unit — the Los Angeles Times — was sold. (So much for tapping into SoCal culture, doing more video and raising share price from 2 times EBITDA to 10 times EBITDA.)

The Los Angeles Times article said Levinsohn was "cleared of wrongdoing." The company's own press release does not use the term "clear" or "cleared" but says the investigation and report found "no wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Levinsohn." It does not say how many people were interviewed. The NPR story that prompted the investigation claimed "fresh interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates."

It's journalistic obligation, as well as fairness, to promote the news Levinsohn has been reinstated after reporting he was on leave. It's equally significant that Levinsohn is a rare (apparent) survivor of the current landscape. The chief complaints in the NPR report — (pick your order of gravity) maintaining a "frat-boy" environment, keeping a "hotness" list of women who worked under him and using a 3-letter word beginning with "f" — may be different than the physicality offenses alleged against Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey and others, though this page does not know anything about the details of these cases and will not speculate. Yet even Steve Wynn, who's got a LOT more money and power than Levinsohn, had to step down from a couple of important posts.

Here's the CNBC wrinkle: Before taking the L.A. Times job in August 2017, Levinsohn was a CNBC contributor and announced as such on an episode of the Halftime Report. This presumably provided him additional income. At the time, he worked for a "boutique strategic advisory firm" called Whisper Advisors. Levinsohn is no longer on CNBC's online list of contributors and presumably left that list upon taking the L.A. Times post (though we don't know that for a fact).

We can report that, in the wake of the Tronc investigation, Levinsohn 1) has not made any public statement about this investigation that we can find and 2) does not even appear to have a Twitter account. Levinsohn is going to lead the Tribune Interactive division, "which will operate the digital functions of the company," according to his company, Tronc ... but he apparently doesn't need a Twitter account.

Nobody said in 2017, ‘Man, thank goodness these levered ETFs and passive investors are carrying stocks higher’

It's sort of a waste of time.

Nobody on the Halftime Report wants to buy anything.

Then again, nobody's telling viewers to sell.

So what's the point?

Jim Lebenthal said his clients are "more sanguine" about this correction than any other he has seen. Rob Sechan though says the move has "paralyzed the dip buyers."

Jeff Kilburg suggested selling out of the money puts on JNJ and mentioned Sechan's "paralyzation" (sic). But Pete Najarian seemed to think that's not such easy money, stating, "People have to understand, when you sell puts, what that really means."

Sechan seemed to suggest the week's bogeyman, ETFs, while mentioning "the notion of renting the market."

Jim mentioned the CNBC special report Thursday night (which appeared thrown together at the last minute and heavily Cramer-centric) in which all the man on the street interviewees shrugged that it's just a correction.

Pete Najarian did actually say he was dipping in to VMW, not because he's sure it's the bottom but it's taken a deep discount recently and is in a good space.

Jim said "why not" buy UTX, HON or EMR, only to clarify that you should only "nibble ... but don't load the boat here." Pete said things are working for those companies, but you have to be "very very selective" in terms of price.

Judge grumbled that he was getting "no takers" on those stocks after/amid a correction.

Josh Brown shrugged at the concept of shifting sectors so one's portfolio can lose only 9% instead of 11%.

Judge mentioned "euphoria" at the 28-minute mark.

Pete noted "some huge roll-downs" in May 148 QQQ puts (from someone who'd been in the 155s). (Quite possibly, someone was loading up big-time on QQQ calls on Jan. 26.)

Pete said V June 120 calls were getting bought.

Bob Iaccino predicted a "pause" in crude's slide, pointing to traditional strength in seasonality. Jim Iuorio said the risk is to the upside.

U.S. hockey legend Rob McClanahan told Judge the market selloff is "overdue." He said several analysts at his firm see this as a "great opportunity" to buy some stocks, such as CY.

Judge told McClanahan that Al Michaels was on the show a week ago. Judge didn't tell McClanahan or any panelists that Michaels touted leveraged ETFs.

Josh Brown said he would guess TWTR can't hold its gains in this kind of a tape, no fault of the company.

Josh Brown told a good, albeit long, story about putting in absurdly low limit buy orders for great tech stocks and sometimes being rewarded.

Pete mentions the
‘tap on the shoulder’

Rob Sechan on Friday's Halftime said, "I think we've gone from an overdue correction to an overdone correction."

But, as everyone equivocated during the program, Sechan said the move has "paralyzed the dip buyers" who are "completely, completely scared about this."

Actually, we'd say just the opposite, that nobody really seems scared or is even talking about this at cocktail parties. In fact, Jim Lebenthal said his clients are "more sanguine" during this pullback than he's ever seen.

Jim said didn't want to pretend that he knows what's going to happen "today or tomorrow," but Judge asked, so he thinks "this is just gonna be like a typical correction where we bounce along the bottom here for the next couple of weeks."

Josh Brown noted we're back to where we were on Thanksgiving. "If you didn't sell last week, you might be a little bit late to sell," Brown said.

Brown rattled off some single-stock bear market stats reminiscent of September 2015 and January 2016 and said if you sold at those times, you sold at the bottom.

Jeff Kilburg, who in a treat was on the desk instead of just doing Futures Now, claimed "we haven't seen that panic selling," but Judge disagreed.

Invoking one of our favorite cliches (but when are we gonna get "Don't try to be a hero"?), Pete Najarian said it's been a market of air pockets, and the way things trade at the end of the day, "That looks exactly like a margin call ... they used to do it in person, they tap on your shoulder." Pete said they're still seeing put-buying, so "I don't think we've hit the bottom just yet."

Much more from Friday's Halftime later.

[Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018]

Karen: 1,000-point down days most likely to happen near another 1,000-point down day

After Thursday's market shellacking, we wanted to hear from the most reliable voice of Fast Money, Karen Finerman.

Karen didn't disappoint.

"I think this VIX change is clearly, it's very very dramatic, but I really do think it's gonna be somewhat short-lived," Karen said. "We've seen over the last 20 years probably, spikes in the volatility like this, they come down. They go up super quickly and they come down very quickly as well. ... I think you're much more likely to have a 1,000- down-1,000 day near the time you have another down-1,000 day. That those 2 things are more likely to happen together than they are to happen separately."

What a fabulous point. That elevated volatility isn't very sustainable, for whatever reason. If you look up history's biggest Dow drops (which we just did), you see clusters of them in early autumn 2008 and August 2011 and the past week. One of those involved the fall of Lehman Brothers. The other involved ... an S&P downgrade.

Karen told guest host Sully her advice "absolutely" is to "stay the course."

Great-Grandpa Dan Nathan did his usual the-stock-market's-like-a-scene-from-"Sátántangó" routine, stating, "When the thing finally blows up, it's gonna make 2000 and 2008 look like a walk in the park. And don't forget this: Is that the- the- the bear market that we lived in in '00 didn't end until March 2003."

OK. We won't forget. Is stock-buying all about identifying what happened 20 years ago? If so, isn't that what algos are for, and isn't that an endorsement of algo/passive investing?

Guy Adami, who a handful of times in the last 10 years has expressed suspicions that someone somewhere probably has some shaky derivative book, contended, "Stocks have become collateral damage to volatility. This will be over in my opinion when you see headlines about a hedge fund and/or some bank's derivative book blowing up. I have not seen that yet."

Tim Seymour as usual talked a lot without saying a thing.

Joe admits public skewering over controversial passive-investing-bubble claim

He buried the lede.

Joe Terranova late on Thursday's Halftime Report revealed, "The other day, I said, 'I believe the bubble in passive investing is bursting.' OK. A lot of people, you know, came back with a lot of negative comments surrounding that. Complacency is certainly by far coming out of the marketplace right now."

Judge interrupted to say he remembers Jeffrey Gundlach mentioning that at the Sohn conference. (So that's the time frame: Every time Jeffrey Gundlach mentions a bubble, wait 8 months before it finally hits ... but make sure you buy-buy-buy right up until the moment of the burst because the market is going to surge to record highs right up until the day before.)

Returning to his point, Joe doubled down: "The complacency that comes along with passive investing, and the negative feedback that I've gotten about those comments, tells me that this isn't over."

Hmmm. OK. While admittedly, we don't know anything about anything, we can't figure out exactly what a "passive investing bubble" is, let alone whether it's "bursting."

When a hundred shares of AAPL are bought by a "passive" investor and another hundred are bought by an "active" investor, do the shares care who their owners are?

Joe further said he was talking to Fish the previous night about the market growing accustomed to "quick price corrections," when in fact, "Normal markets correct over the course of a hundred to 150 trading days!"

So we're just as likely to have a 1,000-point Dow drop in April as we are in the next 5 days? #thankyou,Karen

What Joe (or others) should be saying is that 1) "This selloff is like a Buffalo snowstorm, sucks for 2 weeks, then it melts away" or 2) "The general public is not caring, everybody is shrugging this off, and a big reason is probably because people think the pending recovery might well be an absolute moonshot that will relegate VIX jockeys into face-ripped-off-land carried out feet first on the stretchers."

"This is what a correction feels like," said Jim Lebenthal. Can't argue with that.

Great Moments in Fast Money history: Eric Bolling calls short-term bottom in August 2007

The last week of stock market activity brings back actually some fond memories.

One of those was August 2007, when "Fast Money" was a fairly new CNBC program, even saddled with a prime time slot but nevertheless a must-record for those interested in regularly hearing from pro stock-pickers on CNBC.

The anchorman of that unit was not Judge (that came later) but Dylan Ratigan, the 35-year-old (or something like that) from Union College who looked like he was 55 and then skipped the business entirely out of disdain for the "banksters." The frontman was Eric Bolling, The Admiral (or The Raging Boll or RBI or whatever the nicknames were), before he got scooped up by Murdoch.

Karen Finerman and the Najarii were part of a deep bench.

Anyway. S&P 500 had reached 1,555 in mid-July 2007, then started trickling down before several notable drops in early August, one of them 44 points. On Aug. 16, it hit 1,370 before revving back to close at 1,411, 5 points above the previous day. The classic intra-day reversal.

Bolling said that night on Fast Money, "I think we've bottomed!" We know Karen Finerman agreed, though it might not have been the same night. (We don't have that clip anymore.)

By early October, the July high of 1,555 was surpassed.

Yes, we know that starting Nov. 1 of that year, everything went to pot. The point is, it's a trading show, and few things are as sweet as the joy of the realization/confirmation that the bottom's in.

Doc twice mentions ‘the exchequer over there’ (snicker)

In a nod to what's an early great call of 2018, Judge on Thursday's Halftime noted Jim Lebenthal a day earlier called another 3% drop in the S&P.

Jim said that was "just based on history." (There we go again. "History." Why not write an algo to identify all kinds of historical trends and play the past as the present and make oceans of money?)

Jim added, "We're back to normal. Corrections are normal. ... This is going to be a great buying opportunity."

Joe Terranova suggested Fed questions hover over stocks, stating, "The market right now has this paradigm shift ... We're going back to the normal." Joe said we need "certainty" from Powell and that "we don't even know what he's really fighting."

"The volatility genie's out of the bottle. And it's not gonna be put back," offered Stephen Weiss. (Really. So the April VIX will be just as high as the early February VIX?)

The really amusing thing is that Weiss has spent the last couple months talking about "This bears no relation to other times" and "Nobody has seen this kind of environment." (Yes those are exact quotes.)

This was all before Weiss got tangled up talking about algos.

Struggling for answers, Jon Najarian rattled off doings of European banking authorities and then asked himself, "Are we close? Yes."

Here’s the ‘bubble’: Al Michaels on the Halftime Report touts owning leveraged ETFs for a decade days before CNBCers blame those products for sinking stocks

Judge on Thursday's Halftime for whatever reason decided to put in a call to Vinnie Viola to discuss ... "the nature of Virtu." (Seriously. Vinnie actually said that.)

OK, Judge asked Viola a few questions about the stock market's troubles. "The market structure performed perfectly," Vinnie said, of course kind of talking his book there. Ultimately, Viola said, "When we look back at this episode, we will see a relatively expected, what I would call interim, correction in a long-term secular bull market."

Joe Terranova asked Viola if there's a passive bubble the last couple weeks changes "behavior" as far as shorting the VIX. Vinnie noted that people tend to do Pavlovian-style (he didn't use that term) what has been working.

Judge also brought in Rick Santelli. "I just don't find that 2.85 is earth-shattering," Rick said. "The key here is access to capital and redefining risk." (Honestly, that doesn't sound like much of a concern.)

"Central banks have to mop up this mess," Rick continued. "They cannot cave to the market here, otherwise, the balance sheets will be around forever."

The Fed can't "cave" to stocks? Seriously??

In a good line that is probably just as inaccurate/imprecise/irrelevant as Carl's, Santelli concluded, "This is the stretching exercise before the big workout video."

Sarat: ‘For me, this is
a buying opportunity’

Steve Weiss, who had a shaky show, on Thursday's Halftime got tripped up talking about algorithms, stating, "I'm not blaming them for the decline, no more than I'm pattin' 'em on the back for the increase."

Weiss said it's a "buying opportunity" for C.

Joe Terranova pointed out that nobody blames the algos when the stock market soars. (As Wade Garrett says in "Road House," Exxxxxxxxxactly. Where were all the oil-speculator-investigations when crude was in the 30s?)

Judge prevented Weiss from revisiting that topic.

We were hoping for another classic photo of Weiss and Jim Lebenthal haggling with each other, but the CNBC cameraman didn't get close enough for a quality shot.

In an absolutely cogent point, Sarat Sethi said that in talking to companies, "We really haven't heard anyone say that earnings are slowing down. ... For me, this is a buying opportunity."

Judge actually questioned with a straight face how the market might be affected by "real fears about what's happening in the deficit." Jon Najarian said nothing should be written off as a reason for people to sell.

Joe Terranova pointed out the buybacks are still in the blackout window.

"The credit markets are still OK," Joe said.

Judge reverted to the week's bogeyman (sigh), asking the panel about the impact "under the surface" in "leveraged products" that we haven't seen "rear their ugly head yet." (Really. And barely a week ago it was "too much euphoria" (that's an exact quote).)

Doc said "Are one of those gonna blow up? It's really a 1-day event if they do."

Jim Lebenthal said he sold NKE and will look for something "a lot cheaper." He's eyeing RDSa. He said he trimmed QRVO and quibbled about not getting to talk about it in previous shows. "This is a correction. This is not a bear market." He touted his half-positions in EA and GBX.

Sarat Sethi said he's looking at financials and mentioned GM, MAS, DAL, GOOGL, ORCL. (This writer is long GOOGL.) Sarat also mentioned CELG, MRK, BMY.

Joe touted ABBV as a "great opportunity" regardless of what the market's doing.

In the show's only real discussion of a single stock, Anthony DiClemente said he gives TWTR credit "for improving engagement" and for "phenomenal" 4th-quarter ad revenue. However, he said, "I don't know if I'm chasing this stock here at 31."

Joe said the "challenge" is determining whether TWTR's M&A premium is gone because the rise in market cap makes it "less likely to get bought out." (Actually, we thought it was already up for sale a while back, and everyone including CRM said no thanks.)

Doc said June 120 V calls were "actively bought." Pete said April 142 puts in the IWM were being "aggressively bought."

Anthony Grisanti said he thinks crude's on its way to 58.30. Scott Nations acknowledged, "There's plenty of supply."

Joe said markets take the "escalator up" over years "and the elevator down." (Guy Adami likes to say "stairs up.")

CNBC put together another "Special Report" at 7 p.m. Eastern about the market crash, a production that looked thrown together at the last minute and seemed an extension of Mad Money. Jim Lebenthal (as well as Tim Seymour and Guy Adami) was summoned for duty and said there are "obvious reasons for what's going on." Seriously? Obvious? We haven't heard anyone explain why this is happening now.

Jim indicated it's "higher interest rates," but we didn't hear anyone predicting 2 weeks ago that "if the 10-year hits 2.80, you're gonna seee a couple down-1,000 days in the Dow." And if it's all about rates, then isn't calling a recovery soon the same as calling falling rates?

[Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018]

What if Democrats get
trampled in November?

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Judge told Lee Cooperman, "History would suggest that, that when you have a, a, a midterm election turnover, uh, the market doesn't like that."

That perked the ears up, because right around Jan. 25, Jim Lebenthal warned about the risk of the summer election cycle.

Here's the deal. Our takeaway from the State of the Union was that the applause (basically from the GOP) was so robust, there's no way this presidency is going to get derailed by a Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, stocks are (somewhat) near record highs, unemployment is at record low, and most everyone's about to start getting a debt-financed tax cut.

Does that sound like a formula for throwing the bums out?

If anything — and admittedly, we know nothing about the current electoral map — we'd wager that Republicans pick up seats in November. There is no rival to Donald Trump in either party on the horizon for 2020. The current Democratic Party has no focus, no argument, no point. The party (and its 2016 nominee) are still trying to decide whether we need to go back to the good old days of the previous president or whether we need to be "change agents" from the previous president.

Lee Cooperman on Wednesday's Halftime said Donald Trump's economic ideas are "good" though "his deportment is somewhat different than I would like."

Tim loses battle with Karen over whether heightened volatility makes stocks riskier

Tim Seymour on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin thought he was spouting wisdom. Then he ran into Karen Finerman.

Seymour said, "A market with a lot more volatility is a riskier market. Which is a less safe market. So let's be clear."

"I don't agree. I don't agree, actually," Karen said. "Because just think about it. The volatility index spikes, let's call it the fear index, it spikes when the market is down. So those same stocks that have had no fundamental difference, right, they've reported great earnings, we do have a tax bill, right, those things are exactly the same. And yet, it's cheaper. Feels bad, it's scary. But the price is actually cheaper. This is the same stock 3 days ago-"

"That's great if you do nothing, Karen," Tim cut in. "But a lot of people don't sit around and do nothing. And by the way, by definition ... when a stock moves like this, all over the place, it's a riskier stock."

Actually, it seems to us it's riskier when it's only moving straight down.

The bungle came when Tim said, "And volatility is portending maybe a higher move in volatility." Really? So volatility just goes to infinity?

"I think volatility is gonna come down, over the coming weeks, not up," Karen said. "I think a month from now, we're gonna see something significantly lower."

Guy Adami predicted volatility will be around for an "extended period of time," such as March or April (snicker).

Karen, who couldn't have been more chic in black/white combo, noted that gold hasn't surged in all of this volatility.

Why people like following
the stock market

In a rather impromptu moment on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Lee Cooperman said all that really needed to be said.

"What gets me up in the morning and keeps me working at age 74 is finding the Time Inc.s of the world. Or the AMC Medias of the world," Lee said.

Right on. You go, Lee. That's what the stock market is for. Yes, many of us use it as a long-term, wealth-building tool, and hopefully for most of us, on that level, it works out. It's also the home office of American aspiration, a place for discretionary income, a chance ... however difficult ... of quick wealth, a place to match wits with the richest in some kind of hybrid science-arts competition.

Hopefully Lee and all the rest of us will still be doing the same thing at 94.

Jim predicts another
3% down in S&P 500

It's been very rocky times for the stock market.

But Lee Cooperman on Wednesday's Halftime revealed he was already erasing his 2018 downside range from -15% to something less, like 10%. "I don't think the market has the 15% downside that I thought it had when it came into the year," Lee said.

"The bubble is the bond market," Lee asserted.

Lee said he's willing to buy UAL, touting the 8 multiple and COO's interest in his "entire pay package" being in stock, and also Warren Buffett's interest.

Steve Weiss referred to Oscar "Munez" (sic pronunciation) getting "zeroed on his bonus" and questioned why not go with "better management" at DAL, which has a refinery (ding ding ding). Lee said he owned DAL previously but likes the margin-expansion potential at UAL better.

Lee said he "would expect" UAL to be a double in 2-3 years.

He got chuckles when he said United Airlines "punched out a client."

Lee also touted AMCX because of cord-cutting concerns and "Walking Dead" maybe being "over the top and being a little bit less popular." He also touted FDC, which he said has fears of balance sheet leverage; he finds the multiple too low.

Lee also said he added to PE, NBR, WPX and HES.

Jon Najarian asked a clumsy question with a clumsy intro about how people could've bought AAPL at 155 and flipped it in less than a day at 163.

Lee spent key early minutes grumbling about lack of regulation of "crazy instruments" that are "destroying the best capital market in the world."

So 10 years ago, we had the Uptick Rule concerns; now we're concerned about people buying too much leveraged ETFs. "These machines basically like the market more at 21, even more at 22 and even more at 23," Lee explained.

Judge and Lee tangled over complacency, with Lee noting the steep cost of puts.

Jeff Kilburg noted the "1-2 punch" of the dollar and rising production on crude. Jim Iuorio suggested 58 on a pullback.

Jim Lebenthal asked Lee, if Feb. 5 was the low point for stocks, "Is that the shortest correction you've ever seen? Because it is the shortest correction I've ever seen." (That's Jim's way of saying stocks are going lower.)

Lee said it's the "sharpest correction" and that we're in a world of "machines."

Jim's final trade was "S&P's going down 3%." Steve Weiss said JEC. Doc said CHRW. Pete Najarian said EEM. Kari Firestone said MIDD.

Lee Cooperman basically gives market ‘all-clear signal’

Lee Cooperman, star guest of Wednesday's Halftime Report, was asked by Judge if the selloff has run its course.

Lee said there could be a "minor new low," and back-and-fill, but, "I think that, uh, one would blow the all-clear- would blow the all-clear signal."

Much more from Lee's appearance and the rest of Wednesday's Halftime later.

[Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018]

What if this week or next is an outside reversal to the upside?

Here's our beef with the market's meltdown:

It's not funny enough.

We are getting some of the grim, stone-faced commentary that sounds like the People's Army of Red China and totally cracks us up, but we need the cliches to start piling up, starting with the "tap on the shoulder" (we got one of those Monday) and "don't try to be a hero" (haven't heard that one yet, that probably marks the bottom) and morphing into the shorts entering "face-ripped-off land" and chuckleheads who buy VIX ETFs at the highs "being carried out on a stretcher feet first."

Carl calls stock market ‘a casino on steroids,’ 4 times mentions 1929, 2 times mentions 2008

Carl Icahn, the star guest of Tuesday's Halftime Report, tried to take a victory lap on warning of danger ... while refusing to call the market a sell. (This review was posted near the close of trading Tuesday.)

"I think that, I've said it before you know," Carl said. "I think I put it out about danger ahead a couple years ago. I, I think that you have way too many derivatives. The market is not really a place for the average person to be playin' around with derivatives. In '08, the problem really was the CDS, derivatives, the mortgage-backed securities. And, assume- And I think this is just the beginnings of a rumbling, an earthquake."

He continued, "Today you have these triple-leveraged ETFs that are crazy. I mean, you- you have these indexed funds with leveraged ETFs against them where I don't see any difference between that and 1929. So eventually, this is just a little rumbling, a little fault line. I think this market'll bounce back probably. I think, you know, eventually, it gets rid of this little panic thing. But one day, this thing is just gonna implode because you have too much leverage with too many people buyin' these things.

"The market is a casino on steroids. However, I wanna be clear, that I don't think this is the one time- is the, is the explosive time. ... I don't think this is gonna blow up ..."

Carl knocked the "crazy, leverage products" in the market and asserted, "it's no different than '29, when you can buy a 90 or 80% margin. (Funny how we heard none of these "casino" complaints a week ago.)

Judge said Carl was on the show in November 2017 stating that the market had reached a "euphoric state." Judge noted "the Dow went up 9 1/2% after you told me that" and is this a case of running too far too fast.

Carl responded, "It just proves what I've been saying (never wrong including the Day of Reckoning) ... nobody including myself have any idea on the near term what the market's gonna do."

But he insisted there's going to be a "major, major, major correction. And I've been saying that for a few years."

Carl gloated about having "the best year I ever had" in 2017 in the IEP. That's impressive in the face of a "casino on steroids."

Judge asked if Carl was talking about a "passive investing bubble." After mentioning 1929, Carl said, "I don't remember seein' a market with this kind of volatility in 2 weeks."

Carl first started to say of bitcoin that he personally doesn't understand it, then said, "I do understand it slightly. I think it's ridiculous."

He said of the leveraged ETF scene, "Basically it's a little bit like '08."

Joe Terranova asked Carl about Howard Marks and whether this is "a paradigm monumental shift in rates." Carl noted rates "have been very low, forcing the investor to go into these uh leveraged products." Carl never answered but told Joe he agreed with the passive-investing-bubble argument. (It's supposedly bursting right now, see below.)

Carl said in the 1960s, his uncles would buy stocks "and put 'em in- just under the mattress, literally."

Judge asked Carl if we're "close" to a near-term bottom. Carl said "Yeah but" he doesn't think anyone really knows.

Pete Najarian (did he get an entire show's pay for 3 minutes of appearance?) said Carl "talked very macro" but implied "this isn't it." Pete twice said what Carl said was "interesting."

Joe said Carl's statement about not seeing this kind of volatility "is a statement in itself" (sort of tried to say "in and of itself" as Judge just did) and that it "indicates that it's probably not over."

Kevin O'Leary bluntly stated that Carl "gives ETFs a bad rap." Judge protested that Carl is "far from the only person who's, who's suggested that there's a bubble in passive investing." (Well, other than Joe ...) O'Leary said there are actively managed ETFs that choose the "quality" names of the S&P 500.

Honestly we have no idea what a ‘passive investing bubble’ actually is (a/k/a Weiss misquotes Erin Browne)

If there really is, as Joe Terranova and Carl Icahn indicate, a "passive investing bubble" that has already begun to burst, this market is going to smithereens in a jiffy.

Sell if you like.

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime turned to Jon Najarian first. "It was just ugly, Judge. There's no 2 ways about it," Doc said, calling the selloff "crazy" and faulting interest in the "crazy volatility products."

People who played these names and were "trying to get ahead of the market ... paid a very heavy price," Doc explained.

Kevin O'Leary said he awoke at 3 a.m. and "started looking at British names" and started buying Glaxo Smithkline and British American Tobacco. O'Leary declared American stocks pricier. "We need another 8% down to get the same metric. We're expensive compared to the Brits," he said.

Judge asked if there were any "buyers" or "waiters" on the panel. He didn't ask if anyone is urging "sell," and nobody did say "sell this," either Monday or Tuesday, so what does that tell you.

Joe Terranova told Judge that people are "patiently sitting on the sidelines and correctly observing what's going on in the marketplace right now. And I think if there is one thing that is abundantly clear about the market so far in 2018, it is that we have created over the last 5 years a bubble and it's called passive investing. And that bubble is in the process of bursting."

People on the sidelines are "correctly observing" what's happening. They're not mistaking the red arrows for green. We predict the Dow falls 1,175 on Monday.

Judge rightly (but without enough emphasis) demanded to know if Joe was buying stocks. Joe pointed out he bought AAPL a day ago because "I believe in the cash story that I heard the other day."

Joe also reiterated his view of AAPL as a "proxy" for the market. And Tuesday, AAPL is up. Rather big.

Joe said he was waiting to buy ABBV, and Tuesday it opened at 101. He also bought EOG Tuesday morning. But, Grandpa Joe said, "I don't think the selling pressure in the markets is over."

Joe also cautioned about a "time correction" as opposed to a "price correction."

Stephanie Link said, "I think inflation is under control." Link said the cyclicals have been leading during the wreckage of the last few days.

JJ Kinahan contended, "I feel like the worst of the selling is over, Scott. I do think that these type of events usually take 2-3 weeks to work through the system."

Stephen Weiss called in and revealed, "I did buy today," specifically C (snicker). "Rates have moved up significantly," Weiss said, explaining that if the market is going to sell off because of higher yields, "it's gonna benefit the banks."

"I also added to DATA, which is Tableau," Weiss said, though he's "not looking so good on that one," but he's in that for the "long term."

Weiss said he got out of "a lot of" his BABA stake from Thursday to Monday, because in this type of market, it's one of those momentum names that is among "generally the first ones to go" in this type of market because of the "weak hands," a term that may indeed characterize part or all of Weiss' own position.

Weiss recalled August 2015, "we had essentially the same occurrence," there was a VIX spike and trade down, "and then you ended the month higher than where you began." (We're actually wondering if that happens this week.)

Weiss even incorrectly invoked Erin Browne's comment the other day, saying "as we'd said and Erin Browne said on the show, that most of your gains will be in the first half. Well it looks like now they're in the first month."

Actually, Browne said (just see below) on Jan. 31 that the market has "probably marked about half the gains this year, year to date thus far."

Joe said, "Understand the credit markets are totally fine." Joe also mentioned the "blackout window" for companies to do buybacks, suggesting taking note of those companies "on a piece of paper" (as opposed to an Excel spreadsheet) for revisiting a couple weeks from now.

Stephanie Link said, "I think people were worried a little bit about Friday's number. I wasn't worried; I was actually excited." Link touted wage growth as a "good thing."

"There's no competition for stock," said Kevin O'Leary. "I really like the market here, getting very more interesting (sic grammar) at a 16 and change P.E."

Reflecting the fact (as this page keeps noting) that nobody has a clue as to why this selloff has occurred, Doc said that during Friday's meltdown, they couldn't believe it was based on "better than expected jobs numbers" and decided, "There's something else behind it." But then he blamed it all on a bogeyman (at least that's better than "the machines"). "And yesterday we saw what that something else was — a lot of people were caught with their pants down and had those leveraged positions in those ETFs," Doc asserted.

Actually that group includes Al Michaels, based on his Friday interview.

But Kevin O'Leary said the UVXY "ended up being phenomenal insurance through Thursday, Friday, and then again Monday. Today it's up another 20%. I unfortunately sold it to early. ... It's unfair to criticize it."

JJ Kinahan told O'Leary, "You really understand it. For most people, that's a big risk."

"But if you don't understand what you own, you deserve to go to zero," O'Leary said.

Kinahan insisted it was "mostly held by professionals. ... People have to be very careful."

Joe said "the credit markets are fine," so that's a degree of "solid footing" for investment decisions.

Judge started to say, "If the credit markets were stressed," this would look something like playing in a "sandbox," but we didn't understand the entire comment.

Josh Lipton reported that Sen. John Thune is getting on AAPL's case. But it's not about ruining kids' lives as Jana/CALSTRS and Psychic Tax prof are claiming. And if Thune asks his constituents where AAPL should rank among the companies they think he should crack down on ...

Judge promised Bob Shiller,
never delivered

Doug Cifu, squeezed into Tuesday's Halftime before Carl Icahn, said the rush of volatility this week and last "felt like August 2015," but the market "behaved very well."

Judge asked about the SVXY. Cifu said the SVXY "kinda did what it was intended to do." Cifu said "all these risks are outlined" in the 200-page prospectus. ("Hey Edna, should I read The Grapes of Wrath tonight or the SVXY prospectus?")

"At the end of the day, uh, you know, this really has nothing to do with robots or HFT or other things that people wanna, you know, you know, I think they're just punching at a ghost. At the end of the day, there are fundamentals in the market that are driving this correction," Cifu said.

Jon Najarian said he saw "block after block after block" of SPY shares and then realized "it's all from dark pools."

Doc pointed out that circuit breakers didn't react Monday because the drop, percentage-wise, wasn't enough.

Stephanie Link's final trade was ZBH. Joe said AMZN. Doc said ADI. Pete said PG. Kevin O'Leary said Nestle. JJ Kinahan said large banks, "trading is great right now."

[Monday, Feb. 5, 2018]

Karen: ‘I kinda think it’s close to the buying opportunity that I wanted’

The first person we wanted to hear from after Monday's carnage was Karen Finerman, who coincidentally was smashing in new black ensemble and hairstyle on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Here's what Karen said:

"I kinda think it's close to the buying opportunity that I wanted. I mean I think tomorrow, I would not be the least bit surprised to see it trade down a lot on the heels of the rest of the world trading down overnight. That could absolutely happen. If it does, and we see things getting sold in integers ... that very often is an opportunity to buy. So I know what I want to buy. I would like to buy some Intel, I would like to buy some Google." (This writer is long GOOGL.)

Steve Grasso observed, "We had a Flash Crash moment today," then spent a fairly clumsy couple of minutes talking about how a "fat finger" works.

Guy Adami said the fact the market didn't close higher after the morning rebound somehow represents a "fundamental change." Guy said the level of complacency has reached highs not seen in maybe 10 years.

After a lot of early chatter, Tim Seymour admitted, "After this kind of a big move, getting a bit of a bounce tomorrow would not be a huge surprise."

What we took from the CNBC commentary is that 1) nobody seemed the slightest bit alarmed and 2) nobody could explain in the slightest why this was happening right now, which, unlike mid-September 2008, makes us think everything will be in high gear again before too long.

Oddly enough, in the biggest trading day since the 2016 day-after-Election-Day, both the Halftime Report and 5 p.m. Fast Money featured guest hosts. Sully at 5 p.m. was obsessed over the 800-point fall in 20 minutes.

Just 7 trading days prior, Judge questioned if there’s ‘too much euphoria’

Making a prediction that played out in spades just hours later (this review was posted after Monday's markets were closed), Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime said of the selloff, "I don't think it is over," calling it an "active trader's type of environment."

Joe used flowery terminology to say he bought AAPL, which might've been a bit early.

Joe contended that the "blackout window" for buybacks is a "large component" of the elevated volatility and complained that it's been "frustrating" over the last 48 hours that people say they want a decline but are nervous.

Protesting that the previous year's low volatility was an incredible aberration, Josh Brown said "the max decline" of Monday's high to low was 4.86%, so calling it a "correction" is "hilarious." (Um, he might've rephrased that by the end of the day.)

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who was stunning, pointed out that if people are waiting for a 10% correction, we've got a ways to go. (As of 3:30 Monday afternoon, we were quite a bit closer.)

Stephanie Link said investors are "uneasy" because of concern about "velocity" of rate moves. Link questioned why you wouldn't want to buy some of these great companies that are selling off.

Link said some names recently are down a lot worse than the market and to look at UNH, CI, AAPL and SLB.

Jon Najarian said rates are going up but are "still extremely low."

Doc noted the 10-year seemed to stop at 2.85%. Doc even mentioned people being "tapped on the shoulder," the once-famous cliche of Eric Bolling.

Joe reiterated that we've gone from a passive environment to an "environment that might be a little bit more active."

Mike Santoli said this dip is "unlikely" to be "the big one."

Link said the "biggest question" to ask is whether we're going to recession. Link said, "We're not," and that the yield curve is even steepening.

GE hits $14.91

Financials, which took a beating Monday, surfaced during Monday's Halftime Report.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera questioned Joe Terranova over whether he'd try to be a hero with WFC. Joe said, "Why would I go after Wells Fargo where it sits right now when there are other things that fundamentally-"

Joe eventually mentioned CME and ICE, V and MA, and "some of the life insurance companies."

Stephanie Link said she's been adding to GS. Link said she likes PRU and AIG and suggested buying regional banks such as STI at a better valuation than WFC.

Joe touted LNC, though "it has nothing to do with the Eagles."

Josh Brown said the LOW upgrade report is "hilarious" because it questions why LOW can't be more like HD. Link said LOW has underperformed HD "huge" and she finds the valuation "rich." She said she owns SWK but is even trimming that. Joe Terranova offered that we're "finally seeing that catchup process happen" for LOW vs. HD.

Jon Najarian said February 21 HBI calls were popular as part of a "call-vertical spread." Doc said May 70 APC calls were getting bought, "and they sold puts in here."

Sue Herera called the Super Bowl "a great game." (She evidently didn't watch the defense.)

Michelle said, "I don't often watch football, and I loved it. There were hardly any penalties, it moved very fast."

‘We certainly could be
bottoming today’

Jonathan Krinsky on Monday's Halftime said "the key takeaway" from the market's disaster is that long-term breadth and trend momentum "remain very favorable," so he's looking for oversold conditions.

Krinsky said, "We certainly could be bottoming today," but the "big picture" is that when markets make all-time highs in January, the year tends to turn out good.

He also said the VIX curve inverted Friday by the largest spread since the 2016 election.

Josh Brown said Krinsky made a couple points in his report, which will be "good armor for you emotionally."

Brown mentioned "euphoria" in the 39th minute and stated this is what "cools that off."

COH changed names in October; what’s stopping ‘Dress Barn’?

Stephanie Link on Monday's Halftime Report pointed out that CVX and XOM have been "horrendous" lately.

Jon Najarian said there's a "fair amount" of bearish put-buying in BP.

Stephanie and Josh Brown and guest host MCC got all tripped up over REITs and rates in a utilities conversation.

Scott Nations said Chinese demand for copper is greater than expected. Jim Iuorio said a settlement over 3.25 "green lights" a move to 3.40 "relatively quickly, in a week or so."

Stephanie Link touted TXT, a defense stock that she likes for the "business jet potential recovery."

Link said TXT has a chance at $4 a share earnings. MCC said it's presently at $1.13, "so that'd be a big increase."

Joe Terranova said Mario Gabelli owns around 2 million shares of TXT. (Mario also owns those sports teams, omg, gonna be worth so much money with the sum of the parts etc.)

Steph Link said BMY "changed the goal posts a little bit" during some of those PAT attempts in the Super Bowl over a drug trial end-market population. But she still likes the takeover possibility.

Joe said he's "not sure" on CHD and admitted "I'm not a big fan." Josh Brown said the increase in rates "changes the math" for stocks like CHD.

Doc noted the price action on AVGO and QCOM and cautioned that Intel chips might get picked over Qualcomm by "the iPhone manufacturer."

Josh Brown said CHTR is already up 15% this year and is equivalent to "Comcast minus the fear that they're gonna buy somebody big."

Josh Brown questioned why Coach changed its name to Tapestry. Stephanie said it happened "a couple of months ago."

Joe mocked SNAP's earnings. Josh Brown said expectations may be "zero" in this name.

Doc's final trade was NVDA. Josh Brown said SCHW. Stephanie Link said EBAY. Joe said CME. Actually, they all should've said the VIX, but whatever.

Morning’s ‘bad decisions’
look like genius at 3:30

On Monday's Halftime Report, Jon Najarian chortled about people who made "bad decisions" early in the morning regarding selling WFC and buying the VIX at 19-21 and selling the market down 320.

Around 3:20 Eastern time, the VIX was over 30 and the Dow was down 1,500. (Admittedly, WFC was probably still up over the early morning.)

Summoned for Closing Bell, Najarian said, "There was obviously automated, uh, cancellations of orders on the bid side, and perhaps, somebody being liquidated that was being front-run, that's what it looked like to us on our side, looking at our data, it looked like a very large order was being front-run."

He said it was "just a slam, from 800 down to 1,500 down, that 700 points came out of nowhere."

We'll have much more on Monday's Halftime and the Dow's megaslide just as soon as we catch our breath.

[Friday, Feb. 2, 2018]

Judge claims Pete played in the ‘World Football League’

The superstar guest of Friday's Halftime was Al Michaels, a gentleman of a legendary sportscaster who hopefully is not planning to retire anytime soon.

Michaels, gracious as ever, called appearing on Judge's show "the highlight of my week."

Judge said the Super Bowl "has the makings of a great game." Al said Nick Foles is "probably the X factor" and that "if Philadelphia plays anywhere near the way they played against Minnesota, why can't they win."

Al said Bob Kraft "has put together a heckuvan organization. ... They do things the right way." (Well, there was the time when they were videotaping the other teams' signals ... but whatever ...)

Also, it's even more heckuvan organization when rival teams (David Tepper's) cut their best players to join your squad for the playoffs.

Al impressively waded into the stock market, asking Judge's crew, "Should I buy the ETFs on steroids, which I'm doing right now," mentioning the FAS.

The panel interestingly advised against it, "not ever."

Josh Brown said, "The longer you hold the double and triple ETFs, the more they work against you because of negative compounding."

Pete Najarian said, "If it's extremely short term, you're fine."

Then Al said he's had the FAS "for like 9 years. ... Look at the chart." Indeed. It wouldn't be our top pick, but it's hard to argue with that one.

Al said he's got IBM, MSFT and AMZN, also "a lot of bonds."

He indicated his trading account isn't a big part of his portfolio, but, "I like to have some fun ... I love that tape going by every day."

Al actually recalled Dan Dorfman (on FNN, not CNBC), in what has to be the first time Dorfman's name has been heard on the channel in 10 years, calling Commodore International a "screaming buy." Al said he bought it, and "who was screaming a month later: ME!"

Al brought up WYNN. Josh Brown said if Steve Wynn steps away, "I'm a buyer," there will be a "negative headline at first."

Judge aired clips of Pete Najarian in the World League of American Football and bungled the title.

Not clear if Joe’s argument that market would follow AAPL is correct

Friday's Halftime Report (and 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin) put to the test Joe Terranova's oft-stated theory this week about AAPL leading the market.

On location at the Super Bowl, Judge indeed started off talking about that stock, but Pete Najarian quickly noted "the velocity of this move that we're seeing in the 10-year right now" and contending that has "really been pressuring" the markets.

Jon Najarian kind of ID'd the AAPL trade as both cause and effect; "obviously high-end phones were selling very well ... and then, the 2nd part, the 2nd shoe ... that obviously has a big pull on the Dow and the S&P. But it was far beyond that, it was focused on what the president just described releasing this memo as well as the interest rates that we discussed at the top of the show. So all that's a little bit of a witches' brew today. ... I think these Apple numble- numbers were phenomenal."

Josh Brown bluntly stated, "Let's not say that this is going to be an anchor that pulls down the Dow," pointing to AAPL being roughly flat in 2013 while the markets soared.

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin, said, "I do believe that Apple got drawn in with the overall market."

Whatever. Basically, everyone with the mild exception of Guy Adami was shrugging off this selloff like the Eagles' 4th-quarter pass rush on Sunday.

"It's not a negative; it's a growing pain," said Josh Brown. "Right now, we are not accustomed to 4% GDP prints, and that's showing."

Doc said markets are reacting very negatively to the rate moves because "it's all about time frame," and that if it those moves are "much slower," the markets will react positively.

Jim Cramer, in Minneapolis, said, "We're due." (So's Philadelphia.)

On the 5 p.m. show, Guy Adami said, "I don't think you have to put in a bottom on a Friday" and predicted "more pain early next week."

But Grasso said, "It's probably as good a day as any to put in a bottom on a Friday, because people wanna de-risk."

Guy Adami credited Brian Sullivan for saying this week, "The market likes to test new Fed chairs." Then why did the S&P shoot up 30 points days after Powell was confirmed?

Judge reminds Toni of what Toni told producers

Engaging in hyperbole, Judge on Friday's Halftime actually said regarding AAPL, "Sort of the worst fears of many analysts ... seem to be realized."

Judge brought in No. 1 Whatsoever Toni Sacconaghi, who said his AAPL estimates fell 8% for 2018 and 10% for 2019, and it would've been worse if not for tax help.

"When your earnings fall, our price target falls," Toni explained.

"We are a little bit nervous about the fact that Apple built, uh, quite a bit of channel inventory on a sequential basis this quarter. It was the highest build ever," Toni said, calling risk/reward in the stock "pretty neutral."

Toni said he could see the stock in limbo "near to medium-term," meaning 3-9 months.

He said people should have "kind of a market weight in Apple."

Judge though pushed back, citing pre-show conversations: "You do frankly say though, as part of the notes that you spoke with our producers (sic grammar) that you think this, the buyback that they could do, uh, a big one, if it bolsters earnings for the next several years, you say, you wonder if it's already in the stock. So you are looking out longer than near- or medium term for the impact of, of that sort of thing."

"I am," Toni said, explaining that bullish investors may be looking for a big buyback announcement in May, but actually, "They kind of already told us that last night."

Neither Judge nor Pete clued in viewers as to what Shipt is #lapse

Joining Friday's Halftime crew on location at the Super Bowl was TGT chief Brian Cornell, who expertly spoke in cliches and avoided anything controversial.

Cornell said the 4th quarter is "our Super Bowl" and that Target remodeled "over 110 stores" last year and that reaction to the downtown Twin-Cities store is "sensational."

Cornell also mentioned delivering products within a couple hours via Shipt.

Pete trumpeted how he knew the company wasn't getting killed "a couple of quarters ago" just because of sluggish grocery progress. Judge credited Pete for calling TGT a buy then but didn't mention Pete (and Doc) several times this month trumpeting UPS around or north of 130.

Guest likens NFL (positively) to company that went bankrupt, needed bailout

Judge on Friday's Halftime brought in Marc Ganis, who Judge said has been called the NFL's "33rd owner." We'd never heard that one before.

Ganis said the state of the NFL is "excellent with challenges." That's really going out on a limb.

Judge said he was "stunned" to see a survey finding the NFL "the 6th-most polarizing brand in America." Ganis said that came out months ago "in the middle of the National Anthem controversy."

Ganis actually said the NFL "was always considered one of the premier brands that we had in the United States. Right up there with General Motors and many of the others."

General Motors?

Jim Cramer called the NFL product "stronger than ever."

But Cramer said "of course" the concussion narrative is "terrible."

Ganis predicted a "fairly quick deal" for the Carolina Panthers, adding the price will "start with a 2" and probably be in the "mid-2s" and "shatter every prior (sic redundant word) record."

Curiously, Joe Theismann implies the Eagles will play better than the Falcons (who barely lost in overtime) but still likes New England

Judge on Friday's Halftime managed to squeeze in Joe Theismann at the end and brought up Super Bowl XVII.

Joe chuckled, "We can forget about 18; 17 lives in my memory."

Joe sought to draw a contrast between last year's Super Bowl losers and the team he expects will lose this year. "I felt like they ran out of gas late in the game, the front four in particular. That's not gonna happen with Philadelphia," Joe said.

Nevertheless, "I'm taking the Patriots," Joe verified.

Joe said he still likes financials and still sees "opportunity" in energy.

Doc's final trade was DB. Josh Brown said GOOGL. (This writer is long GOOGL.) Brown never mentioned ALB, which he used to talk about all the time but since November is utter disaster. (This writer is long ALB.) Pete said V. And Pete picked the Patriots.

[Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018]

Judge tripped up by Weiss over Ackman’s ability/capacity to pick CEOs

Judge announced on Thursday's Halftime Report that the Call of the Day is UBS' takedown of CMG.

Joe Terranova noted the price target is 290 while the stock is only at 310. "So I disagree that there's a sell call on this," Joe said, adding with a few too many backstory details that confused matters, "the biggest concern for this company" is that it raised prices a couple times recently, and that stifled traffic while the P.E. contracted.

Mike Farr said CMG has had a "cult following" but lost some of the cult. But Farr said "every one" of a group of students from Miami (Ohio) he met recently said he/she had been to Chipotle 3 times in a week. Farr said, "I wouldn't be short this stock." However, Farr said CMG has "too many headwinds right now."

Steve Weiss said what's interesting about the UBS report is that the analyst raised his numbers but to below consensus; Weiss argued it doesn't deserve this kind of multiple.

Judge tried to push the notion of CMG getting a boost from a new CEO as Bill Ackman weighs in.

"True. Ron Johnson is available," Weiss said.

"C'mon stop it," Judge chided. "They're not gonna whiff on- they're gonna get somebody that makes you say, 'OK. OK.'"

Weiss demanded they look at Ackman's record of CEOs. "I'm talking Valeant, too," Weiss said.

"He didn't put Mike Pearson at Valeant," Judge said.

"He bet on him," Weiss insisted.

"He didn't put him there," Judge said.

"He bet on him. That's as good as putting him there," Weiss said.

"Man, they got a search firm involved," Judge said. "I mean I just think that the, the, the risk on that is to the upside. Because he knows how important a, a new CEO uh, matters."

"I think he's a smart guy, I'm just saying, picking CEOs is not his forte," Weiss said.

"He's not picking 'em individually," Judge said.

"He's involved," Weiss insisted.

Joe Terranova cut in, stating, "It's gotta be Patrick Doyle."

Joe said CMG would "surge" if Doyle was named CEO, but Joe nevertheless questioned why CMG is raising prices while competitors are cutting prices.

Not done yet, Weiss and Judge revisited Ackman's CEO history. "I'm just looking at his track record at his prior company," Weiss said.

"OK. Ron Johnson's Ron Johnson! I mean, OK," Judge bellowed. "And he (that's referring to Ackman) would be the first one to admit that was a mistake. We'll see who he picks this time."

"Oh, so he's gonna pick 'em-" Weiss pointed out.

"He's not picking," Judge backpedaled. "We'll see who they pick."

The fight might've picked up at the very end, but Judge cut the last 10 minutes for Donald Trump's remarks.

Weiss suggests IBM, Kodak and Polaroid once had the kind of dominance that Apple does

Mike Farr on Thursday's Halftime said if the AAPL report is "not awful," then the stock "might hold in." (That's quite an endorsement.)

Stephen Weiss said the AAPL supply chain cuts that people are hearing about are "so astounding," and then he even mentioned IBM, Eastman Kodak and Polaroid, prompting apparently a look of scorn from Judge.

"I'm surprised, I never pegged you for a, for an Apple sycophant, but I guess you are," Weiss told Judge.

"That's a sycophant? I mean, how about a reality check," Judge said. "I mean you're talking about IBM, Kodak and Polaroid."

Farr said he can't buy AMZN because of "discipline" regarding valuation that has "saved me over years."

Joe Terranova said among AAPL, AMZN and GOOGL, if all 3 declined, AAPL would be the one people least want to buy.

Weiss said he'd buy GOOGL on a dip. Farr said he owns it and will continue owning it.

Joe actually floats the possibility of a 6-month correction

Suni Harford, guest panelist for a bit of Thursday's Halftime, said the rally is experiencing "growing pains," but she feels "pretty good" about it.

Mike Farr, taking a seat with the panel for the duration, said he's "lookin' at rates."

Stephen Weiss said, "Volatility's here to stay." But, "I don't think we're anywhere near recession."

Joe Terranova, repeating his provocative theory that we just don't think is particularly accurate, stated, "In the near term, where the equities market goes from here largely depends on what we hear this afternoon from Apple."

Farr said there's a "whole phalanx" of traders who have "never seen a bear market." (But every guest on the Halftime Report is familiar with 1929, 1999, 1987 and 2007.)

Joe said once there's a correction, you want to be "incredibly patient" in buying it; "it could be a lot deeper than people think." Joe even suggested a correction could last 6 months, and people would be "churning themself (sic) in a negative capacity." (And remember how people in December were hearing that some people were talking about January 2018 being like January 2016?)

Joe disagrees with Alan Greenspan's (snicker) contention of a "bubble" in stocks and bonds. (Judge never brought up Carl's Day of Reckoning however.)

Weiss said of Greenspan, "I don't blame him for feeling that way," because he's "married to what's happened in the past," but "that's not now." Judge impressively noted nobody is saying there's a bubble in emerging markets and that bubble is used "singularly" about the U.S.

Weiss said that Wednesday afternoon, he was "half-working" and "half-listening" to the FB call, and he saw the stock down $8 afterhours, "so I bought it, turned it around for a quick 11-point profit. Uh, that's the type of volatility that gets bought." (This writer is long FB.)

Really. Stocks that go up actually got "bought."

Joe touted MSFT and talked about Satya "talking about technology companies and trust." Suni Harford said tech momentum names are stocks that "you're not gonna short in any way, shape or form."

Joe said he doesn't like the refiners with oil at 65.

Harford likes emerging markets and said MSCI adds China A shares in June, something to keep an eye on. Harford still likes dollar weakness.

[Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018]

Erin Browne says stock market has already made half the year’s gain

Steve Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime Report contended that stocks are in a "small consolidation period," but that as we get into the heart of earnings season, "We'll probably take off again."

Weiss said, "The snapback's not all that convincing because it's losing steam."

He said he bought more BABA on Tuesday and "tried to buy some other things."

Joe Terranova suggested getting into GS. Joe actually said, "Howard Marks was excellent yesterday in highlighting the fact that it's not a time to add risk if you're long, stay long, there's no need to get aggressive." See, that's having it both ways, avoiding a "sell" call while professing caution. What's that line from Karen Finerman, if you go home long a stock, it's the equivalent of buying it at the day's close?

Joe said a correction would be "welcomed" but that the market is now "Apple-dependent."

Erin Browne said she thinks the market has "probably marked about half the gains this year, year to date thus far," but there's still "room to run" in stocks.

Kari Firestone said she wrote a piece for CNBC.com about the "absence of cynicism," so she is "very pleased" to see signs of cynicism this week.

Josh Brown reiterated that there's no better time for a correction.

Erin Browne said more and more money goes into low-vol funds, which "exacerbates the problem" when volatility picks up.

Josh Brown pointed out that stocks typically don't run in overdrive forever, asking, "Why should Apple add $50 billion a quarter? That's what it's been doing. It's up 200 billion in market cap over the last 24 months." (Psst: We barely know 2+2, but it sounds like 200 billion in 24 months would be $25 billion a quarter.)

Joe Terranova said the market is "building in the disappointment on the product side" for Apple.

Judge mentioned "euphoria" at the 3-minute mark.

Steve Weiss twice suggests Kevin O’Leary, or someone, is maybe kidding themselves

Kevin O'Leary on Wednesday's Halftime Report trumpeted BA and reiterated it's a "subscription" business now.

Kari Firestone said it's hard to commit new money to a stock such as BA with big recent returns.

O'Leary said he's not trimming because he's been studying balance sheets of companies he owns. Steve Weiss said, "Let's not kid ourselves though, I mean, Boeing is at a valuation that hasn't been seen, and part of that is from the market."

Weiss said the company has been executing, but "This is also a product of the bull market. ... Let's not kid ourselves. This isn't trading on its balance sheet. It's trading on a bull market with good execution."

O'Leary rebutted, "It's trading on my favorite term: cash flow. And that's why I own it. ... I don't see any reason to sell it."

Weiss questioned a Trump crackdown on defense spending largesse. O'Leary said "That's not what (sic) happening," stating Wilbur Ross is going around the world telling people, "You buy these planes from us."

3.0 is market’s scariest number,
unless ...

On the heels of the BA discussion on Wednesday's Halftime, Judge abruptly brought in Rick Rieder, who downplayed the notion of this week being a turning point of some kind in rates, stating they'll "keep trending higher."

Rieder said high yield could trade down a bit, but there's still demand for yield. Rieder shrugged off the possibility of 3.0% but said mid-3s might be a slowing issue.

Steve Weiss said that how the stock market looks at 3.0% depends on ... you know what it's gonna be ... how fast the yield gets to 3.0%. (At least he didn't say "whether it's rising for the right reasons.") Weiss said he's short the 10-year and the longer end.

Judge doesn’t bring up the experts’ campaign against Messenger Kids

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said FB is great at managing expectations but this could be time to "reset the table so to speak" in the wake of the announcement of the news feed changes. (This writer is long FB.)

In a curious line of questioning, Judge questioned how loyal Mark Zuckerberg is to shareholders. Brown said Zuck basically cares about everyone. Judge suggested "shareholders have dropped further down that ladder."

Kari Firestone said re-evaluating the news feed is "absolutely the smart thing" for Facebook to do.

Judge persisted with his theme, stating, "The guy's got half the money in the world. Maybe he doesn't care about shareholders as much as he did a few weeks ago." That's an odd one. Zuck's concern for shareholders has dropped precipitously in 3 weeks?

Joe Terranova grumbled that "Nobody talks about Microsoft," even though the Najarians (who weren't on Wednesday's program) do it all the time. Joe predicted MSFT goes "well north" of $100.

‘Zero interest’ in FL

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime announced that Oppenheimer is hanging a $70 on FL (snicker).

Kari Firestone wasn't impressed given the recent gains; Josh Brown credited FL's recent spike on "massive short interest ... every retailer's up 30%." Joe Terranova said he has "zero interest."

Joe said LLY had a great report, but "there's too much contention" in the space; he likes devices instead.

Judge said EA hit a "new all-time high" (sic first word redundant). Kari Firestone said she's been buying.

Josh Brown said he doesn't like JNPR and that "Cisco is better." (This writer is long CSCO.)

Steve Weiss said you've got time to buy BIIB.

Erin Browne said she's underweight utilities.

Jeff Kilburg said the 14-day forecast is "just crushing nat gas." Jim Iuorio pegged it to 2.80 in the short term and ultimately 2.50.

Erin Browne's final trade was emerging markets. Kari Firestone said SHW. Firestone said she bought SMG before it became a "pot play," and some of the growers have lost court cases that have affected the stock. Steve Weiss said FCEa. Josh Brown said GOOGL, predicting it has a shot to overtake AAPL in market cap. Joe Terranova said WMT.

[Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018]

Psychic-Tax prof is
targeting Facebook too

In early January, Judge conducted a lengthy Halftime Report interview with folks from Jana and CALSTRS about the curiously benevolent campaign to get Apple Inc. to revise the parental controls on the iPhone. (You can thank this page for keeping tabs on this subject given that Judge has utterly dismissed it since the interview dubbed by the Jana guy as "ridiculous" because Judge was relaying comments from Jim Cramer.)

We noted that one of Jana/CALSTRS' 2 academic expert partners, Jean M. Twenge, believes in a "Psychic Tax" that is levied on kids using the Internet NOT when a kid gets bad news about likes and followers but as that kid "anxiously awaits the affirmation of comments and likes." (See below; there's plenty there.)

According to the Associated Press on Tuesday, Twenge is one of numerous "child development experts and advocates" who has signed a letter "urging Facebook Inc. to pull the plug on its new messaging app aimed at kids," called Messenger Kids.

We took a look at the letter. It is addressed, "Dear Mr. Zuckerberg." It includes the assertion, "Social media use by teens is linked to significantly higher rates of depression." (We assume that study does not have cause confused with effect.)

So ... here's the deal.

It may be that social media use harms people.

Honestly, it's entirely possible. A lot of harmful activities have taken decades or centuries for society to figure out.

We don't know. We don't understand the infield fly rule, to say nothing of scientific theory.

The experts writing and signing these papers seem to think social media is fine for adults. But not kids.

Charles Penner of Jana told Judge this month, "As you get older the negative impacts that we're seeing with social media actually start to phase out, are gone by the time you're 30."

That puts social media in an unusual health category. Can you imagine someone saying smoking/soda pop/football is OK at age 30 and beyond?

Penner also said, "The research suggests actually limited levels of use actually ... probably beneficial; kids who use their phone about an hour a day actually have more positive mental health outcomes than, uh, kids who don't use it at all."

Those are interesting assessments. Can you imagine Dr. Spock stating that if a kid plays a little bit of football/smokes a little bit, he feels better than a kid who plays no football or doesn't smoke, and that by age 30, people who play football/smoke have equal mental health as those who don't; the losers are the ones who overdid it at age 16?

So here's what we had to wonder: If social media is driving children to depression, isn't this a dangerous product?

And if that's the case, instead of writing letters to Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg, shouldn't the signees be demanding congressional hearings?

We did Google searches for Professor Twenge and "Congress" or "House" and "Senate" and, after several pages listing media interviews, saw no hits indicating any testimony to Congress or any demands that Congress investigate these companies.

Among the signees of the letter to Facebook is the ACLU of Massachusetts (it's not clear to us how this is a legal-freedom issue) and the "Badass Teachers Association, Inc."

Still not sure why no one talks about Carl’s ‘Day of Reckoning’

And you thought eliciting an opinion from Mario Gabelli was like pulling teeth.

Judge welcomed Howard Marks to Tuesday's Halftime Report with a question about why the market is tumbling this week, and Marks answered, "You know, I've always been mystified by where people go to find out what made the market do what it did on a given day."

Well ... if you're asking questions about the stock market, isn't the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as good a place as any to start?


Josh Brown mentioned Marks' memo that floated the idea of a market so good, "that in and of itself, it causes a recession," and basically endorsed the concept.

Marks said, "I think you've hit on something."

Marks addressed the year-to-date gains. "I wouldn't call it euphoria," Marks said. "What you're seeing is complacency," he added citing the VIX.

Judge said he was leading a panel conversation Monday night and asked whether people are too bullish or not bullish enough. "And the feeling I got (was) ... we may not be bullish enough," Judge revealed.

Marks said, "The tax bill will put a lot of money in a lot of corporations' hands. ... But how are prices for stocks relative to that reality?"

Marks referred to the president as "Donald."

Marks said, "The market multiple is the 3rd-highest in history."

Then he mentioned 1929 (ding ding ding) and 2000 (ding ding ding). (See? Told ya it happens all the time!) (We basically count 1999/2000 as interchangeable.)

Marks pointed to P.E. ratios in the 20s and said he likes P.E. ratios of 6 or 9.

Marks said he only shorted a bond once, "and that was a trading error."

Joe Terranova asked Marks about the lower dollar. Marks said, "I'm not a guy who spends a lot of time thinking about currencies." (It was that kind of day.)

"I don't even think about commodities as an investment vehicle," Marks said.

Jim Lebenthal had to give up his seat to Marks, which means there couldn't be a debate about "sell point."

We'd have to say the Republican applause was robust enough for "Donald's" speech Tuesday that it's probably safe to put a cork in the "President Mike Pence" talk; they can talk about firing Mueller, liking Russia, etc., doesn't matter.

What happened to ‘too much euphoria?’ (a/k/a now it’s called ‘pent-up selling’)

Joe Terranova claimed at the top of Tuesday's sleepy Halftime Report that the new health care alliance was "clearly having an impact" on the stock market.

Stephanie Link said "It's about maybe just getting overbought."

Jim Lebenthal said it will be "healthy" if the 10-year gets to 3.0, 3.1 in the "context" of 2% inflation and sub-4% unemployment.

"I would love for us to have the correction now Scott, if we're gonna have it," said Josh Brown. "Let's get that conversation out of the way; I'm tired of it."

Josh Brown said the XLV, including Tuesday, is up 8.7% on the month.

Judge suggested there's "pent-up selling."

Jim touted CSCO, INTC and IBM. (This writer is long CSCO.)

Jim looked straight into the camera and said you should buy AAPL "if you don't own it."

Joe cautioned against "bond-like proxies."

Stephanie Link drew a contrast between UNH's scale of 46 million members vs. the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan coalition of maybe 1 million. "I think a lot of this is overdone," Link said. "I actually added to United Healthcare today."

Joe said PBMs "have a problem here going forward." He planned to buy TMO and BSX "on the close."

Addressing the Jamie Baker UAL call, Jim Lebenthal said there's going to be more demand for airline capacity; Judge still sounded confused and felt compelled to ask, "But is this call a good call."

"Yes it is," Jim said, "as a trade." Stephanie Link said to watch for oil prices. Link said it's hard for her to see multiple expansion in the airline space.

Judge said he didn't want to be a "flamethrower in any way," but he asked if Oscar Munoz is "in it for the long haul." Joe said, "Unfortunately, maybe he will be."

Jim said if Munoz isn't there, UAL has "plenty of lieutenants" to take his place.

Brian Stutland tied oil to the dollar's performance. Anthony Grisanti predicted a "62 print" before 69 or 70.

Jim's final trade was QCOM. Stephanie Link said GS. Josh Brown said JPM. Joe said "defense stocks."

[Monday, Jan. 29, 2018]

Jim covering his eyes after Weiss’ latest AAPL-non-innovation argument

Jim Lebenthal early on Monday's Halftime Report said "Apple's down, could be a buying opportunity."

To determine whether it actually is, Judge brought in Toni Sacconaghi (whatever happened to Tavis McCourt?) and proceeded to get even fewer answers ... than he was getting from Mario Gabelli.

Toni said the December quarter will be "fine." But that's not the issue. "Clearly, folks are bracing for tough numbers going in," Toni said, while waffling like l'eggo my egg'o as to whether guidance will be worse than expected.

Jim Lebenthal stated, "They reached in the average selling price with the iPhone X."

Jim said he's "not that worried" because those average selling prices aren't going down, and consumers will get used to a 4-digit price for their phone (snicker).

Steve Weiss butted in, "I don't see that; I don't agree with it." Weiss said the iPhone X last year was "ubiquitous."

Seizing the opportunity for another grand statement, Weiss called AAPL a company in "transition" and declared, "This company needs new management. Period." (Maybe he can join forces with Jana/CALSTRS and the Psychic-Tax prof and wage an activist campaign.)

Joe Terranova said AAPL has been a "product story," but if the stock appreciates in 2018, "it's a cash story."

Weiss pinned down Judge for a debate on whether AAPL is expensive; Judge expressed disbelief. Joe pinned down Jim as to whether AAPL does a good job "managing the cash." Jim admitted, "That's not my favorite compliment of Tim Cook." Weiss said, "The answer's no."

Weiss said holding huge amounts of cash is a "penalty" for AAPL. "They could've bought Netflix at 50 billion. They've done nothing," Weiss said, adding, "I've got a CEO who's been late with every product loss- uh, launch. Has not innovated at all since he's been there and has been a terrible steward of the cash."

"It does not need new management," Jim concluded.

Jim: 60% of every digital advertising dollar goes to 2 companies

Judge on Monday's Halftime yielded to Joe Terranova to outline the Citigroup 1,600 AMZN call. Joe gave a nice summary and concluded, "I'm not fighting the momentum."

Jim Lebenthal said the advertising angle to the AMZN call is interesting. "But something like 60% of every digital advertising dollar goes to 2 companies. Facebook and Google. I might have the exact number 60% wrong, but I'm in the ballpark," Jim said, explaining that AMZN entering the space is "gonna drive down price."

Kevin O'Leary said, "I think this call falls into the category of how can I just call a higher number and get lots of exposure on my call." As Joe predicted, O'Leary grumbled about AMZN lack of cash flow and dividend. O'Leary hailed how JKHY and OLN were getting a big tax benefit.

Steve Weiss said O'Leary's right, the analyst just wanted to "find a way to stay involved" after the stock hit his target.

Jane Wells summoned for 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin, expertly explains the WYNN/Steve/Elaine situation

Whew. Talk about a runaround.

Mario Gabelli on Monday's Halftime said he owns 300,000 shares of WYNN; he also owns MGM and recommends that one.

That much was fine. Then Mario started talking about how Massachusetts is the "question mark" for WYNN. Judge and Joe Terranova tried to get Gabelli to opine on whether WYNN is ownable without Steve Wynn. Gabelli never answered, simply repeating that there's no problem with WYNN in Vegas or Macau but there's a "suitability" (he said that about 3-4 times) problem in Massachusetts.

So there you go.

Judge on Twitter is entertaining debate on greatest jocks in individual sports

On Monday's Halftime, Leslie Picker tried to decipher the meaning of the Pershing Square leverage. Picker concluded they're "abandoning this kind of asset-gathering idea."

Steve Weiss said it's "so tough to turn the tide when you've had 3 down years." Joe Terranova asked Weiss if Ackman is not "at least doing the right things that you want to see" regarding fees, etc. Weiss said, "He doesn't have any choice."

Mario Gabelli called Bill's ADP venture a "mistake."

We got a ‘euphoria’ and ‘1999,’ but no ‘1987’ or ‘in and of itself’

Mario Gabelli, the special guest of Monday's Halftime, spoke of all the "cross-currents" in the stock market but said he's still "very optimistic" for 6-9 months.

Gabelli said it's not like 1999, but the animal spirits have really been "stoked."

Gabelli actually mentioned the elimination of the Uptick Rule. (And when is the government going to crack down on those oil speculators who are driving the price up?)

Joe Terranova said, "The year so far is playing out as scripted."

Steve Weiss noted how guidance was hitting CAT.

Weiss predicted "3% by mid-year" on the 10-year.

Jim Lebenthal said the 60 basis points between the 2-year and 10-year is "troubling."

Nevertheless, "Where else is money gonna go still," Weiss said.

Gabelli said he's interested in companies that make jets for private aviation.

Gabelli: Buying GE at 16

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime said options paper in energy has finally been getting it right, for a month or so. He said OIH July 32 calls were popular. Pete actually claimed he'd ride the trade "all the way up to and through that July expiration."

Mario Gabelli said he likes energy now and touted TWIN, prompting Judge to gush that this lightly traded stock was moving during the conversation.

Gabelli said he's a buyer of GE at 16. "Because I think they have a wonderful management in the engine business," he said, predicting in 2 years, the stock will be in the "low 20s."

Kevin O'Leary said he likes GE at 13, predicting it gets there on "more misery, more accounting stories."

Gabelli touted TXT and BATRK and MSG.

Steve Weiss' final trade was KBR and GVA. Jim Lebenthal said WGO, "a great buy right here." Joe Terranova said LMT, with defense stocks having "tremendous momentum."

Gabelli suggested FIZZ would be next for a beverage buyout.

Weiss: Friday ‘as close to euphoria as you could possibly get’

Steve Weiss on Monday's Halftime recapped the remarkable previous day of trading.

"What we saw on Friday was as close to euphoria as you could possibly get," Weiss said.

However, not everyone's aboard. Judge said Howard Marks will be at Post 9 on Tuesday and is going to say "the easy money's been made," which is basically what he was saying in August.

Much more from Monday's Halftime, including Weiss' call for new management at AAPL, later.

[Friday, Jan. 26, 2018]

Judge wonders if there’s
‘too much euphoria’

Opening Friday's Halftime Report, the crew struggled to find anything that's NOT working.

Josh Brown pointed to huge gains in NFLX and elsewhere and said "the sore thumb" this week is AAPL.

Judge keeps saying "new record" (first word redundant). It was only in the 2nd minute when he said Bank of America sees "nonstop euphoria."

Kate Moore said, "I think there's been a bit of a catch-up."

Judge asked Weiss if there's "too much euphoria."

Weiss reiterated, "This bears no relation to other times."

Erin Browne expects "incremental add" from retail investors as well as a "huge bid from the corporate side."

Jim Lebenthal recalled the "horsemen" of 2000, MSFT, INTC, CSCO, ORCL, and noted MSFT has tripled in 5 years and insisted INTC and CSCO are "just starting" to play catch-up. (This writer is long CSCO.)

Nothing against those names, but we're not sure INTC and CSCO are going to do what MSFT just did just because they were all megapopular 18 years ago.

Weiss asserted that analysts are just making calls based on the "best relative buy" among their group. But Weiss said "the market is discriminating," pointing to airlines recently and AAPL since the beginning of the year.

Weiss said of Toni Sacconaghi, "Frankly, he's late," and Katy Huberty "was late too."

Vinik: Probably 7th-8th inning

Judge on Friday's Halftime brought in Jeff Vinik, a prominent investor who unfortunately wasn't as great with Magellan as Peter Lynch was, who observed that stock markets have "looked good almost every day this year."

"There's a good amount of euphoria out there," Vinik said, mentioning Judge's newfound favorite word, but he didn't opine on whether there's "too much."

Vinik said it's probably the "7th or 8th inning" or "3rd period of this bull market."

Judge kept trying to get Vinik to make market calls, but Vinik mostly wanted to talk about how great Tampa Bay (the metro area, not the Buccaneers) is.

Judge cleverly tried to ask "what would be in" a Vinik fund.

"I don't know. I don't do that for a living anymore," Vinik said, adding, "I'm generally an advocate for index funds."

All Vinik would say about not sending NHL players to the Olympics is that it's a "complicated issue."

Judge said, "Sounds like you're shorting my questions."

Nothing more on Jim’s prediction that within 5 years, Amazon will be broken up like Standard Oil

Leslie Picker, back to talk about Bill Ackman on the Halftime Report, said Friday that taking a stake in NKE is "not necessarily out of the ordinary" for Bill.

Picker said the information on the NKE position came from someone who was at an investor dinner Bill held Thursday night. (That sounds good; we could've used a hot meal, the problem is, it probably takes at least a million dollars to get an invite to this one.)

"His traditional activist strategy has not necessarily been working that well over the last 3 years since he's posted losses in each of those," Picker added.

Jim Lebenthal said 51 or 52 was the "right price" to buy NKE (for those with a time machine).

"I'm holding it, OK," Jim said, adding, "I think it's overpriced right now."

Josh Brown identified a "substantial breakout" of NKE at 66. Steve Weiss pointed out UAA has "had no lift" and is "still very vulnerable to going lower." Weiss said he would sell UAA and wouldn't buy NKE at 68. But he bought BABA in the morning.

Jim argued that UAA is "getting to takeout value." Josh Brown pointed out the separate ownership class of shares. Weiss insisted, "The valuation's still egregious."

Jim persisted, "All you need, OK, is some international marketer to take the brand and say, 'We're gonna get this distribution thing in China done.'"

"You know what? They could package it with JCPenney," Weiss said.

"So seriously, if you're bringing that up, then you know I have a good argument," Jim said.

First time we’ve heard Joel Osteen mentioned on the Halftime Report

Judge on Friday's Halftime noted Goldman Sachs removed SBUX from its conviction buy list but kept the buy.

Steve Weiss said "this is a serial-missing candidate" that has made "terrible" acquisitions. That's a good point; we never could figure out why they wanted Teavana.

Weiss said Jim Cramer's idea of a separate company for Starbucks China is "a good idea."

Josh Brown said to focus on breakouts and breakdowns with a flat stock such as SBUX. Jim Lebenthal said that's "absolutely right," but, "It's reminding me of Nike."

Weiss said, "This is why it's not Nike. I can give you 4 coffee places, name brand I'd rather go to in New York than Starbucks. ... Starbucks is not a fresh concept anymore, it was. Not only that, they're on every corner."

But Jim persisted, stating, "Brand recognition is so similar for the two of these," a comment Judge wasn't buying.

"It's almost like you're making a negative case when you're trying to make a positive one," Judge explained. "Brand recognition is as strong as Nike, and yet, they're having a problem. What does that tell you."

Jim said it goes back to "pattern recognition." Weiss said, "You're coming off like Joel Osteen in this stock."

Andrew Left says TWTR is a buy over other social media names because he’d rather see Bill Gates tweets than pictures of Mark Zuckerberg’s barbecue

Judge on Friday's Halftime brought in Andrew Left via phone to talk about Left's new long, TWTR.

Steve Weiss wasn't impressed; frankly, we too had no clue why Left is suddenly calling this a buy.

Left said it's a "compelling platform for where it's trading," which doesn't really mean anything, and then he added, "I wouldn't be surprised if Tencent decided to go ahead and buy Twitter this year." (Didn't they put themselves up for sale a while back and found no takers?)

Left kept trying to insist it's a long because he'd "buy it lower."

Left actually said, "My favorite person to follow on Twitter is let's say Bill Gates" (a fellow who happens to be one of the business world's most boring individuals) and then, in a really strange argument for backing TWTR, said, "I really don't wanna see Mark Zuckerberg's dog or pictures of his barbecue." (This writer is long FB.)

He twice called TWTR a "much better platform" than Snapchat (snicker).

Steve Weiss was shrugging that Left is a "smart guy," then described this position as, "Let me pick a stock that I can buy, then go and tweet, that's ready to move and I'm gonna take advantage of that, and by the way, I'm not gonna tell ya how long I'm gonna be in there."

Yep. Judge got bamboozled into putting together this interview.

Seems like AAPL has slumped ever since Jana-CALSTRS and ‘psychic tax’ prof demanded better parental controls

Judge barely spent more than a soundbite on Friday's Halftime on the news about Steve Wynn, which if nothing else makes Ross Levinsohn's "hotness" list look like smaller potatoes.

Josh Brown said WYNN would be "a totally different story to investors" without Steve Wynn. "This could spell trouble," agreed Erin Browne.

Will Rhind, who has founded a new ETF firm, predicted 2018 will be a "good year" for commodities.

Josh Brown credited Rhind for eliminating "all the negatives of the existing commodity ETF marketplace," which are K-1s and contango issues. Rhind said his goal was to solve the problem of "high management fees" and "sub-optimal structures."

Erin Browne's final trade was European stocks. Kate Moore said older tech. Jim Lebenthal said IBM; "this stock has turned around, period." Steve Weiss said BABA and JD. Josh Brown said TWTR.

Sue Herera and MCC experienced a bit of dead air when Michelle joked about Nutella being delicious.

Mel introduced Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," which seems kind of a flip way of characterizing dozens of sex misconduct allegations over a decade.

[Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018]

Ackman, Icahn are a scratch for Judge’s commemoration of 5-year phone-call battle

We figured that because Judge was commemorating the 5-year anniversary of the Ackman-Icahn phone confrontation on Thursday's Halftime Report, he'd bring both parties on the program.

Instead, Judge brought Leslie Picker and former CNBCer Kate Kelly to reveal scorecards over the last 5 years (Zzzzzzzz) and express amazement over how the phone standoff happened. (Zzzzzzzzzz)

Finally, Judge got to the lede, revealing he actually wrote a book about this feud; "a look inside that war ... some of the stories have never been told before."

The book is available for pre-orders.

Of course, he should've asked us to edit it, but not everyone sets their sights that high. We're thinking this one's going to get a review, so Judge better have his ducks in a row. (If we find a typo ... or an "in and of itself" ... anywhere ... can't say they weren't warned.)

The description of the book on Amazon.com includes this line about Ackman-Icahn: "But what happens when they run into the one thing in business they can't control: each other?"

Really? The "one thing" Ackman and Icahn can't control is "each other"?

On Thursday, Judge brought in former CNBC hand Kate Kelly, who sort of switched places with Picker in going from CNBC to the Times and said the Ackman-Icahn showdown was "just surreal" but that she "had an inkling that day" that something explosive would happen.

Kelly suggested Bill's HLF venture was "probably a bit heartbreaking."

Kelly and Picker looked great. Hopefully both are thriving in current posts.

We heard from multiple sources 5 years ago that a huge amount of credit went to (and was deserved by) CNBC producer Max Meyers, who put the separate phone calls together.

Does anyone ask Terry Lundgren if he buys stuff at Amazon.com?

Lessee ... is it easier to predict a stock being acquired, or facing an antitrust investigation?

Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report said D.A. Davidson has given AMZN an $1,800 target.

Joe Terranova said it "could happen."

Really. A FANG stock could actually rise 33%.

Who knew.

Joe said he'll never question AMZN again on its ability "to finally show profit margin expansion."

But Pete Najarian said one thing to keep in mind is AMZN gets its margins from the cloud space, and "everybody wants that piece."

Jim Lebenthal said he can't buy AMZN as a value investor when its 100 multiple could go to 80 while it remains the same company.

Fair enough, but then Jim uncorked a drastically-overthinking-it-type-of-analysis, stating, "There comes a point in time where regulators will look at this within the next 5 years, regulators will look at this and say, 'Wait a second, this is exactly what Standard Oil was. This is exactly what AT&T was."

Seriously? Jim thinks regulators are going to declare AMZN the Standard Oil of 2023??

Did we hear Jim correctly?

Rather than offer the best argument — that this company unlike those others is enormously popular, possibly ... possibly ... the most popular company of all time ... and thus has nothing to fear on the regulatory front — Joe Terranova suggested that antitrust reviews are at the discretion of Donald Trump.

"I disagree with that," Joe said of Jim's prediction. "Why would they do that; it's driving the economy. Why would- this is a president that wants the economy and the stock market to thrive."

"I'm not talking about the president. I'm talking about the FTC or a similar regulatory agency," Jim explained.

"All I know is, I see those green Amazon Fresh boxes all over my neighborhood," Joe said.

"Yeah, yeah yours and everybody else's," Judge confirmed.

About every 3 days, Jim warns viewers against buying stock in Sears Holdings

Jim Lebenthal on Thursday's Halftime Report said the only names to avoid that he can think of are "some of the more desperate retail."

Judge pointed to what KSS has done. Jim said "this might not be the right time" to buy KSS.

Jim mentioned 2 possible roadblocks to the stock market, saying of the first, "I'm not scared of inflation," and then there's this summer's election cycle, but that's "5 months from now."

Grandpa Rob Sechan said it would be interesting if student loan debt could be rolled into mortgages he wanted to add that there's a "risk that expectations have ratcheted up."

Joe Terranova said "Caterpillar is the poster child for synchronized global growth."

Joe said GS might have had "the kitchen sink for FICC" and trumpeted being overweight financials.

Joe said $70 oil is not a headwind, pointing to nat gas climbing from 2.60 to 3.60 "in a matter of 3 weeks." Rob Sechan said rising crude brings more supply on the market.

Joe said currency competitiveness could be a "little bit of an inherent (sic redundant) risk" to the stock market.

Nobody said 1999 or 1987

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said SNAP will continue to go lower; it has "tremendous difficulties."

Pete Najarian didn't say "single digits" (we Fast-Fired him on that in our year-end review because Judge didn't have the brass to do it) but did say it's "not a good spot" for SNAP between FB and TWTR.

Pete said June 60 EEM calls were getting bought. Pete said PBR calls took off and he scaled down the position he was supposedly going to hold for a couple of weeks.

Reid Walker was the Portfolios With Purpose representative and noted that it's kind of an all-or-nothing tournament.

In a snoozer of a Futures Now, Jeff Kilburg said we're expecting other central bankers to react to the lower dollar. Jim Iuorio said if the dollar "closed below 88.20 or so ... it would suggest a lot lower."

Joe's final trade was "Texas banks." Jim Lebenthal said GM. Pete said T. Rob Sechan said IEMG.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Bitcoin, Guy Adami said it's a "dangerous game" for the president and Treasury secretary to opine on the dollar.

Karen Finerman, in sizzling new aqua top, said she bought MTW.

Jim: ‘Don’t be early
selling this rally’

A day earlier, it was "euphoria."

On Thursday's Halftime, it was, "Go big or go home."

Judge said earnings season is "littered" with great reports, prompting Joe Terranova to opine, "2018 is all about the strength and the momentum."

Jim Lebenthal topped Joe's glee, shrugging that the markets and VIX being up at the same time is a "total decoy" and adding, "The bottom line here ... it's momentum."

"Don't be early selling this rally," Jim advised, a day after Scott Minerd said the key is knowing when to get out.

Rob Sechan was the lone Grandpa, stating, "The recipe for market success is strong fundamentals and skepticism. I'm gonna tell you what's not out there right now. There is not a lot of skepticisim. We are all on the one side of the boat. We all agree that this is gonna be a great year." (Except Jeremy Siegel and Mike Wilson agreed just recently that it won't nearly be anything like 2017.)

Jim admitted skepticism is "really hard to find."

Sechan concluded, "If you're putting money to work, you wanna be patient about how you do that, and you wanna do that over time."

More from Thursday's Halftime later.

[Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018]

The key is to get out before the collapse (a/k/a Judge and Richard Fisher no longer combative)

This page noted Tuesday that we hadn't heard "euphoria" on the Halftime Report this week.

Judge made sure we did Wednesday, introducing the show with "euphoria" as the first word, pointing to "more record closes in a January than we ever have before."

The centerpiece of that argument apparently stems from none other than Scott Minerd's comments in Davos about how he's "troubled by the euphoria undergirding (snicker) the gathering."

Minerd also said, "The key is to know when to get out."

That prompted chuckling from ... yes, hard to believe but true ... Richard Fisher, CNBC's buttoned-down Fed watcher who in his most recent Halftime appearance accused Judge of handing him his most combative interview ever on CNBC.

Fisher noted Minerd's theory, "the key is to get out at the right time. Duh. I mean, we were, we were just laughing about that."

Moments later, he mocked it again.

Meanwhile, Kevin O'Leary said companies have never been "gifted" by the president so much free cash flow. "It's not euphoria," O'Leary insisted.

Pete Najarian carped about people saying tax overhaul was priced in. (Zzzzzzz. Last time we're posting a comment on that subject. #fairwarning)

Steve Weiss said we haven't had this kind of easy-money environment but doesn't think it's infinite. "People I speak to, whether it's Dave Tepper, whoever, look for an end or a cooling in 6 months, 3 to 6 months," Weiss revealed.

Judge even quoted Howard Marks; "I don't see a reason to be aggressive" (snicker).

Almost seems like Halftime guests get paid to say ‘1929,’ ‘1987,’ ‘1999’ or ‘2007’ (that must be how Bob Shiller really cashes in)

Richard Fisher on Wednesday's Halftime Report called the tax package "a huge boost." Not gullible to the euphoria, Fisher said, "I do think we oughta be cautious here."

Fisher, whose jokes about Scott Minerd's comment were as much a surprise as if Mohamed El-Erian shipped us his Top 10 Movies of 2017 List, predicted 4 rate hikes in 2018.

Fisher said he doesn't think Steve Mnuchin has the "same finesse" as Jim Baker.

Steve Weiss said he bought BABA calls.

Kevin O'Leary again trumpeted how Boeing is in the "services business" and asserted, "I'm buying cash flow."

Fisher sounded reasonable until he uncorked one of those years that has no relevance to anything, stating, "This lack of volatility and this seemingly uniform bullishness reminds me of portfolio insurance in 1987. ... That's when I made my money."


Judge doesn’t ask Toni about the Jana/CALSTRS prof who thinks kids using Internet pay a ‘Psychic Tax’

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report brought in Toni Sacconaghi for another ... not particularly specific assessment of the next AAPL quarter.

Toni said he did a "pretty detailed analysis" of AAPL's supply chain and thinks there's a "very real risk that numbers are gonna come in meaningfully below consensus."

That doesn't sound good.

But wait. There's more.

"Revenues probably end up being a bit lighter than we had envisioned before, but EPS, with tax rates being lower, could be higher," Toni explained, adding "it's difficult to know how, how folks might react to that scenario."

Toni said the iPhone X price was a "dramatic increase."

Judge never asked Toni about the Jana/CALSTRS campaign to get Apple to save kids by improving parental controls on iPhones, a sign of the traction (or lack thereof) of that initiative. Judge merely told Toni the stock will "suffer" if it guides "well below consensus for their bread and butter product."

Toni said "the challenge is that Apple never guides to iPhone units let alone to any type of unit."

So, we really don't know much of anything, including the iPad subscription plan that Toni was touting a year or two ago that Judge never challenged.

Pete Najarian didn't say "Katy Huberty is better than Toni Sacconaghi" but did gush about "absolutely astronomical" Apple services growth. Sarat Sethi said the danger is "you could get an investor base that changes." Kevin O'Leary shrugged that "there's a floor on the stock."

O’Leary could’ve asked Jim Lebenthal (whenver they’re on the show together) why Jim thought BA was overextended in the mid-200s

Stephen Weiss, who recently lambasted UAL management, said on Wednesday's Halftime, "Munoz has to go."

Weiss said United's report indicates "the old way of looking at the airlines is the right way to look at 'em, which is you rent them, and they always screw it up, they add too much capacity."

Kevin O'Leary asked why "airline guys" such as Weiss "continue to get abused this way" when they can own BA. Weiss said he's "made some great money in the airlines," claiming he had "a 5- or 6-bagger in American."

Judge said Oscar Munoz in the Tuesday conference call predicted Wednesday's stock slam and calls it a buying opportunity.

Judge said Jim Cramer said the United earnings report "was like the biggest joke of a call he's, he's ever heard."

Sarat Sethi said he's keeping UAL, though it could go "a bit lower." He said you can "drive a truck" through UAL's wide earnings guidance.

‘Euphoria’ is mentioned,
and so is GE

Seema Mody on Wednesday's Halftime reported on RCL's bonus plans.

Pete Najarian said February 12.50 calls in PBR got bought.

Pete backed the Nomura buy call on MSFT. He calls the 102 target "very conservative quite honestly"; he sees it going "far higher" than that level.

Kevin O'Leary said Satya has delivered on "100%" of his promises.

Brian Stutland hung a 69 on crude, if not higher by year end. Anthony Grisanti said he attributes the rise to a weak dollar and said 65.55 is next resistance. Pete said he took half of his XOM position off. Pete mentioned the DAL refinery.

Sarat Sethi is still selling GE; he just doesn't wanna be there. Steve Weiss said just because a stock collapses doesn't make it cheaper. Kevin O'Leary said the price to buy it is $12-$13 but said it's "almost a good short here."

O'Leary added, "Take it behind the barn and shoot."

Weiss' final trade was DAL, saying it shouldn't be thrown out with the bathwater. Pete said KR. Sarat said NVS. Kevin O'Leary said Asian and Europe stocks.

[Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018]

Stocks on ‘staircase’ to heaven

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report admitted he and "many people" were talking at year-end about "potential for a 2016-style selloff that you had in January of that year."

It's wonderful that Joe is honest; we never understood what prompted "many people" to deem this strange possibility worth talking about.

Because it hasn't happened, Joe said, it looks more like another 2017, "where you don't really do anything other than climb the staircase higher."

Joe noted "emerging markets are still doing incredibly well."

Josh Brown said he thinks the Street is "in shock." He noted last year at this time, chief strategists were expecting a strong dollar and favoring U.S. over international stocks. Brown said the Nikkei is at a level not seen since 1991. He noted the dollar's at almost a 4-year low.

DoubleLine's Jeffrey Sherman told Judge that Friday's 10-year yield close of 2.65% was above the 2017 high. He said the one holdout is the 30-year, but it's at "criticial junctures," so he expects rates to push higher.

Sherman said the global growth story "is very accretive for commodities."

Karen Finerman, in exceptional new hairstyle on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, admitted she has felt "chumpish" at times but said that historically, "it's always been OK to buy at a record high, because here we are."

Another day without ‘euphoria’

Addressing the NFLX train on Tuesday's Halftime, Jim Lebenthal stated, "There's nothing stopping this" and that a couple billion more in debt would be a "drop in the bucket."

Jim said someone told him you might want to fade NFLX over 250. He and Josh Brown agreed it wouldn't be a huge pullback.

Brown said NFLX didn't really have an earnings beat, but a "subscriber beat."

"The subs are growing because of the spend," Brown explained.

Brown said if NFLX in 2007 had focused on profitability, it would look like Pandora now.

Stephanie Link called NFLX a "secular grower" that's "first to market."

Scott Devitt, who has a 283 target, stressed NFLX's pricing power and pending incremental leverage from its "global TV platform."

How come Jana/CALSTRS and their prof who detected the ‘Psychic Tax’ aren’t clamoring for more parental controls for TWTR users?

Scott Devitt, who dialed in to Tuesday's Halftime Report to cheer NFLX, said Anthony Noto's departure (Zzzzzzzz) is a "pretty painful loss" for TWTR.

Joe Terranova said he noted last week that the TWTR price action was concerning, so there was "some advance knowledge of this probably." (Usually they only say that when they notice the "options paper.")

Joe called Noto's exit "not a good thing" and said the quants have left the stock.

Judge speculated whether Noto would leave just before a quarterly beat. Somehow we doubt that the shape and timing of the current quarter would have anything to do with whether to take a better job.

Josh Brown noted that previously "indispensible" people such as Adam Bain have left the company. (Remember when Bob Peck was on the show once a week to predict Dick Costolo would get ousted and then that the company would succeed because of its "cadence" of new products?)

Joe said Noto's move will make him think twice about SQ and whether Jack Dorsey will need to spend more time on TWTR. That seems like a little bit of overthinking things.

Tom Lee’s calling a 2029 peak

Stephanie Link on Tuesday's Halftime marveled about how she's often expecting EL to pause only to see it keep going; "the trends are definitely there for beauty," and she's going to hang on to it.

Joe Terranova called ABBV the "clear winner in the space."

Stephanie Link grumbled that JNJ's margins were below expectations. She said she added AGN a week and a half ago.

Jim said Link's buy in AGN "caught my eye." Jim predicted T will be "distracted" this year by the TWX situation.

‘Look out below for copper’

After speaking with DoubleLine's Jeffrey Sherman, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime curiously made an abrupt left turn to industrial stocks.

Stephanie Link said she owns EMR and SWK. Josh Brown said the 3 best charts in the space are FTV, ROK and SPXC. Joe Terranova suggested HON.

In the latter half-hour, Judge turned things over to David Faber for an interview with Lowell McAdam; Faber asked what VZ will do with tax-overhaul cash, and McAdam indicated they're spreading it out over a bunch of things and that employees will get some restricted stock.

It wasn't exactly the most exciting interview of all time.

Pete Najarian said the EEM April 51 calls got bought. He also said FXI March 53 calls were popular.

Bob Iaccino said copper is in "probably a short-lived selloff." Scott Nations contended, "It's look out below for copper."

Stephanie Link said she was buying FB "on the news" recently when it was "10, 15 points below where it is now." (This writer is long FB.)

Joe's final trade was VZ. Stephanie Link said AAPL. Jim Lebenthal said NKE. Josh Brown didn't mention the Barking Dog of the Last 3 Months, ALB. (This writer is long ALB.)

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money gushed about how much safer the big tech stocks are vs. the big biotechs and said Alphabet is her biggest position.

[Monday, Jan. 22, 2018]

CNBC not interested in Rise Above campaign this time

In a thin episode of the Halftime Report on Monday occasionally interrupted by D.C. news, Judge said "the market seems unfazed" by all the shutdown activity.

Josh Brown said markets tend to be flat during shutdowns. Brown noted an all-time high in the XBI.

Brown said risk appetite is at "incredibly high levels."

He referred to the 87 level in the 14-month RSI in the S&P 500 and said Ari Wald says markets typically top a year after those RSI gains.

Joe Terranova cautioned about the "debt limit issue" if this gets pushed to mid-February and said the deadline for the debt limit "is a little bit uncomfortably close."

Judge and Jim Lebenthal said it's a "kick the can down the road" situation.

Ian Winer said fear of Democrats taking Congress "is going to be an issue as we get later in the year."

John Harwood at one point said, "I think the crisis is going to lift in the next few minutes, but it's not going to go away." Harwood predicted "well over 60 votes."

Harwood said Donald Trump "is very, very unpopular."

In another tiresome chapter in Judge's endless parlor game, Mike Santoli suggested rates aren't going as high as people think, but as for whether they hurt the stock market, "obviously it depends how high they go."

Judge delivered the signature cliché: "I think most would be fine with rates rising for the right reason."

Josh doesn’t think Anthony Noto is nearly as important as Anthony DiClemente thinks he is

Judge on Monday's Halftime brought in Anthony DiClemente via phone to discuss rumblings of a key TWTR departure.

DiClemente said it would be "really difficult" for TWTR to replace someone of Anthony Noto's "caliber" and even said it'd be a "pretty terrible outcome" for TWTR investors.

DiClemente called Noto "an architect of Thursday Night Football."

Josh Brown questioned what kind of "track record" the stock has under Noto and asserted that the stock has actually rallied since Jack Dorsey came back. DiClemente said "cost controls" have improved EBITDA and can be credited to Noto, as well as "sustained improvement over key audience metrics."

Judge asked if TWTR has had a "punk move" in 3 months.

A show without GE
— or ‘euphoria’

Waffling like l'eggo my egg'o on Monday's Halftime, Joe Terranova said to "get a coin" on NFLX earnings.

Jim Lebenthal said he thinks the stock goes higher on earnings.

Bernstein's buy on LOW was the Call of the Day. Jim Lebenthal said "there may still be room to run" because even though it's up 30% in 3 months, it's only up 50% over 3 years; he suggested that "you nibble a little bit."

Joe Terranova said he doesn't see a reason to sell LOW as long as there's momentum. But Ian Winer said he's not so sure it's a buy at 106. Josh Brown agreed with Winer and questioned buying at an 89 RSI while it's up 14% in 2 weeks. But Brown agreed with Joe that it's not a sell.

Pete Najarian, via satellite, said February 24 calls in HBI were getting bought. Pete also said someone's buying this Friday's January 60 calls in DAL.

Pete (who predicted a home game Super Bowl for the Vikings) said there was incredible activity on Dec. 20 in JUNO calls. We don't have any record of that coming up on the Halftime Report that day; Doc on Dec. 20 mentioned CBS, FCX and THC.

Judge brought in Kari Firestone via satellite. Firestone's apparently a Patriots fan. (Gee, isn't that exciting cheering for 5-yard passes all day.)

Firestone likes EA, which she said is trading at a discount, a 23 multiple vs. historic 28. Jim Lebenthal said it's not a "1-trick pony" because it's got Madden and FIFA as well as "Star Wars" something or other.

Joe Terranova called JNJ and ABBV strong names. Jim Lebenthal finds VZ interesting. Judge promised Lowell McAdam on Tuesday.

Ian Winer's final trade was AOBC. Josh Brown finally brought up ALB, a disaster for several months, stating he's still long. (This writer is long ALB.) Jim said MET. Joe said he's long MAR but will sell "a little."

[Friday, Jan. 19, 2018]

Could Dave Tepper save
the Pittsburgh Steelers?

In the wake of one of the most embarrassing playoff games in NFL history (for one of the 2 teams), Mike Florio at profootballtalk.nbcsports.com reported that "a small group" of limited partners of the Pittsburgh Steelers want to see a coaching change.

We don't know which of the limited partners are calling for change.

We do know that David Tepper is one of the limited partners.

And if he's not calling for a coaching change, he should be.

Mr. Dan Rooney ... God bless that gentleman ... one of the finest figures in sports as was his dad ... his dad didn't care about winning, but Dan did, and when Dan was given the reins of the franchise in the late 1960s, he looked up the top coaching candidate in the NFL, Chuck Noll, and convinced him that things were going to be different in Pittsburgh. Noll signed on, shored up the roster, ushered in a succession of some of the most staggering drafts in history with a great deal of credit to scout Bill Nunn, and produced perhaps, given the stature of pro football, the most spectacular glory in American sports.

Many years later, Dan realized that Noll's time had passed and made the difficult but necessary decision to nudge Null into retirement. The result was the hiring of Bill Cowher, quite possibly the greatest coach in NFL history (and even once a guest on Fast Money). (Seriously.)

Dan has passed on, and the franchise is helmed by his son, Art Rooney II, a modest gentleman and presumably capable businessman. Unfortunately, he is presiding over a disaster, a God-awful team that embarrasses itself virtually every week, the phoniest 13-3 in NFL history.

At the ground level, which means the product on the field, the Steelers are one of the worst-run outfits in the league. There are talented athletes here for sure, but some of them often don't seem that interested in playing, and some would never be welcome on a Noll or Cowher or Belichick roster.

It would take way too long to list all the problems. (Cutting a legend, still one of the team's best players, so he can join the New England Patriots at the end of the season has to be near the top of the list.) Laughably, replacing the offensive coordinator with the quarterbacks coach only adds to them.

We know the coaches try. We don't know honestly why it's so bad. But it is. This team doesn't know what it's doing.

Here's why that all matters now. The greatest gift in sports is an elite NFL quarterback, one of those half-dozen individuals in the entire world who are difference-makers in the NFL Playoffs. Most franchises go decades without one. When you don't have one, you can generally forget about the Super Bowl. When you do have one, you have to maximize every moment you've got with him.

The Steelers still have one. He is going to be 36 entering next season. He has a bizarre moodiness that is sometimes part of the team's problem. He's also one of the greatest competitors in NFL history. As long as he's standing, they've got a chance.

Once he's gone, don't expect the team to find the next Aaron Rodgers. It'll probably be more like the next Tommy Maddox.

The team doesn't need the next Don Shula. It only needs a fresh start with a credible boss who can hang it up after a couple years. We've got a few names, if anyone needs some names.

It's one thing if a fan feels emotionally brutalized by this monstrosity. It's another to be a paying stakeholder.

Someone please tell Mr. Rooney.

Mike Wilson has heard the chatter from all 4 million clients (apparently) (while Tom Lee makes a 2029 market call)

Judge started off Friday's Halftime with Mike Wilson, telling Wilson, "You're throwin' around the euphoria word."

That proved to be a curious and elusive term.

Judge questioned why we're not in "reality" rather than "euphoria." Wilson curiously faulted the "quality" of earnings growth.

"There's no doubt that the quality of the earnings growth we're gonna get this year is lower than it was the last 2 years," Wilson said.

Really? "No doubt?" And what does that actually mean?

Steve Weiss asked Wilson for his "indicators" of "euphoria." Wilson said, "I got a list of 'em."

Wilson said his top 5 indicators include "AAII bull-bear spread." Weiss questioned if that's "relevant." Wilson said it is, for sentiment.

Wilson also said he's got 16,000 advisors, and 4 million clients, and, "Yeah, the chatter is pretty euphoric, I mean people are really reaching now for that, for that kind of activity."

People are "reaching" for euphoric "activity."

Wilson also declared that volatility is starting to pick up this week; "the VIX is quietly kind of creeping up."

Then he said, "You can't hold as much risk if volatility goes up."

Weiss quibbled with Wilson over exposure, with Weiss finally stating, "Just because you moved higher in your exposure, right, doesn't mean you're at euphoria yet."

"It's all subjective, I agree with you Steve," Wilson said.

Jim Lebenthal said that if this is euphoria, "We're early in euphoria. And you know what, you're supposed to enjoy that. As soon as it starts, you don't just head for the exits," an undeniably accurate point.

Judge asked, "Can you truly be in euphoria with a 10-year at 2.63?"

Wilson also curiously said he's got 2 targets.

One of them is a 2,750 "base-case, year-end" target. He's also got a 3,000 "bull case" and thinks "we think we could actually hit that in the first half."

So it sounds like, if stocks go up, "I was saying 3,000 all along," and if they don't, "I had 2,750 all the way."

"This is not a better risk/reward than last year ... because this is the end of the cycle," Wilson said.

Tom Lee was also on the panel, quietly. Lee, who's got a 3,025 target, said, "I think that it's important for investors to think long term" and cautioned against "misallocation of capital."

Most importantly, Lee told Judge we're in something like the 4th or 5th inning of the bull market; he thinks it's "more like 2029 is the peak of this equity market cycle."

Wilson said he agrees with that from a "secular bull case" but not from a "cyclical bull case."

Josh Brown asked for the "right answer" about stock and bond allocations. Tom Lee pointed to negative interest rates in some bonds, "Even in equities, you can buy things that have better yields than bonds anyways."

Wilson said, "I think that stocks are gonna beat bonds handily, particularly on a real basis, over the next 7-10 years."

Brown countered, "There are no 10-year periods historically where you've had a cyclically adjusted P.E. ratio anywhere near where it is, and stocks have done better than bonds. None."

Oddly enough, Weiss seemed to agree with Wilson's timing even if not the term euphoria. Weiss told Wilson that "people see ... a finite end to this next move in the market, generally picking, like you are, and like I agree with, the 2nd quarter of the year is when you know the music really stops."

The more Wilson talked, the more curious his market call sounded.

"This is a secular bull market, OK," Wilson said. "And this is the first half of the secular bull market. You're not gonna get 1998-99 euphoria in the first half of the bull market. That comes later. Maybe many years from now."

So apparently we're having a little euphoria, but not the really big euphoria. That may be years away.

"The QE era is over," Wilson continued, and we'd like to get that in writing. "OK. And the QE era favored large-cap companies. And, over-regulation, OK, favored large-cap companies," Wilson said, predicting operating leverage in small caps will "shine through this year more than large caps."

Josh Brown noted "dramatic moves" in utilities and real estate yield plays. Wilson spoke of how he made the shift at the beginning of the year from U.S. to international stocks and "sold the rest of our high yield." (See, he's never made a wrong move.)

Wilson asserted, "We think the credit markets ... have much worse risk/reward than stocks here." He argued, "Rates are going up in the short term ... but at some point in the back half of the year, rates are likely to come down again."

Judge also asked Wilson if the market would sell off 5% in a shutdown. Wilson said "it could get there because things are so extended."

So let's see if we've got this straight ... we're in "euphoria," and that will continue up to July, except volatility is picking up, and you can't "hold as much risk" if volatility is rising, even, apparently, if we're in "euphoria" ... and then there may be a shutdown, in which "euphoria" would take a 5% haircut before re-establishing itself. Then starting in July, rates and stocks will both fall. But the big "euphoria" is still to come, perhaps years away.

Jim Lebenthal argued that CSCO and INTC are among "plenty of stocks" that are "well below the market multiple." (This writer is long INTC.) Weiss said those names are "always below the market-." Jim said, "Not by a 20% discount."

Josh Brown said, "You think a low multiple is gonna protect investors if we go to the other side of euphoria?" Jim said, "We're not anywhere near the other side of euphoria."

Weiss said he would "love to see" a 5% correction.

Weiss: Flannery is no more qualified to run GE than I am

Judge on Friday's Halftime noted GE, everyone's favorite disaster stock, fell to 16.02 before bouncing.

"Why would you wanna own it," said Steve Weiss. "I think you just avoid it, and you come back to it maybe in 6 months when it's closer to 10 or 12."

Judge re-aired Bill Nygren's GE comments from a day ago. "In what universe should this company be at a market multiple," Weiss asked.

Josh Brown questioned buying a falling knife such as GE "in a market where 9 out of 10 stocks are going up."

Jim Lebenthal made it unanimous, stating, "There is clearly more bad news coming," adding, "The day when bad news comes out and the stock rallies, that's when you buy it."

Josh Brown suggested maybe you could buy "the day Warren Buffett makes a loan to them for preferred stock."

Weiss said Flannery's been there "22 years or so ... and apparently he's surprised about what he saw. ... He shouldn't be running this company any more than I should."

Important note: We like to dump on this stock, too, because it's kinda fun, but we're not taking any pleasure in anyone taking losses on this stock or any other; we've had our share of bungles, and they're never any fun.

Weiss: KSS, TGT are ‘euphoria’

Judge on Friday's Halftime noted KSS got a $100 target (snicker) from Jefferies.

Steve Weiss said "he had to go out to 2020," the "he" meaning the analyst, but Weiss said the call is "reasonable" even though Weiss is "skeptical."

Jim Lebenthal said the problem is, "We know there are store closings coming this year."

Josh Brown said KSS is up 100% in 6 weeks and has an RSI of 84.

Tom Lee said Chuck Grom thinks KSS will "maybe partner with a grocery company" (snicker).

Weiss said KSS and TGT are "just so extended. That's euphoria right now."

Brown asked Weiss, "Did you buy that coat at Kohl's." Weiss said "No, I don't think Kohl's sells real (something unintelligible)."

We thought it's a great jacket.

Judge says ADT’s IPO is ‘touché’ to the euphorians

Seema Mody on Friday's Halftime explained ADT's IPO slide.

Judge said, "That's a bit of a disaster," which seems a bit of an overstatement.

Stephen Weiss said the company was "challenged" before it was taken private, and it was a "pretty quick turnaround for the IPO." Judge told Mike Wilson, "Touché to your euphoria."

Eamon Javers reported that Chuck Schumer would visit the White House on Friday.

Pete Najarian, via satellite, said February 22.50 calls in DSW were getting bought.

Pete said FCX February 22 calls were getting bought, "all in one print."

Josh Brown said to stay long SQ.

Mike Wilson said AXP's spending is "really good for the long-term growth but probably not so great this year."

Jim Lebenthal said to stick with NKE and avoid the "value trap" of FL.

Weiss explained why Jefferies initiated WYNN at "buy."

Pete said he likes IBM and will sell calls against it next week. Jim said he agrees; "margins are fixable."

Pete said "it's gonna be fun" watching the Vikings play in Philly this Sunday.

Jim predicted INTC will "move to new highs" after earnings next week.

Weiss said he'd love to see NFLX miss on sub growth, which would be "the time to buy."

Weiss said "CAT would be in my top 5 of indications of euphoria ... the stock should not be where it is."

[Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018]

Judge’s next interview with Ross Levinsohn is probably ... at least a few years away

Back on Aug. 22, former CNBC contributor and newly installed Los Angeles Times publisher Ross Levinsohn spoke to Judge on the Halftime Report with starry-eyed visions of reporting in video or "shorts" and thinking about California "culture" and turning 2 times EBITDA into 10 times EBITDA.

Nowhere did we hear an emphasis on "damage control."

Less than 6 months into these endeavors, Levinsohn is already under investigation by his parent company after an NPR report about his alleged "frat-boy" behavior in previous work environments.

One thing we sorta realized in August is that Levinsohn — who has been an eloquent CNBC guest and appears to be a talented person, though that has no bearing on the current issues — seems to have worked for gobs of media companies. The biography that remains posted at latimes.com dubs him a digital media "pioneer," but it seems as though "stopgap" might be a more relevant term.

We're guessing we probably won't see Ross on CNBC for a while.

Panel unanimous in not understanding why Bill Nygren continues to own GE

Bill Nygren, whose GE bull call last year was obviously a bungle, impressively owned up to it on Thursday's Halftime, telling Judge, "It was clearly a swing and a miss."

Unfortunately, it sounded a bit like Bill's still in denial.

He said "typically" he'd sell that kind of disaster, but the company has had "tremendous change in people," and the problems are "largely contained in the power division."

"We like the new people," Nygren said (which is curious because Flannery is sort of a GE lifer), asserting the assets should get high multiples in sales.

Judge asked Bill if he's buying more GE on the dip. Bill curiously said, "We've been buying and selling ... we are rotating through adding shares, subtracting shares." Finally, he said, he has "more shares, smaller percent of the portfolio."

Nygren said he puts a higher multiple on GE's jet and health care businesses than others (probably Stephen Tusa) do.

On other stocks, Nygren said he exited MSFT because he sees "better long-term opportunities." He mentioned AAL and CVS and PCLN as new buys.

Judge told the panel that "Bill has a great track record" and was "very contrite" about getting GE wrong.

Kevin O'Leary said that a year ago, the company was guiding to about $1.97. "And then, I don't know how this happened, but all of a sudden within a matter of 6 months, it was a dollar gone. Evaporated. ... How is it that they don't have a class-action suit on that dollar that evaporated. And Bill made a point that there's been a lot of change in management. I don't think so. The new guy came out of the business. He was part of that board. ... I think the stock is worth 13 bucks."

Stephen Weiss bluntly stated, "I think the stock's more of a short. I wouldn't buy here. I agree they should've brought new blood in. Flannery was complicit in the decline of this company."

Judge hailed Jim Cramer for "carrying the flag for shareholders" of GE. Weiss chipped in another observation, that "health care grew organically 4%," which isn't huge, and noted Nygren's claim of high multiples. "When you're a fire-sale seller, how do you get more for your assets?" Weiss wondered.

Jon Najarian stated, "I'm not second-guessing Nygren. Brilliant guy. But I am saying that I like Microsoft a hundred times over General Electric. Not- a hundred out of a hundred times, I'll take Microsoft and jettison, which I made a bad buy on, I bought J- GE at 20.50. Um, you know, luckily got out with most of my backside intact at 18 bucks a share. Um, it's, it's a horrible slide in that company."

Pete Najarian said there's more competition for GE in aviation "than Nygren actually is thinking there is."

Judge said, "If it goes from here down to 13, I know you guys are gonna tell me, 'Don't do it.'"

Pete said it depends on whether the company has "done something."

Regarding other Nygren picks, Doc said people don't focus on PCLN being a lender.

Still wondering why CNBC isn’t doing a ‘Rise Above’ campaign this time

Steve Liesman on Thursday's Halftime predicted this market is "not gonna be spooked" by rate hikes.

Mike Santoli said "sentiment is very stretched" but said "all the news is good."

Pete Najarian said the week's volatility is "significant" and "huge."

But Judge noted the VIX was hardly moving.

Jon Najarian said there's been a "binary bet" on whether there's a shutdown.

But Steve Weiss said generally the market trades down an average of 0.6% during shutdowns; "that's nothing to worry about."

Kevin O'Leary said of the recent roller-coaster ride and climbing VIX, "I think this is great." But Doc said if the government kicks the can to February, "Then watch how fast this goes right back to 10."

Weiss said "rates have typically ended rallies when they've risen quickly." But, he said, "Real rates are still ridiculously low."

Everyone kind of agreed that tax reform isn't fully priced in yet.

Judge actually said "buyback" is "like a dirty word around here."

In a couple of admittedly good laughs, Doc called Steve Liesman "ratings gold." Partly related, Weiss said, "The makeup room ran out of makeup when I got there after these 4 guys."

Whew — no one told to ‘Piss off’

Brian Stutland on Thursday's Halftime said bitcoin has had "significant selloffs" over the last 3 years from mid-December to mid-January.

Anthony Grisanti said, "I would sell any rallies."

Meanwhile, every quarter, Doc reports heavy call-buying in SNAP; this time it's the February 15s. Judge said, "This sounds like a dice roll, Doc." Doc said it's a "really cheap shot."

Doc said April 25 calls in ON were getting bought.

Pete Najarian said July 210 calls in AAPL had "pretty big buying."

Pete said March 105 LOW calls were popular.

Kevin O'Leary said IBM's business may be "more of the same." Pete said he's been long "for a little while" and he sells IBM calls "almost every month."

Pete said he prefers TGT to WMT. Kevin O'Leary said TGT has got "really smart young people" and is going to do "amazing things online."

Steve Weiss' final trade was to sell WDC. Doc said MSFT. Pete said AAL. Judge mistakenly referred to Pete's voice as "Bobby Brady" before being corrected that it's "Peter Brady."

[Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018]

Dan Nathan tells Rich Ross
to ‘piss off, seriously’

Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money apparently produced a spontaneous personal argument between chart expert Rich Ross and options watcher Dan Nathan.

Ross had delivered a presentation on bitcoin and ethereum technical levels; frankly we didn't really know what he was trying to say.

Ross then took a seat at the desk. This is somehow a daily highlight for this program, cheering the guest walking over from a TV screen to the desk (that's when they're not taking the 5-minute break at the 24-minute mark) ... except maybe things aren't as chummy between panelists and guests as they might typically have you believe.

Ross took up Melissa Lee's question about "weak hands" and said he likes stocks a whole lot more than cryptocurrency, a much more concise point than what he was trying to say with the telestrator.

Nathan called Ross "Chris" (then corrected himself) and argued that a lot of "smart people" think cryptocurrency is the next big thing.

"I just think it's a little glib to come on here and say, you know, say things like-" Nathan said.

The "g" word didn't go over well with Ross. "You guys like it when we fight, so let's fight for a little bit," Ross said, asserting, "Smart people can go broke too."

"But the charts are gonna save 'em, right. The charts are gonna save 'em?" Nathan said.

"What's gonna save 'em," Ross said. "You've been bearish for 2 years, and the stock market's gone up 100%. So where are you? You're not helping people make money. I mean, let's call it what it is. You haven't liked Trump, the market's soared, and the politics aside, you've been wrong, so don't say that I'm glib. It's right or wrong. It's not about glib or serious."

Guy Adami tried to cut in on behalf of Nathan, "Well now that's, that's not true ... I think Dan's done a good-"

Nathan told Adami and viewers, "We're good. We got, we got, you know, we got the chartist here, he's got his stick, and it's, and it's fantastic, pal." Then tone suddenly changing before Ross could respond, Nathan bellowed, "Don't come on here and tell me I haven't made- you don't know what I've done, you don't know what my, my call is, OK, so go piss off, seriously."

"OK. Well tell me, what's the call now?" Ross demanded.

"Dude. Seriously," was Nathan's call.

"OK. A tough moment here on Fast Money," Ross concluded.

Then someone — guess who — announced, "We're gonna leave it there." (As opposed to "gotta.")

Had there been any reason for this particular discussion other than to talk about bitcoin as much as possible, we might've gotten all jazzed about it.

But there wasn't.

Joe suggests stock market is going from Tim Wakefield to Aroldis Chapman

Assessing the 2018 stock market, Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Halftime invoked a curious baseball analogy.

Joe said that investors last year were "stepping to the plate in 2017 and using what's relatively a light bat against a 75 mph pitcher. OK, now the 95 mph pitcher is there. And you're going to use a lighter bat in 2018."

Jim Lebenthal stressed that individual stocks will continue to be "far more volatile" than the broad averages.

Jon Najarian opted to revisit his comment a day earlier (when Jim wasn't on the show) about how Jim was talking about how the market could fall in January (even though others talked about it just as often, see below).

Wednesday at Post 9, Doc addressed Jim and said, "Yesterday Jim I was talking about you on the show. Not in a bad way."

"It may have been bad, but he turned it good," Judge said.

Doc attempted to clarify (or "amplify" as Senator Geary says in Part II), explaining that "smart men ... and women" were "pointing out things that might happen in the new year." (Lessee ... stocks could go up ... stocks could go down ... stocks could be flat ... such wise commentary ...)

Sarat Sethi told Judge the Tuesday pullback is already a "distant memory."

Dan Nathan on the 5 p.m. Bitcoin Money said he saw "a lot of panic buying" on Wednesday.

Doc suggests Goldman Sachs traders need a pep talk

Uncorking sports analogies right and left, Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Halftime said GS' performance in commodity trading is equivalent to "the New England Patriots going 2-14 next season."

"I don't understand what's wrong, because Morgan Stanley was fine," Joe said.

Jon Najarian was equally perplexed and called for some cage-rattling. "You'd like to have a guy like Nick Saban go after these guys," Doc suggested, before questioning, "How did you guys screw this up so bad?"

Doc even suggested "Lloyd needs to get down there on the trading floor ... to get these men and women's heads right."

Joe opined, "I do think they miss Gary Cohn."

Meanwhile, Judge said Bank of America upgraded AAPL to 220 while Longbow downgraded it to neutral. Jim said they have "identical estimates" for this year's earnings, so the question is the multiple. Jim said he doesn't think 15 1/2 is too much.

Joe said he doesn't see why anyone would sell AAPL here.

Jim said he'd like to add to his IBM half-position and is looking for confirmation from this week's report, declaring that if the revenues are growing again, this stock "is going to be heroic."

Jon Najarian said the Barclays analyst made a "really brave call" to upgrade IBM because he/she raised the target by 59 bucks.

Joe mentioned SAP and CRM and suggested ADBE too. He suggested IBM at 190 would put AAPL at 210, 215.

Judge said Stephen Tusa "maintains his, his sell" on GE with a 16 target. Joe reiterated seeing opportunity in UNM and CNO in GE's slump.

Jim buys ROKU

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime said his new buy is ROKU, "not a typical value stock," but he likes it for recurring services revenue.

Judge said it's down 21% in a month and suggested it "could be a little dangerous" getting into it ahead of the lockup. (Actually SNAP recovered nicely after the lockup occurred.)

Scott Nations said stock investors shouldn't "pooh-pooh" the idea of bitcoin contagion to stocks. Anthony Grisanti said he'd be a seller of bitcoin and even hung an 8,000 on it.

Pete Najarian likes the MRK SunTrust upgrade, stressing the pipeline. Jim said he likes PFE; Pete said he likes both. Pete predicted "more and more" in the pharma M&A space. Judge said MRK made "kind of a lame move for an upgrade." Jon Najarian explained that it made the move a day earlier.

Doc said MRO July 20 calls were getting bought. Doc said the EFA (for developed markets) February 75 calls were getting scooped up. Doc said HAWK got taken out at 45 while he reported Jan. 4 the calls getting scooped up at 35.

Pete Najarian said February 7 calls in AKS were getting bought on top of others previously bought.

Judge said special guest Sarat Sethi's fund made 26% last year, outpacing the S&P.

Sarat said FRC has been oversold. He also touted CELG as an opportunity. He even mentioned Hudson's Bay (which trades in Canada).

Sarat also touted DAL, and he thinks "there's more room to run" in UAL.

Pete's final trade was UPS. Doc said CORT. Jim Lebenthal said INTC though he admitted that when it comes to the chip flaw problem, "I don't know if they fixed it or not." (This writer is long INTC.) Joe said TXN and lamented selling it at 81.

[Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018]

Unfortunately for GE, Rex Tillerson is not available to buy stuff for XOM

David Faber, at Post 9, spoke on Tuesday's Halftime about his report on a possible GE breakup.

Judge said it "almost feels" like Flannery (in his highly scripted news release) was "buryin' the lede." (Except CEOs will try to "bury the lede" on purpose, whereas when reporters do it, it's a bungle.)

Faber agreed he had to go "deep into the transcript" to dig up the big news.

Judge hailed a conversation "2 weeks ago today" with Jim Cramer in the morning when Cramer "so smartly as usual" said it's still not time to get in the stock. Actually, it closed that day at 17.98 and has exceeded 19 since, so it was a great call for anyone who doesn't like quick 5% returns.

Joe Terranova noted UNM and CNO were both selling off with GE; "today's pullback is an opportunity for both."

Stephanie Link complained that GE not only has power-unit problems but "tax dyssynergies" (if that's the right way to spell it).

Judge said people are "waiting for Stephen Tusa, um, to come out and say it's OK to buy."

"His sum of the parts is 15," Steph said.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on euphoria even though no one can really describe what it is

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, Jon Najarian hung Jim Lebenthal (who wasn't on the show) out to dry, stating Jim's a great guy and all, but, "Jim Lebenthal right here was saying, 'Well you know, we could see a lot of folks coming into the new year selling,' and so forth."

Actually, we don't know who was most fixated on that idea, but Josh Brown and Joe Terranova were heard to suggest in December that people were talking about this.

Regardless, Joe said Tuesday, "Stay long. Don't buy more here. I think that's the message."

Judge said, "People are throwin' out the 'euphoria' word."

Joe asserted, "The market clearly has gone parabolic." He said you can "buy in" to the momentum or "sit back" and stay long.

Joe noted, "The VIX is up 11% today."

Josh Brown admitted that some of his assessment of euphoria in the market is "anecdotal." He said BA put in a "textbook topping candle" and that it's a chart people are paying attention to.

Doc said "euphoria" usually occurs when volume spikes to 150% or 200% of daily averages. Stephanie Link protested to Josh that earnings are good and "maybe you get a pullback," but then you can buy the ones posting good numbers.

Despite that, "We are now at the highest, uh, at the highest level vs. the 10-month moving average in the S&P than we've at- been at in 5 years," Brown said.

Doc said, "There are some people a little worried" but that an 11 VIX is "cheap."

Stephanie Link pointed to UNH as an example that earnings are coming up big.

Joe cautioned against a "tip" in the balance of world currency too far in one direction.

Josh Brown said "this tendency that we all have as human beings" to overrate recent performance and forget things that happened in the past.

Judge said there hasn't been a "full capitulation" of bond bulls.

Josh Brown said people have been "freaking out" about a bond meltdown for "most of the last 8 years."

Mike Santoli was brought in and noted the market was in "overshoot" for a long time, from 1997 to 2000, but "those gains didn't survive the next bear market."

Judge noted that stocks went up for 3 1/2 years after Greenspan's "irrational exuberance."

"It would take nothing at all to spark some kind of a pullback," Santoli asserted.

Judge promised Grandpa Mike Wilson (he didn't say "Grandpa") later in the week. (Funny how often he’s on these programs.)

Steve Grasso warned on the 5 p.m. Bitcoin Money that the market could sink if Steve Bannon starts talking.

Wonder if any Nobelists will sign on to Jana/CALSTRS’ iPhone initiative headed by prof who detects a ‘psychic tax’

Dom Chu on Tuesday's Halftime noted Greenlight was shorting CAT, AMZN and NFLX in its "bubble basket" (snicker).

Jon Najarian said February 47 calls in TER were hoppin'.

Nili Gilbert said the S&P 500 has had a positive total return for 14 straight months, a first.

Gilbert actually spoke about Nobel winners' analysis of "herd behavior." She also mentioned "recency," which Josh Brown had curiously mentioned previously in the program. (So if there really is a "recency" bias, how come so many people come on this program and talk about A) 1999 B) 2007 and C) The first 2 weeks of January 2016 and D) 1987 rather than the last 2 quarters?)

Joe Terranova's final trade was MCK. Stephanie Link said AGN. Doc said GPK. Josh Brown said "calm down."

Evidently the CEO-of-2-companies thing actually works

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report noted David Einhorn's "small position" in TWTR and suggested Einhorn thinks "the tide seems to have turned here."

Josh Brown said he hopes that's the case and thinks the company needs to break the cycle of a good report followed by a bomb.

Joe Terranova said TWTR is a "momentum trade" in the hands of "quantitative players" but called Tuesday's price action "disappointing."

Jon Najarian faulted the upgrade from Aegis Capital, stating, "the guy went from sell to buy," meaning he was "dead wrong."

Judge said "some are also suggesting" a boost for TWTR from the new FB policy (snicker). (This writer is long FB.) Stephanie Link said that's "apples and oranges" because "Facebook has announced this kind of thing 3 different times."

Cabbage Patch Kids slide

Scott Nations on Tuesday's Halftime Report noted bitcoin was down 18%.

Nations asserted that "bitcoin has no inherent value," so the bull case is that it's "extranational," but "if that's not the case, I don't see any value at all in it."

Jim Iuorio said as long as bitcoin is below 12,200, "it looks weak."

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Friday, Jan. 12, 2018]

Tom Hanks, 61, should retire

Steven Spielberg has never made a great film. There have been some good ones (most recent was 1993); the rest maintain an emperor-has-no-clothes quality undetected by the masses who see 1 or 2 films a year and tend to seek him out for reliable ... something or other.

The latest is "The Post," which is supposed to be a late-in-life coming-of-age story of a woman asserting (according to this film's depiction) wishy-washy control of a business enterprise by determining which male's advice is most important.

It could conceivably work as a tribute to newspaper reporting (a valid goal), if not for the as-expected ghastly spree of Spielberg-trademark jokes and self-deprecating humor expressed by his A-list stars who have zero edge. It's the same old glossy photography from Janusz Kaminski, who in a few places jerks around a hand-held camera to give you that sense of that pressure and uncertainty. Nearly all the scenes look like the one above, as Hollywood is unfortunately fascinated with soft gray tones and window glare (including in "All the Money in the World," an entertaining film shot by someone else).

The script pretends to find drama in an IPO pricing at $24.50 instead of $27 because of "soft" demand (the term "roadshow" is even heard; not sure if that was common in 1971) and stacks and stacks of sheets of paper that have already been disseminated by another media entity. Oh, and there's everyone's beloved Washington dinner parties, all these cool people talking about ... maybe something mildly fascinating. (Or maybe not.) (Remember when Larry Kudlow attended the Obama meal at George Will's house?)

No scene is more saccharine than the sight of an anti-Vietnam War protest that looks like it was put together by Better Homes & Gardens.

Tom Hanks is hideous as Ben Bradlee. He has nothing to do in this picture. He should've hung it up after "The Terminal" (yep, that's Steven Spielberg), a candidate for the century's worst. Instead, he's like Steve Carlton making a go of it with the Minnesota Twins. Meryl Streep surely doesn't need the money either.

Spielberg is hailed by those who frankly haven't seen many other movies and don't want to be aware of what else is out there. The greats don't have to be obscure. Do yourself a favor and try "All the President's Men" instead.

Remember when Barack Obama in January 2009 decried Wall Street bonuses, then in March 2009 mentioned AIG bonuses, then didn’t seem to care anymore?

Mike Mayo joined the set of Friday's Halftime, gimmick in hand as usual, to argue it's "Act 2 for the banks" after 25 years of Act 1 (though we're not sure what occurred before that).

Judge told Mayo, "I'm gonna start callin' you Marty from now on. As in Scorsese."

Mayo said the tax overhaul is "great for the banking industry." And now isn't that interesting.

About 9 years ago, nothing was more hated than the bank industry. Wrecked the economy. Greed. Jail (or not). The president of the United States faulted the sector for its compensation format.

Now, the government is doing things that are "great for the banking industry." (So much for outrage.)

Judge asked Mayo why Citi is underperforming. Mayo said it's "half-U.S.," so there's less of a tax benefit, and there's "some issues with their credit-card portfolio."

In the day's most provocative discussion of what we have to admit was a robust, excellent show, Josh Brown asked Mayo, what if AMZN and FB decide to enter the banking business.

Mayo answered, "There's absolutely a long-term fintech thread to the banking and financial industry," which is Mike's way of suggesting that Brian Moynihan is as Internet savvy as Jeff Bezos.

Brown asked if banks should be reinvesting "in the future of payments" and lending rather than paying big dividends and doing large buybacks. Mayo responded with a question. "Who are some of the biggest fintech players? The largest banks."

Steve Weiss jumped in on Brown's side, stating "that doesn't eradicate the threat" because of the "name value" of AMZN and FB if they chose to enter financial services.

Nevertheless, Weiss said he doesn't think it happens with Amazon because "the regulatory scrutiny that it would bring to these companies would be just mind-boggling."

See, that's where Weiss and this program are once again underestimating the FANGs ... These companies are quite possibly the most popular American corporations that have ever existed. Politicians do not want to mess with them. These are not Microsoft of 1999. They can do practically ... whatever they want.

1,000% wrong: Weiss is just about to make the most important comment of the show, then is cut off

Uh oh.

Someone on Friday's Halftime Report not named Weiss had the audacity to identify David Tepper's strategy.

Judge had noted how several prominent investors recently had endorsed this market.

Josh Brown seemed to question the relevance of those calls, stating, "David Tepper's strategy is not, um, to be, to be out of the market, um, even in a downturn."

"Hold on, hold on, hold on," Steve Weiss cut in. "You're a thousand percent wrong on David Tepper. You are a thousand percent wrong on David Tepper. I'm intimately familiar with his strategy. Dave could be net short the market," Weiss said.



That's really, really being wrong.

Brown persisted, "Warren Buffett has over a hundred billion of cash. It's the biggest stockpile he's ever had. Is that a raging bull."

"But Warren Buffett has come out and said when the market's overvalued," Weiss said, apparently implying that Buffett indeed is not shy about calling markets overvalued when the urge strikes.

A moment later, Weiss was about to deliver what would've been the most important revelation of the program: "I spoke to Dave last night, he says this goes for another ..."

But he was talked over/cut off, and after multiple listens, we still don't know what goes after "another."

"Another" WHAT???

Meanwhile, Erin Browne opined, "Firstly (sic), I think that the Fed is not gonna respond to a level on the S&P 500 (snicker). ... It has nothing to do with the level of the S&P 500."

Judge asked Browne if she would put "fresh money" in the market. Yes, said Browne; "we were long, we're getting longer."

"I'm not selling anything until I see that turn," said Jim Lebenthal.

Weiss actually brought up Howard Marks (snicker).

Literally, they don’t, but he’s got a point

Judge opened Friday's Halftime mentioning "new records" (sic first of those 2 words redundant).

Steve Weiss said the market is "incredible" but "a little scary."

But Weiss said it's "OK" to buy on Friday. He said he added to DAL and even "bought back United" (which he recently called the worst-run consumer company he's ever seen) because of the "momentum" in transports being "so strong."

Weiss said he also bought KBR, and he "tried to buy" EME, "but the volume's so light."

Josh Brown suggested considering the RSI when looking over stock charts and cautioned about buying those over 70. Brown said the RSI of the S&P 500 is "over 80."

"Historically, from a shorter-term basis, you are not rewarded for buying 80 relative strengths in these names," Brown said.

Jim Lebenthal suggested there's attractive pricing in the "chip sector" and cyclicals including GBX.

Jim suggested no rate worries until we get to 3-plus. Brown said it's not good to focus on a number, but "it's the conditions that surround whatever number."

Judge asked, "What is euphoria gonna look like?"

Jim said, "A parabolic move," contending, "This is not a parabolic move."

"With all due respect, yes it is," Brown said. "Yes it is. Geometrically, it's parabolic."

"You're looking at a linear scale, not a logarithimic scale," Jim explained.

"Literally, charts look like the Em- charts look like the Empire State Building right now," Brown said.

Actually, they don't, but whatever.

Erin Browne asserted that "the retail community's been behind the curve, missed this rally." She added, "I'll be convinced that we're at peak euphoria when the retail community is involved in this (and) invested in this market."

Josh Brown said the AAII survey this week is "at a level we have not seen in a decade."

Weiss called that a "useless survey," explaining, "It's such a small sampling of investors who don't even invest," namely retirees.

Weiss said the P.E. on the S&P 500 is "nowhere near euphoric levels" and said "you can make the argument that the market hasn't caught up with the economic conditions globally."

Judge hears 2 humdrum non-opinions on FB but can’t reveal his sources

Anthony DiClemente on Friday's Halftime Report took up the new Facebook news-feed approach and said when FB has a dip, "it's typically a good time to buy the stock." (This writer is long FB.)

DiClemente said "the real loser here are publishers, so public pages."

Ross Gerber said FB's move is "great news" and that Facebook is being "very smart" because we want "social media, not fighting media."

Apparently seeking more drama from his guests, Judge said he's "trying to figure out how this is not a game-changer" for FB because "the top line is definitely gonna take a hit."

DiClemente said "the impact to revenue is unclear" but that the ROI for marketers placing paid ads "is still quite high." DiClemente suggested users will like the changes; "I mean, look, Facebook's become annoying to a lot of people."

Gerber said, for no real reason, "I heard a rumor Sheryl Sandberg was bragging the other day that she thinks Facebook's gonna be bigger than Apple."

Judge told the panel "this is a pretty good debate" because he "talked to a couple of very big names in the world of technology, um, neither of whom I can say who they were, however, their views are, are opposite."

Jim Lebenthal said, "This in my opinion is great leadership." (He was referring to Mark Zuckerberg, not Judge.)

Steve Weiss said, "Here's how I look at it, they've got a quarter coming up. ... If I'm Zuckerberg, I'm gonna come out with this announcement that's gonna be controversial, perceived as negative obviously by the market, and I'm gonna blow away expectations when I report the quarter ... He doesn't want to dilute the good will that'll come out of the quarter ... otherwise why not hold it for 2 weeks."

Josh Brown said, "We're talkin' about the wrong stock. ... Twitter is the stock right now." Indeed, Gerber said, "This is great news for Twitter" (snicker).

Elsewhere, DiClemente has a 1,350 target on AMZN. "The voice search business, as driven by Alexa home assistants, I think is gonna be much bigger than people are, are expecting," he told Judge.

Judge gives Jim a hard time about JCP, never brings up great call in WGO

Taking up those parabolic/not parabolic charts in the retail sector on Friday's Halftime, Stephen Weiss declared, "I don't think it can last."

Josh Brown said he agrees and noted retail pays the highest tax rate of any sector and there's been "pitch-black sentiment," so the bounce makes sense, but "none of the real challenges ... have been alleviated."

Jim Lebenthal decided, "We're not gonna talk about JCPenney." Judge said Jim "opened the door" to talking about it; Judge noted it's at $4. Jim said in retail in general, "You still have too many stores."

Weiss noted Matt Boss had a 51 target on KSS, so he either had to "get off the train" or "find a reason to upgrade."

Josh Brown questioned why retailers would be talking about returning capital to shareholders; Jim said some of them need to pay the debt holders "if they're going to survive."

Just wondering if AMZN is causing as much trouble for pre-age-30 Internet users as it is for major retailers (anyone ask Jana about that?) (a/k/a Judge wears a different tie every day (cont’d))

Pete Najarian, remotely, claimed on Friday's Halftime that people were saying oh, the tax cut's already in the market KR and TGT were going to "go out of business" because of AMZN, and now look at how they've recovered.

So he doesn't think AMZN eliminates the banks, "they just make the banks that much better."

Honestly, we haven't heard a soul say KR and TGT were going out of business, because of AMZN or anything else. (And if Amazon makes everyone so much better, explain SHLD and JCP.)

Pete said OXY February 77.50 calls were getting bought after the 74.50s were getting bought. (What if Amazon gets into deepwater exploration and ...)

Jon Najarian said May 24 MRVL calls were popular. He also said February 17 THC calls were getting bought.

Everybody chuckled about Pete pressuring Mayo to upgrade WFC.

For final trades, Josh Brown said he thinks TWTR "works short term and long term." Erin Browne said the XLI. Jim Lebenthal said C. Weiss said JEC.

[Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018]

VRX touches 24

Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime reported on Pershing Square slashing fees by "about 15%" after 3 years of negative returns.

But Picker said the fee reduction has more to do with a "rebate" to Allergan investors.

Stephen Weiss, who thinks Tepper would never be caught with such numbers, said, "Most firms can't survive 3 years of down numbers, particularly given what the market's done." He's right.

Meanwhile, Eamon Javers on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said a word you don't hear on CNBC every day.

Cabbage Patch Kids might be at risk of slipping below 5 figures

Thankfully, the Halftime Report, to Judge's credit, mostly ignores bitcoin and leaves that nonsense for Mel's gang, which unfortunately is only too happy to oblige.

Nevertheless, it got our attention on Thursday's Halftime when Anthony Grisanti said 11,300 is "the next spot" of support for (snicker) bitcoin. "There's a lot of other cryptocurrencies that investors are goin' into," Grisanti explained.

Jim Iuorio said "technically it looks fairly weak," and he might short it if it gets to 14,280.

Remember, Doc’s only
expecting 7-8% this year

In perhaps the only skeptical comment of Thursday's Halftime Report, Stephen Weiss said "some of the valuations that we see are ludicrous," pointing to CAT.

Tom Lee sat in with the group; he raised his S&P target to 3,025. Lee said it reflects earnings growth of 13% and "some P.E. expansion."

Then he invoked the "base case" mumbo jumbo that allows strategists to hide behind multiple forecasts. "I think 3,000's a good base case," Lee said.

Lee tried to bring up his "CRAP" trade.

Josh Brown said energy has had "an incredible start to the year."

Brown noted the wave of dollars into ETFs. Rob Sechan agreed with that and said people today invest in ETFs, "they invest by renting beta."

Everyone talked about how great banks are; Weiss seized the chance to tout the IUSG again.

Sarat Sethi said SCHW and MS have had a nice tailwind; "these stocks have moved, but they haven't moved like they really could."

Grandpa Mike Wilson showed up not on Judge's show but Mel's 5 p.m. edition and grumbled that tax cuts are already priced in. Wilson now says the market will "overshoot" in the first half of the year.

Karen back on 5 p.m. Fast Money, makes extensive case for DAL

Thursday's Halftime Report spent some time on the "psychic tax" that's plaguing teens who post photos on iPhones and don't get as many likes as anticipated thus prompting Jana/CALSTRS to step in airlines and oil.

"I did buy Delta. I sold United," said Stephen Weiss, cautioning about oil but noting Delta bought a refinery a while back. (That used to be Pete Najarian's favorite thing to say on the program, now it's, "How about how everyone said, 'Oh, the tax cut's already priced in.' Well, it's NOT priced in.")

Sarat Sethi said he gets the oil concern for airlines, but "capacity is so full right now," and he sees business spending.

Judge noted the tax benefits for airlines who get most of their revenue domestically. Jon Najarian spoke of how the tailwinds for the sector, including taxes and business spending, might be greater than thought.

CNBC superfox Karen Finerman, in her first appearance on the 5 p.m. Fast Money in seemingly weeks, touted DAL and said "there's so many good things that happened on the conference call; I loved how excited they were."

Meanwhile, Doc touted CVX's exposure to the Permian. Josh Brown pointed out the oil stocks haven't done as well as oil has. Brown recalled when panelists were talking not that long ago about whether Chevron's and other dividends are safe, and now CVX might churn out $7 billion in cash flow after the dividend.

Pete Najarian trumpeted how oil is working and said, "We don't want to have FANG leading the markets." Sarat Sethi said "the one downside" to crude is "we know shale comes back at these prices." Doc also mentioned "Russian elections in March." Judge said, "The other part of this is the dollar."

Doc said KMI January 19.50 calls were popular. He said April 140 UPS calls were getting bought.

Pete: DLTR may ‘plateau’

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said he got into DLTR at 93 back in November, but he wonders if it's about to "plateau."

(Pete also apparently bought COP a long time ago on a dividend cut selloff. He's just never wrong.)

Pete said March calls in BAC were getting bought.

Sarat Sethi said XPO could "potentially be in play."

Stephen Weiss said homebuilders should "continue to go."

Jon Najarian said he likes EXPE and called the upgrade a "great move."

Rob Sechan said he thinks transports can keep rollin'.

Josh Brown's final trade was MA. Weiss said JEC. Doc said NRG. Sarat said DAL. Rob Sechan said KRE and MLPA.

[Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018]

Jana’s Apple-letter science partner links child’s use of computer to child’s use of a power saw (and by the way, what’s a ‘psychic tax’?)

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Judge didn't have anything about thinkdifferentlyaboutkids.com.

(Then again, he didn't really have anything about it on Tuesday's show either, which is why this page (see below) had to take on the chore of assessing the "research" that supposedly alarmed the folks at Jana Partners and CALSTRS into realizing there's a massive children-iPhone problem that no one else in the world save for people who write pop-culture books and make speaking engagements notices.)

The Jana/CALSTRS letter to Apple trumpets a "partnership" with 2 experts. Here's the description: "In partnership with experts including Dr. Michael Rich, founding director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Professor Jean M. Twenge, psychologist at San Diego State University and author of the book iGen."

Rich, with a Harvard pedigree, is clearly the big get here. Rich's bio notes he's a "media aficionado."

His bio says he had a "12-year career as a filmmaker (including serving as assistant director to Akira Kurosawa on Kagemusha)." "Kagemusha" is an impressive credential, for those unaware. Just to verify, we checked out the credits at the Internet Movie Database, the silver standard for this type of film information (there are mistakes, but it's comprehensive, and elite critics cite it). Rich's name is the very last one, listed as "uncredited," which means IMDB has valid information to this effect ... but that the credit does not appear in the film itself.

Take that for what you will.

Rich's bio states, "His current areas of health research and clinical work bring together his experience and expertise in medicine and media." That's a curious mix of specialties, medicine and media. What kind of medicine does one take for a media problem?

The Wall Street Journal quoted Rich as stating the question is, "How can we apply the same kind of public-health science to this that we do to, say, nutrition? We aren't going to tell you never go to Mickey D's, but we are going to tell you what a Big Mac will do and what broccoli will do."

That sounds like he hasn't yet identified a problem but is fishing.

Rich told the Huffington Post that smartphones and other devices are "dramatically changing the way we behave, the way we relate to each other and the way our society really works."

"Dramatically changing the way we behave?" In roughly 28 years of watching CNBC, we've never heard anyone say people behave differently once they get a smartphone or other gadget.

Rich also told the HuffPost that Apple "can be part of the solution and thus improve their product, and thus improve their customer satisfaction and loyalty."

Solution ... to what?

Then there was this: "It's not the tools themselves that are the problem — it is actually what we do with them. You wouldn't give a power saw to an infant or a toddler, but you would introduce it to a child who is old enough to handle it effectively and do good things with it."

Seriously? You'd let a child handle a power saw?

We took a look at Rich's curriculum vitae. It is 54 pages long. Under the category "Formal Teaching of Peers," the first entry is "1995 Media Effects on Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors, Harvard Medical School Lecture."

So before there were smartphones, before Google existed, when most people didn't have a computer and the hot new thing in computing was Windows 95, Rich was presumably detecting danger for kids. One can only guess about the target of this lecture ... rap lyrics? Playboy magazine? Sega Genesis?

It appears Rich's specialty in the late 1990s was asthma.

What about Jana-CALSTRS' other expert, Professor Jean M. Twenge?

Twenge coined the term "iGen." It's the title of one of her books. Twenge's own website describes her in this order: "Author Speaker Professor Consultant." Note the clever illustrative photo.

In an article last year (it's a book preview) in The Atlantic, which seems to be Jana/CALSTRS' research vehicle of choice (information from this article is in the letter), Twenge wrote, "It's not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades." What decades-ago mental health crisis are we referencing that is bigger than what the iGen mental health crisis might be?

The article doesn't say.

Twenge also wrote of a "psychic tax," which apparently is not what you pay for calling Dionne Warwick. Twenge wrote: "Social media levy a psychic tax on the teen doing the posting as well, as she anxiously awaits the affirmation of comments and likes. When Athena posts pictures to Instagram, she told me, 'I'm nervous about what people think and are going to say. It sometimes bugs me when I don't get a certain amount of likes on a picture.'"

OK. So it "sometimes bugs" Athena when picture likes fail to meet guidance. Perhaps Apple needs to ban the uploading of pictures on its devices?

While Donald Trump cuts our corporate taxes, Apple and Facebook are raising our psychic levy.

In the Jana-CALSTRS letter, the first recommendation is that Apple convene an "expert committtee" that of course includes Twenge and Rich "to help study this issue." We thought they already had.

The second recommendation in the letter is "research." Apparently there is already plenty to draw conclusions — according to the rest of the letter.

Most interesting is that Jana-CALSTRS suggests Apple "expand" iPhone "age-appropriate setup options based on the best available research including limiting screen time, restricting use to certain hours, reducing the available number of social media sites, setting up parental monitoring."

So they prefer "limiting screen time," even though the letter (and Charles Penner on Tuesday's program) touts the research of Alexandra Samuel, who finds that parents who limit screen time produce worse outcomes than parents who "guide" kids' screen time.

Restricting use to certain hours sounds great ... except what if your kid has an emergency between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Then there's "reducing the available number of social media sites" ... so a kid spends 4 hours on Facebook and 0 on Snapchat rather than 2 and 2.

And "parental monitoring" ... watch your kids text and receive texts on their iPhone. Just what every parent wants to do.

Jana, the letter notes, is launching a "new impact investing fund."

Judge is not accused of asking Cramer’s questions and not having questions of his own

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime said the flat-yield-curve conversation "frankly was getting a little bit annoying."

Jim said, "Nobody is selling here. There is no reason to sell."

Judge spent much of the early portion of the program rattling off all the bullish calls from famous investors in the last couple of days. (Wonder why they didn't issue those calls in late December.)

Kevin O'Leary said the "most interesting" comment from Warren Buffett was that under the tax legislation, 14-15% is going back to American companies from the government.

Kari Firestone said the notion of stocks going up 30% is "a lot" but asserted that "the market feels like it wants to go up."

Josh Brown shrugged at all the starry-eyed claims of big returns from investing bigwigs. Brown noted utilities lagging while regional banks are breaking out; "things change very fast."

Judge said, "They're already, um, buying back a whole lot of stock."

Jon Najarian stated, "We're all fairly bullish here," though he's only looking for "7, 8% this year."

O’Leary’s mostly right, except it’s more like the 17th time in 6 years

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime said Bill Gross believes there was "a bond bear market confirmed today" and that Jeffrey Gundlach on a webcast said if the 10-year goes beyond 2.63, "it will accelerate higher."

Kevin O'Leary cut in, "It'll be the 5th time in 6 years we've heard that call."

Josh Brown said, "Yes."

Kari Firestone asserted that rates are low because "there isn't demand for borrowing."

Joe Terranova said, "I'm long bond futures because I think you're gonna take out 2.63. Does that mean that it presents trouble for the bond market? No, it doesn't."

Joe said he thinks we go to 3% but that it's the "velocity" of the move that matters.

Jim Lebenthal, after his 2007/7 years ago bungle (see below), sorta made amends by correcting Josh Brown for saying "10%" on the 10-year instead of "3%."

Jim said he will "dare" to say the yield curve is in a "Goldilocks shape."

In a quality point, Kevin O'Leary grumbled that gold has been one of the most "boring" investments even as some warn about inflation.

Eamon Javers reported, "The president's talking about the stock market again."

Not sure what the status is of Chanos’ CAT short (or kabuki theater references)

Addressing the DE upgrade on Wednesday's Halftime, Josh Brown said the stock is "not exactly a bargain" but that there's no reason why it can't keep rising.

"I'm in it from the 70s," Brown said, and while we normally scoff, correctly, at Brag Trades, this has been a great one on Brown's part that probably hasn't gotten enough kudos on this page.

Kevin O'Leary said he doesn't completely agree. "The only reason this stock has moved is the market's moved underneath it," O'Leary said. "It's a boat in a rising tide."

O'Leary even had a curious description of John Deere's businesses. "This is kind of a weirdo mix of stuff," O'Leary said, questioning why buy more now.

Brown said he disagrees and pointed out DE did "nothing" from 2011 to 2016 while the S&P went "straight up."

O'Leary insisted, "This is not a cheap stock." Brown questioned, "cheap on what metric."

Jon Najarian pointed out DE's Germany Wirtgen acquisition that gives the company a toehold in infrastructure.

Kari Firestone said it's a "positive" that farmers are getting a tax cut. Firestone said other plays include VMC and URI.

O'Leary said to "forget the past" about DE, he's looking at it now, and the German deal didn't make it a "pure play on infrastructure." Judge confirmed that O'Leary would prefer CAT. O'Leary said he's never heard an analyst say that if the wheat-combine market rolls over, he'd short CAT. Brown pointed out that "CAT rolled over because of, because of mining." Kari said "China."

MU always goes up, according to the options paper

"It's pretty ugly in the semi space," said Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime, pointing to costly security issues beyond just INTC. (This writer is long INTC.)

Josh Brown asserted, "It's probably gonna be a while before people feel comfortable with these names again, maybe till the next time they start reporting." Jim said, "That's exactly right."

Brown said 116 or 117 is resistance for WDAY, but he's not chasing.

Judge said recent UA slammer Steve Weiss (who wasn't on the show) emailed him that UA was making a "b.s. move" on Wednesday. (Translation: Just made a bad call.) Kevin O'Leary said to buy BA instead of an airline.

Jon Najarian said ISRG just "took off" on guidance at the JPMorgan conference.

Joe Terranova said he'd buy "Chipulte" (sic pronunciation) (he's had trouble with that one basically forever) on the news of Patrick Doyle's exit from DPZ on the chance Doyle goes to CMG.

"I don't know that he goes, but I'll take the chance on Chipulte (sic)," Joe said.

Kari Firestone said she doesn't own HSY but called it a "medium house" in the neighborhood. She'd prefer MDLZ in the snack space.

Doc said February 20 calls in HST were popular. He said UNP calls up to 155, "mainly Februarys," were getting scooped up.

Brian Stutland said crude is probably due for a little pullback before moving toward 70 by year-end. Scott Nations said it'll take "something geopolitical" to get above the channel top of 64.

Pandora chief Roger Lynch talked with Julia Boorstin and said he's focused on "setting targets that are achievable for the company." Sounds like a great turnaround plan.

Joe's final trade was LNC; "it's goin' a lot higher." Jim Lebenthal said to get out of ... snicker ... SHLD. Josh Brown said to keep an eye on commodities indices. Doc said FOLD. Kari Firestone said HAS. Kevin O'Leary said STE.

Judge actually claimed with a straight face that "there wasn't a dry eye in the house" when the Benjilock creator turned up on Halftime a couple months ago. Kevin O'Leary said, "I didn't realize people are watching this live in Saudi Arabia, in Geneva, in Zurich, in South America. Who knew?" Judge later said, "You know we're first in business worldwide, right?"

Jim out to lunch while Josh makes quality point on buybacks

Wednesday's Halftime Report, a flat, overstaffed program, stumbled early over a listening bungle by Jim Lebenthal.

It happened after Josh Brown stated that "just 11 years ago, the buybacks of '07" were "ballooning" but proved to be "some of the most atrocious uses of corporate capital in world history."

Jim cut in, "Wait. Why do you say that," continuing, "Stock prices were way lower 7 years ago. I'd much rather Boeing buying back its stock at $100 than $300. I don't hear what you're saying."

"I'll help you," Brown chuckled. "2 years later, we were looking at massive losses on these balance sheets."

"I thought you said 7 years ago," Jim said. "You were saying 2007?"

"Yeah," Brown said.


Much more from Wednesday's Halftime later.

[Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018]

Check out the extensive ‘research’ Jana and CALSTRS did for their letter to Apple (as guest rips Judge for asking Cramer questions)

Oh my.

It took 22 minutes into Tuesday's Halftime Report to establish the reason Jana Partners wrote a letter to Apple.

See, Charles Penner noted "this is a new fund for us," but they didn't want to "sit on the Apple idea" because it's "incredibly timely."

Sure. Timely for creating publicity about a new fund.

Judge stumbled initially, failing to adequately set up this interview with Penner and Jana frontman Barry Rosenstein, stating Jana and CALSTRS were "targeting" Apple with a letter but not explaining what these investors are seeking. But we'll forgive him, even though the interview about this silly initiative happened to wipe out our evening. (We'll also forgive the CNBC sound man for Judge's mike not working in the opening seconds.)

Barry Rosenstein seemed surprised or caught off guard by Judge's first question, "Why Apple," pausing, then repeating it. He said "there's no question that we need to be more responsive to children's needs and children's activities."

What really got our attention was hearing Rosenstein and Penner mention the term "research" at least a half-dozen times; the Spider Sense started tingling.

First, we tried to look up the Jana/CALSTRS letter to Apple. Several news articles contained a link to the letter. Clicking on those links, we were greeted with a 1,722-word (we added it up in Microsoft Word) disclaimer requiring acceptance of Jana's terms.

We refused to click "I agree - I have read and agree to these terms" because we didn't read them. (Nor did anyone who clicked on them.) (If your goal is to dispense wisdom and information to save humanity, shouldn't it be readable without a catch?)

Penner said on the program that people could go to thinkdifferentlyaboutkids.com for the letter and/or information. Doing that, you get the same Terms of Acceptance window.

By fluke, the article on one Silicon Valley website contained a link to the letter that delivered the letter without a Terms of Acceptance window.

So we read the letter.

Take a look at this passage near the end that we highlighted in blue:

It curiously declares there is a "growing societal unease" about people "getting too much of a good thing" in the way of technology.

We wondered how they measure this "unease" and what exactly is "too much of a good thing." So we went to the footnote, which you can see magnified below:

Interesting. Pay attention to the first part of this footnote. It implies that someone named Laurent Hrybyk wrote an article at wired.com. (Note it doesn't give the article's URL; just the site's.) The quote referenced in the footnote about 2008 bankers and 2017 techies doesn't seem to have anything to do with kids using iPhones.

So we looked up this article. It's not written by Laurent Hrybyk. It's written by Erin Griffith. Hrybyk, we learned, does illustrations for Wired. Apparently Jana and CALSTRS are citing Hrybyk's cartoon as evidence of "growing societal unease" over technology. Here's what the article looks like; note Griffith's byline at the top and Hrybyk's credit under the graphic:

This article is about recent bad headlines in the tech industry, much of it having to do with sexism. "Apple" and "iPhone" and "children" do not appear in it.

Obviously, no one at Jana or CALSTRS actually read it.

(Honestly, no offense to the writer, we can't fathom why anyone would read all 1,890 words of this article.)

Yet it's somehow evidence of "growing societal unease."

Note the date it was posted: Dec. 16, which was probably right around the time Jana and CALSTRS were finishing the Apple letter, and someone would've been looking for any home page headline to buttress the "argument."

OK, there's more ... Penner said during Tuesday's interview, "There's research out there from a researcher, uh, named Alexandra Samuel who actually shows that parents who just focus on restricting screen time as opposed to guiding it, their kids actually have worse outcomes in terms of engaging in inappropriate behavior like you know, finding obscene material online and pretending to be other people online, than parents who actually guide their usage."

Well, that sure sounds interesting. We found that Samuel has a Ph.D. from Harvard but doesn't work there, rather she's a "digital explorer" who apparently makes a living with free-lance/consulting-type income and likes to be booked for speaking engagements (the link is right near the top of her website).

The "research" cited by Penner on the Halftime Report (and in the Jana letter) is from this article by Samuel in The Atlantic in 2015. Samuel wrote, "I've spent the past two years conducting a series of surveys on how families manage technology, gathering data from more than 10,000 North American parents."

There's no indication how Samuel surveyed 10,000 parents. Did she stand in front of grocery stores with checklists? Was this an online survey? Phone calls? How did she know all 10,000-plus respondents are parents? How long did it take to fill this survey out? Were respondents paid to participate?

The Atlantic is not a scientific, peer-reviewed journal.

It's a culture magazine.

Note that in mentioning Samuel's work, Penner said there is research "out there" (Hmmmmm ... anything posted on this page is "out there"), but the curious term he used is "outcomes."

Samuel does not use the term "outcomes" or "outcome" in the article. (Try doing a search.) We wonder whether these "outcomes" were determined after studying these subjects for years. (Um, probably not.)

Honestly, it makes a lot of sense to us that kids of parents Samuel calls "limiters" are more likely to "engage in problematic behavior" (which includes "rude or hostile comments" ... what criteria did Samuel use to determine rudeness in her survey of 10,000 parents ... did she read every one of their kids' posts ...) because they are probably being limited because of their anticipated behavior. (That's called effect mistaken as cause.)

The article mentions "iPhone" once but does not include "Apple."

The point of the article is not that Apple needs new buttons, but that parents should give kids Internet guidance ("Sonny, don't look up adult sites or make fun of people online") and not just shut it down.

Penner also said, "The research suggests actually limited levels of use actually ... probably beneficial; kids who use their phone about an hour a day actually have more positive mental health outcomes than, uh, kids who don't use it at all."

And are these "outcomes" determined when these subjects were 40 years old?

Penner also said, "Young adults who go to more than 3 social media sites a day have worse mental-health outcomes. ... As you get older the negative impacts that we're seeing with social media actually start to phase out, are gone by the time you're 30."

So people who grow up tend to make fewer hostile or rude comments online.

So Jana's protecting kids from a problem they'll outgrow anyway?

OK. Back to the program.

Rosenstein said "there's lots of research" showing that "excessive usage of smartphones is damaging to kids." He never explained how damaging.

Judge said sources told him Apple was "blindsided" by this letter.

Penner, who sounded uncomfortable the whole time and constantly insisted everyone thinks this initiative is a great thing and that it just happens to be the only great initiative of theirs at the moment, said AAPL has a "great policy" on global warming even though it's not responsible for global warming.

Judge said Jim Cramer calls the Jana/CALSTRS letter "duplicitous" and thinks it makes it sound like Apple's doing nothing. "It's clear he hasn't read our letter," Rosenstein said.

Judge asked why not target video game makers and social media platforms. Penner's answer was his loopiest comment of the program: "Well, for the same reason you wore one tie today and you'll wear another one tomorrow. We can go after one company today and we can focus on others in the future."

(Don't they know Judge wears the same tie 3 days a week?)

(That's only a joke.)

(We're blaming our experience with "limiter" Internet parents.)

Judge said he's been in "small gatherings with Tim Cook," and it sounds like Cook is already concerned about these things.

Anne Sheehan of CALSTRS said it was a "natural" to complain to Apple rather than a host of companies who make junk food that kids like. Sure. Giving kids a different button on the iPhone screen will do a lot more for them than cutting out the junk food in their diet.

Judge was getting nowhere in this series of interviews, but things actually got testy when Judge said Cramer just emailed that he did read the Jana letter and claims he didn't insult Penner and Rosenstein and wondered why Jana didn't stand up against Walgreens selling tobacco.

Rosenstein said they had a "standstill agreement" with Walgreen and that he had no ability to speak publicly but did raise the issue privately. (Obviously, whomever he spoke privately with didn't agree.)

Penner said, "I don't know, I just find this line of questioning with all due respect kind of ridiculous."

Judge said, "But Charlie, these are the kinds of questions that people are asking-"

"Questions that one person, Jim Cramer, is asking. I'm not on Jim Cramer's show, I'm on your show," Penner said. "What questions do you have?"

"I've asked you all- all the questions that are the relevant questions," Judge said.

Judge continued moments later, "You question as to why I'm asking you questions of the likes of which, which I am."

"OK. I feel like we've answered the question. I don't know what else I can say about it," Penner said.

Neither do we. Our suggestion is for Judge to bring in Lee Cooperman, who's getting more outspoken in each appearance and who might've watched this and presuambly will tell it like it is.

Soc Gen’s negative call on banks gets expected scoffing

When Tuesday's Halftime wasn't tackling AAPL activism with Cramer questions, Judge was welcoming Sam Poser to the table to explain his sell-UAA call. Poser spent several soundbites basically saying the company bungled mightily by going into Kohl's and DSW and Famous Footwear.

Pete Najarian said the valuation of UAA is "still scary." Poser grumbled that Under Armour shoes are geared to "performance" rather than "general lifestyle" and noted that at last year's Grammys, nobody was wearing Under Armour.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Link said the yield curve was steepening Tuesday and financials were getting a bid.

Joe Terranova said he bought some bond futures playing for 2.62.

Judge said Soc Gen warned about a "euphoric" market in bank stocks. Joe said he's still long BAC and hung a 35 on it. Stephanie Link said the analyst has had a sell on GS and C "all the way up." Pete said that's "the most important part."

Pete said May 90 calls in GILD were getting bought. Pete said someone was rolling up a KKR trade from March 22 calls to March 24s.

Joe struggled to rattle off facts about EOG; he said the growth will be there.

Stephanie Link backed EOG and tossed in CVX, APC and SLB.

Jeff Kilburg said he doesn't think crude momentum will "wane" until there's a stock-market "breather." Scott Nations said it looks like the Saudis' efforts to "set the table for the Aramco IPO" are paying off.

Pete gushed about TGT. He predicted 75 "in a hurry." We're not excited about the stock, but we're happy to see Target (and any other retailer frankly) doing well.

Joe's final trade was LNC. Stephanie said DWDP. Pete said the XLF.

[Monday, Jan. 8, 2017]

Judge for the first time addresses occasional commercial drought on his program (#lostrevenue)

We've been saying it forever, and someone finally is catching on.

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime Report actually said it's "amazing" that Judge can do a program "without commercials."

In his first public statement on the matter, Judge responded, "I like to let it roll."

He likes to ... let it roll.

The thing is, not only do we want CNBC (and other TV/radio/print media) to collect as much advertising dollars as possible, but for those who are keeping tabs on this program and even monitoring what's said (snicker) (You're serious? That actually is happening?), sometimes a break isn't the end of the world particularly when the material runs flat.

Joe: Stock market ‘feels’ expensive even if it’s not

Judge on Monday's Halftime brought in Jim Cramer to open the show. Cramer and Steph Link talked about ... industrials ... Zzzzzz.

Link said you might be able to view CAT as a 16 multiple. Link touted FDX and EMR and DWDP.

Jim Cramer said it's a "mistake" to chase CAT; he'd rather buy EMR.

Pete Najarian trumpeted UPS.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't think infrastructure is priced in, "it's all about the dollar," and he said GE for years has been the "portfolio favorite" of industrials, but now the money is being spread around.

Pete for about the 17th show in a row grumbled about people who said tax reform is priced in.

Cramer said he's a "big believer" in what Tepper told Judge last week.

Joe said the market "feels" expensive even though it may not be.

Joe said the end-of-year "consensus" recommendations of the rotation trade have been "totally wrong."

Link said energy is still "very unloved."

Stephanie finds TROW’s huge half-year a head-scratcher; Joe’s target for GPRO is ‘oblivion’

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime made a big announcement, that TSLA is a "tech company" and not a car company and even accused Judge ("You're one of those guys") of calling it a "car company."

Joe Terranova pointed to the amount of Tesla miles being driven and declared, "They're a software company."

Pete said March 47 calls in GM were popular. Jim Cramer said GM is a cheap stock with momentum.

Meanwhile, Leslie Picker said Jana is known as an "activist investor" but is "delving into social activism," targeting the "increased risks of depression" for children who use Apple products.

Jim Cramer said SNAP is "the equivalent of Captain Morgan for kids." Later, Cramer said of SNAP, "What the heck is going on there. It feels very much like Peterman is running the show." (Judge had to point out that was a football reference.)

Meg Tirrell, doing health care conference interviews all day, sat down during the Halftime Report with Celgene chief Mark Alles. Alles refused to opine on whether Bob Hugin is running for Senate. (That falls under the category of news you didn't know that you really had no interest in knowing.) (But it wasn't a bad question to ask, because on the very limited chance she got an answer, Tirrell would have a D.C. scoop.)

Stephanie Link said CELG has a "huge" patent cliff.

Judge said TROW got an upgrade from Bank of America and 125 target. Jim Cramer suggested, "Maybe stock-picking's back." But Jim said "it's a tough space." Stephanie Link said it was a "moonshot" last year, and "I kinda just scratch my head."

Pete said February 62 KRE calls were hopping.

Pete questioned if you can really "trade around" STX.

Stephanie Link said she's adding to NKE.

Joe Terranova said of GPRO, "I never liked this stock ... it probably goes to oblivion."

Jim Cramer said he's "not against" ALB right now. (This writer is long ALB.)

Joe's final trade was MAS and VMC. Steph Link said LEA. Pete Najarian said MU.

Joe: FB is the landline phone of yesteryear

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime declared, "Facebook is the modern-day landline telephone."

Hmmmm. Kinda makes sense, but then again, no one has to rent the device every month.

Stephanie Link said of FB, "I actually doubled my position last week."

Pete Najarian said the "extreme growth" in FB will come from video.

Jim Cramer said that the "N" in FANG or FAANG should be changed. "It really has to be Nvidia," Jim said.

Much more from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, Jan. 5, 2018]

NFL playoffs: Why the Steelers
aren’t going anywhere

It's a tradition that this page take a crack every January at the NFL Playoff bracket — the toughest assignment in football-watching, as it involves projecting winners of ALL the games before any of the wild-card play-in games have occurred. (This review is posted in the early morning hours of Jan. 6.)

We're doing it again this year, even though last year was an outright bungle. Typically, we've been able to get one conference exactly right, but that didn't happen last year. We had the AFC correct until the Championship Game, wrongly picking Pittsburgh over New England. In the NFC (gulp), we made a ghastly call on the Giants reaching the Super Bowl.

It's time to make amends.

The first thing to do is write off the Pittsburgh Steelers. The league's preeminent underachievers, this is one of the most bogus 13-3 records in recent memory. We're hard-pressed to declare them any better than the previous season, when they went 11-5 and got embarrassed in the AFC Championship Game.

The general public isn't aware of the softness of this team. It's a poorly run squad in which the 3rd-best defender was somehow released so that the archrival Patriots could pick him up. The biggest stars on the roster tend to be head cases. The assistant coaches embarrass the team every year (including right now). Despite supposedly great offensive talent, this team has massive trouble scoring. The defense is a shambles against the run and regularly gets burned on deep routes.

Second, the Buffalo Bills are possibly the sorriest, most inept unit to ever qualify for the NFL playoffs; the players probably were disheartened to learn of Baltimore's collapse last week and realize they had to play another game this season.

The enigma in the NFC is whether Case Keenum can actually win playoff games. The gut here is that the defense, while not at the level of Tampa 02 or Baltimore 00, is too much for everything left in the NFC.

So here we go ...

Kansas City beats Tennessee: The Chiefs might have more oomph than people think.
Atlanta beats Los Angeles Rams: The Falcons have one good game in them.
Jacksonville beats Buffalo: The Jags wouldn't be a sure thing any game but this.
New Orleans beats Carolina: Have no idea how the Panthers won 11 games.

Philadelphia beats Atlanta: It'll be shaky but doable.
New England beats Kansas City: A lot different than the first time.
Pittsburgh beats Jacksonville: Blake Bortles can't win 2 playoff games.
Minnesota beats New Orleans: It's the next round for the Vikings that's trouble.

New England beats Pittsburgh: Surprised if it's any different than last year.
Minnesota beats Philadelphia: Without Wentz, forget it.

New England beats Minnesota: A massive disappointment for the home crowd, who will nevertheless applaud the overachievement of a Case Keenum-led club.

Ross Levinsohn’s 1st accomplishment at L.A. Times may be causing formation of a union

Back on Aug. 22, Judge welcomed Ross Levinsohn back to the Halftime Report to talk about Levinsohn's new gig as publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

Levinsohn stated that he took the job because of his "incredible passion for news and information," as well as "emotional and personal" reasons and his "value perspective."

Apparently, he's fairly emotional about the prospects of L.A. Times workers forming a union, as "many" in the newsroom, according to the New York Times, believe Ross and other execs "have been unduly aggressive in the attempt to thwart the union effort."

Ross — one of our favorite CNBC guests, by the way, and a great guest — told Judge back in August that he wanted to turn 2 times EBITDA into 10 times EBITDA and (this was murky at best) apparently plans to do this by focusing on the "core" of reporting, including video and "shorts" and thinking about California culture "at its core" and being the "bible" of the entertainment industry (um, looks like the big scoops on Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose have originated elsewhere) and how we shouldn't use the term "newspaper" anymore.

Looking for updates on these initiatives in the Jan. 4 New York Times story and not finding any, it seems like Levinsohn's sole accomplishment thus far is presiding over the LAT journalists' first union vote in the newspaper’s 136-year history.

Judge hasn't offered an update, so we figured we probably should.

Ed Yardeni actually says the biggest risk to stocks is that they reach 3,100 too fast; Judge asks spectacular question

Ed Yardeni dialed in to Friday's Halftime and hung a 3,100 (that's Tony Dwyer's number, we think, except Tony just calls it "marketing b.s.") on the S&P for the year and said one of his concerns is a "melt-up" that carries us to 3,100 "a lot sooner" than he's anticipating.

Yardeni called it a "FOMO" market, or Fear Of Missing Out.

The jobs data was good for easing Fed concerns, he said. "I didn't see wage inflation picking up ... It's a nirvana scenario," Yardeni said.

Josh Brown said baby boomers are getting replaced by cheaper younger workers, and he tried to insist wage inflation is "definitely" becoming a cost. Yardeni said, "I'm 68 and I'm still working for a living ... I haven't had a pay increase in about 10 years."

Eventually, Yardeni said, "I guess if we're gonna have a problem, it's gonna be like 1987 ... kind of a portfolio-insurance problem, which would be ETFs experiencing a flash crash."

Well, Tom Lee around September said it seemed like September of 1987.

In an absolutely perfect question that should've occurred at the top of the program, Judge rightly asked the panel, "Can you go from what people said is like the most hated rally ever to euphoria overnight?" Steve Weiss said there are always "naysayers" but pointed to Yardeni's mention of 1987, "I often think of '87 in relation to this." Jim Lebenthal said, "I do too."

Judge jabs at Josh’s inflation suggestions at year-end

Stephen Weiss at the top of Friday's Halftime took up the roaring bull market.

"It's a tough time to start getting in ... but I do think it goes higher," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal assured we're not in "bubble territory" even if the market's not cheap.

Josh Brown observed, "This is clearly a mega-risk-on week to, to start the year off with."

Weiss reiterated, "Nobody has seen this kind of environment. I said that the other day." Yes. And the day prior to that.

Brown stressed that machines are doing much of the trading, even in so-called "value" strategies, and it's a "huge amount of money."

In an impressive potential Fast Fire, Judge asked Josh Brown, "I wonder if you started worrying about inflation a little too early." Brown said, "I would say it's more of an investment than a trade."

9 years ago or so, Guy Adami started complaining how the Fed has ‘lost control of the bond market’

Rick Rieder on Friday's Halftime might not have been as euphoric as Ed Yardeni but still appeared copacetic on the stock market.

Rieder asserted, "There's this incredible need for assets. ... I think you're gonna hit a 3% 10-year this year, but boy it's not that dramatic."

He said whoever said previously (Brown) in the show that "wages are accelerating" was "exactly right."

But Rieder said he's "not that worried" about inflation because the Fed has "so many tools to break inflation."

Panel seems to think FL 22% upgrade is a joke

Julia Boorstin on Friday's Halftime Report noted NFLX's gain on the announcement of the Letterman (Zzzzzz) series.

Jon Najarian, who had a quiet show, said "getting any big name" is "big" for NFLX. Steve Weiss said he subscribes to Hulu and Amazon Prime, and "you're always going back to Netflix because the content's so robust."

But Weiss added, "I just don't see this company getting acquired," because of the $90 billion market cap.

The panel seemed to agree that part of the bull case is that a takeout couldn't happen without a big selloff, so if Netflix has a couple bad quarters, it might be a candidate for a buyout.

Judge said FL got upgraded by Buckingham Research, which apparently sees another 22% (snicker).

Jim Lebenthal said, "I'm not too thrilled about this," pointing out the stock is "perennially cheap." Judge stumbled over asking Jim about why FL needs a "competitive moat" (snicker).

Doc said he "can't get excited" about the FL upgrade, noting retail was the weakest part of the jobs report. Weiss said "it's a low-risk trade for the analyst" who's hoping to "catch some tailwind."

Doc said there was "big activity" in TXT calls, and he also likes it as a tax play. Pete Najarian said there was "very heavy buying" of AAPL calls expiring next week.

For some reason, Judge has been critiquing panelist calls made last fall. Jim Lebenthal likened CSCO to where MSFT was years ago. Weiss shrugged that CAVM has "been a great story." Josh Brown said an "inflection point" happened in WMT's price months ago corresponding with a change in sentiment.

Jim got Fast Fired on recommending against VIAB in November. He said it's "intriguing" right now. Weiss said he's made money on WDC by "loading up" after it got "crushed" by Morgan Stanley.

Doc had to address his STZ options trade, saying he "flushed it" on Friday's news of bad wine sales. "This was a loser," he said, but he still likes it. (So much for those January 240s getting scooped up.)

Josh Brown said if you want in to LOW, he wouldn't chase but would wait for a "light pullback."

Weiss said it "makes sense" that there's "minimal downside" to CVS, but he'd worry about AmerisourceBergen.

Jim Lebenthal said he really likes EA and believes it's poised to break out.

Meg Tirrell previewed the JPMorgan health care conference. Weiss predicted the "biggest moves" will center around talk of drug pipelines. Weiss asserted, "Pricing is an issue, and the drug companies still haven't reined it in."

Jim said he sold TRN. Weiss said he bought JEC, which is "geared to infrastructure."

Doc's final trade was ZAYO. Brown and Jim said GOOGL. Weiss again said IUSG.

[Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018]

Grandpa Jeremy Siegel plays the bear, desperate to prop up his late-2017 guess that 2018 will definitely be worse

Judge opened Thursday's Halftime with a scoop — reporting his chat "exclusively" with David Tepper (who apparently talked stocks instead of Weiss' facial hair).

Judge said Tepper said, "With earnings forecasts going up and interest rates where they are, how is this market expensive? ... It looks almost as cheap as coming into last year."

Josh Brown said, "I guess it depends on your definition of expensive. So by the most popular measures, the market absolutely is expensive." Brown mentioned CAPE ratio. But Brown said that's not a "judgment" on where the market goes. He also tossed in an "in and of itself."

Steve Weiss dialed in. "I agree with Dave," Weiss said (a big surprise), stating there are no "historical parameters" for this market. "There is no playbook for this," Weiss said, adding there's "tremendous momentum."

"Going forward, I see much more positives than negatives, there's no doubt," Pete Najarian said.

Brown cautioned that everyone seems to agree the outlook is great and that some of that may be built into prices.

Keith Parker of UBS hiked his S&P target to 3,150, eclipsing Tony Dwyer's 3,100. Just like in "The Price is Right," that landed Parker an interview on Thursday's Halftime. (Perhaps Barry Bannister will rev up a 3,300.) Parker said that in the wake of the tax cut, he upped his S&P earnings to 157. Judge said, "You've essentially made the same case" as David Tepper, and Parker agreed.

Doc asked Parker about "migration of capital from Europe over here because of the tax reform" not being priced in. Parker agreed the "marginal buyer" continues to be the retail and foreign buyer.

But then Judge brought in Jeremy Siegel, who chuckled that it's "amazing" that Siegel's one of the "least bullish" people on Judge's program, but he said he doesn't even see $150 earnings on the S&P.

Siegel said GAAP earnings "are going down" because of "the hit" from foreign earnings. Siegel, who heard Brown mention the CAPE ratio, also said he's argued for many many years that the CAPE ratio has given "false signals." (But he's still among the least bullish on Judge's show.)

As for Parker's earnings call, Siegel suggested maybe 140 instead. Judge said, "Wow, 140. You're like the low on the Street." Siegel said "maybe 145" and added that he has seen "huge fades" from January to December in previous years.

What's really getting interesting (and that no one on the show has mentioned yet) is that, with such a gangbusters start to the year, the issue will quickly be whether the S&P ever gets flat on year in 2018, a key technical benchmark.

Bob Pisani said on Closing Bell, "I smell a little euphoria now for the first time."

Wolff’s book paints Donald Trump as ‘buffoon’ who ‘doesn’t read’

On a day a lot of panelists couldn't make it to Englewood Cliffs, Eamon Javers on Thursday's Halftime aired a clip of Donald Trump chortling about Dow 25,000. "So I guess our new number is 30,000," the president said.

Jeremy Siegel said, "Very honestly, I can't picture Obama making statements, uh, like that." (Well, um, we really can't picture it either. So ...)

Josh Brown wondered if "we'are all forgetting" that Donald Trump during the campaign called the stock market a "bubble" and asserted all of the Obama-era gain was "fake" or "fraudulent" or "manipulated" by the Fed.

Brown cautioned that in a robust economic environment, people expect wage gains. "You're goin' on the inflation thing again," Judge concluded.

Siegel pointed to the jobs report and asserted "there isn't enough population growth to give us 200,000," which means the unemployment number goes lower, so at some point that wage pressure will "eat into profits" and figure into Fed policy.

Siegel also said, "Very honestly, I don't think any infrastructure is really gonna get done."

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian said financials have gone through cycles of pausing and then rising.

Pete said WDC is still "very inexpensive" despite the BMO downgrade, and "At this point in time, I disagree with this call, and I think there's more upside than downside."

But Josh Brown said he's "not a fan" because you have to "really look hard" to find a tech stock that topped out in the fall and didn't participate in the last 5 or 6 weeks. (Actually that includes INTC and PYPL, which both got robust bull calls on the show this week.) (This writer is long INTC and PYPL.)

Pete said there's opportunity in WDC, but Brown said there's an "opportunity cost" of being in falling stocks in a rising market. Pete said "if they've gone friendly now with Toshiba," he thinks the stock goes higher.

But let's get back to INTC and these tech stocks that haven't participated for weeks. Pete said heard about lack of "material financial impact" regarding the INTC flap, so the selloff "creates an opportunity." Brown said, "I'm with Pete, I'm long Intel, I think he's right." Brown said the stock has held the gap since it broke out late last year, "and I am not a seller."

We'd say that buying stocks that take hits on Internet security issues is a great idea (think EFX 91 when Karen Finerman was gloating about shorting it because of existential issues), the only problem is, sometimes the fallout lingers for a while.

Jon Najarian said someone sold January 270 SPY calls to roll up into 275s that expire in 3 weeks. He also said DWDP call buyers were rolling up into February 75s.

Pete said someone is selling January 30 BAC calls and someone's buying March 32 calls. Josh Brown said Pete has been "dead right" on big banks and noted some "bank experts" who have analyzed banks for 20-30 years (um, that would presumably be Dick Bove) have been "so pessimistic."

Jeff Kilburg said bitcoin futures are still in "price-discovery mode." He said the Merrill Lynch note about possible regulation "may push us a little bit lower." Jim Iuorio said bitcoin has been in a "remarkably tight channel" since Dec. 27 and that if it breaches "1,300" (sic corrected to 13,000), afterwards would be the "next big move to the downside." Jackie DeAngelis said "it's my lucky day" because both Iuorio and Kilburg would be joining her on Futures Now.

Doc's final trade was HAWK. Josh Brown said JPM and Pete said KO.

[Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018]

Joe: Correction clock has 6 weeks; if not, expect another 2017

Continuing what will probably be the trend for the whole week, Halftime Report panelists on Wednesday offered renewed predictions for 2018 in stocks.

Jon Najarian said he's not calling for a 25% return in the Dow this year, but he'd be "very happy with 10 or 11."

Pete Najarian said, "We will see more volatility I would expect at least this year," and he said he agrees with Byron Wien that "we're gonna see some pullbacks too."

Doc said the president will use the "bully pulpit" to "hammer" at companies to repatriate cash.

Joe Terranova said "the opportunity for a correction is in the first 6 weeks of the year. And if you don't get it in the first 6 weeks of the year, again, you're gonna look at something very similar to 2017 where you really don't get it."

Joe also sounded incredulous about 4.0% calls on the 10-year.

Joe said "the opportunity might be" in energy if analysts start upgrading estimates.

Stephanie Link noted the meteoric recent rise of miners.

Tim Seymour on the 5 p.m. Fast Money mentioned "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead.

Joe says if IBM gets to 180, you’re gonna want to be in something else

Tackling Dow stocks on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Stephanie Link invoked a "Dogs of the Dow" strategy and mentioned CVX and INTC (despite the latter's awful day) (this writer is long INTC).

Later in the program, Link said INTC has a new CFO and is a cheap stock, so she was buying the dip.

Pete Najarian grumbled that in the Rosenblatt note on DIS, "There was almost nothing to it." Judge said the narrative is "not all about ESPN."

Pete said, "IBM, you still have to struggle to find growth." Stephanie Link questioned if IBM can re-accelerate in data analytics.

Jon Najarian noted that Warren Buffett is "jettising (sic)" IBM shares, which figures to be a "pretty big overhang." Joe Terranova said IBM at 180 means AAPL and FB well over 200 and big gains in GOOGL and AMZN.

Bringing up one of his favorite stock-market news events of the last 5 years, Judge said AXP is "way beyond the Costco fiasco."

Stephanie Link said "if you believe in consumer spending, particularly on the high end, if you think that international is gonna continue to grow," then there's opportunty for AXP. (But the thing is, those things will happen or not happen whether you believe it or not.)

Pete Najarian said AXP is half the valuation of V and MA and maybe now you want the financial exposure that you don't get with V and MA.

Stephanie Link said of UNH, "I own it small," and she's not selling, but "I own Cigna in a bigger way."

Pete trumpeted international growth for NKE (Zzzzzzzz), which got some kind of endorsement from a shop called MainFirst. Joe was the one who finally made the obligatory adidas reference. Doc said it's a "real upgrade" and not a "clowngrade."

Judge suggests companies are giving bonuses as ‘cover’ for buybacks

ORCL surfaced on Wednesday's Halftime, and Judge saw an opening to pounce on possible corporate PR shenanigans.

Stephanie Link said ORCL has been a "very frustrating" stock, but the valuation is "pretty attractive."

Judge said, "The stock performed in line with the market last year." Link said it has "absolutely lagged" relative to its peers.

Judge then suggested buybacks could be a big story and pointed to the news reports about companies handing out $1,000 bonuses. "In some respects, maybe that's a little cover. For when they buy back their shares and they don't get all that criticism because they took care of their people first," Judge said.

Pete Najarian said ORCL has been "lagging" and trumpeted MSFT, like he always does.

At least Judge didn’t have to elicit an energy-stock pick from Billy Gibbons

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said March 75 calls in XLE were on fire.

Joe Terranova said Jeffrey Gundlach was "spot-on" with his call when Judge was in L.A. a couple weeks ago.

Jon Najarian said there's a "perfect storm for energy right now." Joe said there's also "paper asset demand."

Jeff Kilburg said oil bulls are smiling, but he sees "a little bit of a ceiling" because of ramped-up output. Scott Nations set a top at 63.30.

Judge told Kilburg, "I gotta give you props" about Notre Dame football (Zzzzzzzz).

Doc said TXN January 105 calls were getting bought. Doc said BB made an announcement with BIDU on driverless cars. Judge noted the calls were getting bought just before a big announcement. "Um, wow," Judge said.

Judge suggested an update on stock picks from early October. Doc said PAYX "continues to be a hold." Stephanie Link still owns and likes COF. Joe said he'll stay with MAR but with a "tight stop." Pete said he thinks it's time to take something off of LULU. Judge noted it's up 27% in 3 months.

Stehpanie Link said she's sticking with BMY and suggested there's "a very good chance" that PFE buys it. Doc predicted 112-115 for EA. Pete said he's "OK" holding onto KMX.

Joe noted the big day of NVDA but said the Russell hasn't opened the year as hot as big tech. Pete noted AAPL has bounced back after that battery controversy. Doc noted AMD's climb.

Pete said to give Jim Lebenthal (who wasn't on the show) a few props for GM. (Zzzzzzzz)

Joe said he disagrees with the Wells Fargo DKS upgrade, "I think there is still a lot of pressure coming from Kohl's ... This is not the next Best Buy," Joe said, predicting the stock will be range-bound from 30-35.

Doc suggested HOG could see 48.

Doc said he bought CELG during the show. Stephanie Link said she's long IBB and owns ALXN. Joe said he'll buy PYPL "at some point this afternoon. ... I'll buy it on the close ... I think this stock can go to 100." (This writer is long PYPL.)

Doc made CMCSA his final trade. Pete said V.

Pete said LEN and DHI are "still inexpensive."

[Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017]

Brown: Stock market on
‘precipice’ of euphoria

Fresh into 2018, Tuesday's Halftime Report wasted no time in delving into semantics.

Josh Brown tackled the word "euphoria," pointing out it's "so overused" and that people were actually talking about it in 2013.

But Brown said we haven't seen it "societally" or "culturally," though he thinks "we're on the precipice of that."

Brown said if it happens, we could see "something insane" like a Dow 30,000 run this year.

Joe Terranova said in his 30 years of doing this, euphoria is measured in terms of "leverage," and he wonders where that high leverage is. Brown said, "You don't need high leverage when there is so much cash coming from every central bank in the world."

Apparently passing along a warning, Brown said a "very bright man" in Japan from Softbank is getting investor cash including from large banks and Saudi Arabia for vowing to charge the highest fees and invest in the "highest-valuation sectors."

Stephen Weiss acknowledged some "overvalued" stocks but questioned where you put money besides stocks.

Jon Najarian gushed about people with big tech holdings selling out-of-the-money calls and puts ($10 higher and lower) out in July and making "a ton of money on that trade." (Well, let's see, if they just sold those options Tuesday morning, it's kind of hard to see them NOT making money in the first few hours of the year because chances are, those underlying instruments aren't going to move $10 up or down in one half session.)

Joe said if we don't get in January or February "the long-awaited correction," then this year could be like 2017. Joe mentioned Paul Richards' assessment early last year that proved to be the Call of the Year (according to this page) for 2017 (see below; hit PgDn a few times).

Weiss makes a good point about why AMZN may not want TGT, but Judge nevertheless apparently expects a hefty premium

Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime might've bungled the beard-Tepper joke, but he did have some impressive commentary on the idea of AMZN buying TGT.

Weiss said Gene Munster's prediction is "not farfetched." But Weiss pointed out that AMZN "falls short" of having unique, premium products of its own.

"I don't know that Target gets them there for that," Weiss said.

Joe Terranova said AMZN is going to be invoked as the solution for the "real estate problem" of retailers.

Joe questioned why TGT would want to sell to AMZN anyway. Judge said "nice price." But nobody said that WFM didn't exactly break the bank on its Amazon deal.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Steve Grasso tried to make the case for AMZN buying JCP (yep, he actually said that) (snicker) on the grounds that it's a "totally different demographic" than what AMZN already has. But he admitted TGT is the "most logical way to do it." Tim Seymour said he doesn't know why AMZN needs TGT.

Weiss: United Airlines is ‘probably the worst-run consumer business I’ve ever seen’

2018 opened for trading Tuesday, and with nearly everything trading up, it seemed like a day for smiles.

Except in regard to a certain airline.

Stephen Weiss said he "waited for the year to turn" and then sold UAL, "probably the worst-run consumer business I've ever seen in my entire career (sic last 4 words redundant unless he saw worse businesses before launching a career)."

Weiss predicted a "tough time" for airlines with crude up. Later in the program, he took up the sector again, stating airlines look cheap but like the automakers could be "perennially cheap" and complained "they've added capacity when they shouldn't."

Weiss starts the year off buying ... ETFs

Kicking off 2018, Judge and the panel of Tuesday's Halftime took a look forward and a look back.

Joe Terranova started things off chuckling about all the folks who thought that because January 2016 opened horribly we just might well do that again.

Joe suggested watching the dollar.

Judge said the "setup" for 2018 appears to be "pretty darn good."

Josh Brown said "it's not uncommon" to get a double-digit S&P return the year after a big return.

Steve Weiss said there's still no "playbook" for this investment climate. He said he bought some ETFs in the mid-cap and small-cap space. (Zzzzzzzzz.)

Jon Najarian said materials have been "scorching" and noted FCX is up "another 3% today."

Doc also touted WTW as a seasonal play.

Weiss cut in to tell everyone David Tepper is texting him during the show.

Josh Brown said Barron's made a cover story of inflation, though there's not much sign of it yet.

Doc said "everybody" (basically true) predicted higher volatility in 2018, but those who bought protection at the end of the year were getting "slaughtered" on Tuesday.

Weiss said to short the 10-year. Weiss also suggested exposure to domestic infrastructure/materials stocks in the event Congress passes a bill.

Doc insists he’s not comparing MCD burgers to SHAK

Steve Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said MCD is a story of what a CEO can do. Weiss said the company's in a "good space."

Joe Terranova said he's "concerned" about lower MCD prices (the menu, not the stock) having an effect on DNKN.

Judge mentioned the possibility of a MCD split. Jon Najarian said that would be "huge" and said MCD cleverly is now getting "2 for 3" rather than the dollar menu. (Actually we're not sure "2 for 3" is the right analysis; it sounded more like it's just 50% more, but whatever.)

Doc said MCD is "competing" against SHAK, though "I'm not saying McDonald's burger is gonna be the same Josh as a Shake Shack burger."

Josh Brown said valuation has been the argument against MCD but a losing one. He called it a "very easy hold" and would "focus only on weekly charts with this one."

It’s 2018 now

Addressing an interesting stock, Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said LULU stores are still crowded and it still has an "unassailable" brand.

The only thing is, it looks like from the chart that 80 might be a double top, so we're not sure that one's a buy right now.

Joe Terranova said ABT will perform "in 2008" (sic). Joe said he sold SYK "just the other day," and he'd buy ABT over SYK.

Jon Najarian said BB (snicker) March 13 calls were popular. Doc said someone sold 95 MSFT July calls and sold 75 puts and "took in about $5.2 million in premium." (That's the great option trade that people were cleaning up on because clearly there won't be any volatility by July.)

Doc said WM upside calls were getting bought in the last 30 minutes; he said he still likes STZ. Josh Brown hilariously said he was waiting for Doc to do "the 5-day forecast."

Leslie Picker offered an update on Stevie Cohen. Weiss admitted, "I worked for Steve."

Doc predicted "more activity" in the DIS-NFLX space. Josh Brown said it seems Macquarie is more bullish on NFLX than DIS. Weiss said he thinks cord-cutting isn't over.

Josh Brown said 50 has twice been resistance for JWN, and "it's not a bet that I wanna take."

Brian Stutland said "there's some inflation going on," which is good for gold. Anthony Grisanti said 1,334 is the big number and said if the dollar goes lower, "gold is goin' higher."

Doc's final trade was WFC. Weiss said IUSG. Brown said SCHW and Joe said TWLO in a "small trade" going long.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Tim Seymour zinged Steve Grasso about Grasso's use of the term "elephant" during the Weight Watchers discussion, a word that figures in the early scenes of "Wall Street."

2017 in review: The best, and a bit of the worst, of the Halftime Report (and related CNBC programming)

It's that time of year.

We're not sure how many hours of programming of the Halftime Report and Fast Money occur in a given year (lessee ... 10 hours a week, 52 weeks, minus a few holidays ...), but given that this page observes many of those hours, we like to throw our own holiday party of sorts and recognize some of the programs' best moments of the past 12 months, including the always-popular Call of the Year.

(And, we might as well note a few of the less-than-stellar moments, to maintain our objectivity membership card.)

So open a Malbec or a Hamm's (please only if not driving; always drink responsibly) and see if we're on to something here ...

Best interview of 2017: Bill Ackman tells Judge, ‘The index funds control America’

Judge on Nov. 6 put together the best interview yet with Bill Ackman, mostly tackling the ADP situation for about 30 minutes but then crossing over into other favorite subjects.

Bill got great questions and was given ample time to provide answers.

Bill not only said the word "comportment" 3 times (that's because of Lee Cooperman, see below), he made a grand statement about proxy battles:

"The index funds control America," Bill asserted, before clarifying, "I would say the proxy advisor and the index funds control America."

2nd-best interview: Judge confronts protester at Trump’s inauguration

On Friday, Jan. 20, CNBC sent the troops out to D.C. to cover the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and Judge found himself assigned to street duty.

With live cameras rolling behind him, Judge approached a couple of unhappy folks in the crowd. "You say you're peaceful protesters, but yet I've seen you physically restraining people from going through. Why?" Judge asked.

"But are we physically attacking them?" one fellow responded. "Is there a difference between restraint and attack; are you trying to pose that question to make us look violent?"

"Why are you restraining them when they're- why you're physically restraining them (sic grammar)," Judge retorted.

"It's not restraining. Look up the dex- look up the definition of restraint," the fellow demanded.

"Why are you here today" Judge asked.

The protester was silent. "That pretty much says it all," Judge shrugged.

3rd-best interview: Judge gives Richard Fisher his first combative CNBC interview

Judge on the Aug. 16 Halftime landed an interview with Richard Fisher, who apparently was actually expecting to discuss monetary policy.

Judge said Fisher is on the board of PEP and T and asked if he believes that either Randall Stephenson or Indra Nooyi should exit Donald Trump's advisory panels in the wake of the Charlottesville fiasco. Fisher responded, "You know, I never comment on the boards that I sit on, or on the CEOs that I have the privilege of working with. So, I'm not gonna comment on that. How's that?"

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."

Had it just ended there, it likely wouldn't have made the list. But Fisher concluded:

"This is the first combative interview I've ever had on CNBC."

4th-best interview: Lee Cooperman says SEC’s first offer should’ve been as good as its last

Judge landed a coveted interview on May 30 with Lee Cooperman, who had just disposed of his SEC troubles. In a candid but limited conversation, Cooperman revealed, "I've entered into what's called a no-admit, no-deny settlement, which prohibits me from commenting on the government's allegations or the strength of my defenses. I believe that the outcome speaks for itself, um, and I'll leave it at that."

He didn't quite leave it at that, admitting, "If they asked me initially for the final ask, I would've accepted it knowing it would've saved my business."

Judge asked about the SEC's initial insistence on a 5-year ban that didn't happen.

It was a mostly defiant but reasonably humble Cooperman. "The process was extraordinarily abusive," he asserted, adding his business was affected "dramatically, way out of proportion to what was, uh, reasonable."

He also reiterated how he has made the Giving Pledge.

This case was very prominent in the financial media, not so much in mainstream media. It's definitely possible there could be split opinions as to whether Lee got a raw deal or a big break because of his wealth.

5th-best interview: Kevin Plank likens himself to Tom Brady, says having a business-oriented president is a ‘real asset’

Judge on Feb. 7 elicited a rare interview from beleaguered Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who was only about to get a lot more beleaguered.

Plank said, "You know, I think a lot of people, you know, they bet against Tom Brady the other night too."

This page took note of that. What it didn't take note of was this Plank comment: "To have such a pro-business president is something that's a real asset for this country."

That got back to Steph Curry and made national news for weeks. Unfortunately, we were asleep at the switch on that one; our bust of the year.

6th-best interview of the year: CNBC, Scaramucci shake hands for 8 seconds

Not only was it a reunion, it was newsworthy.

Former CNBC contributor Anthony Scaramucci, who split with the channel a few years ago when he restarted the "Wall Street Week" franchise (which now is presumably gathering dust at Fox Business unless anyone is actually watching it), returned triumphantly for an interview with Judge on Jan. 18 about Scaramucci's supposedly ascending role in the White House.

Scaramucci's title then was to be: "Assistant to the president, director, office of the public liaison."

He said CEOs who weren't excited about Trump were "coming around." (Many of those made a U-turn after Charlottesville.)

Despite some of the criticisms about Scaramucci's personality, at the time, we figured it was a plus for the White House to have a guy like Scaramucci around to kind of get everyone together and show everyone a good time. Unfortunately, in his brief tenure (he didn't get a position until later, and it was actually a bigger title), he vowed more firing than hiring; we didn't realize he might go ballistic over a leaked dinner invitation.

Scaramucci actually told Judge, "As you get closer to the White House and you get closer to being a voice for the administration, I have to start really being careful about who I'm meeting and what I'm saying, and I respect that."

Best public service: Joe, others on panel stress colonoscopies

Colonoscopies actually surfaced as a topic of short interest on the Halftime Report in 2017. For the purposes of this item, we're not going to bother rehashing that debate. Rather, we'll note that Joe Terranova (as well as short seller Andrew Left) reminded viewers not to avoid this potentially life-saving procedure. Do yourself a favor, and get it done.

Worst interview of 2017: Robert Shiller maybe thinks stocks can go up 50%

On May 24 (picture above from a different day), Judge ushered in the latest installment of pointless interviews with Robert Shiller, who likes to chuckle about how the headlines on his reports are always not quite right.

Judge on this program stated that Shiller is saying stocks could go up 50% "from here," which prompted Shiller to hem and haw.

8 minutes into the show, Stephen Weiss said Shiller was actually making a 10-year assessment. Pete Najarian said of Shiller, "He said 10 years, but he said somewhere between now and 10 years."

2nd-worst interview: Jay Williams says ‘It’s not OK’ that some college basketball coaches make about as much as some NBA coaches

Jay Williams on the Sept. 27 Halftime Report critiqued the FBI investigation of college basketball (not sure how this is a stock-picking subject and Harvey Weinstein isn't) and (aside from not saying anything that high school kids couldn't have said) grumbled, "The FBI's investigation actually proves No. 1 that the NCAA is somewhat obsolete."

Moments later, Williams said, "The game just got sold the rights to the NCAA Tournament (sic grammar) to CBS and Turner for 10.9 billion dollars."

Williams also complained, "The term student-athlete is not the case. It's athlete, athlete, athlete, then maybe student." OK. So drop college athletics entirely.

Despite his emphasis on "athlete," Williams complained that they're not paid. "It's OK for everybody else to profit but the kids," he told Judge.

Making very little sense, Williams ultimately complained, "I can compare the top 10 coaches in college basketball to some of the top NBA coaches salary-wise. You tell me that's OK. It's not OK." He also wants to force basketball players to stay in college 3 years. "If you go to college you have to go to college for a mandatory 3 years," he actually said. Perhaps we can apply that to the general population so that we'll have no more dropouts.

3rd-worst interview: Andrew Left faults analyst for having target at level of stock price

This was a head-scratcher.

(Obviously the CNBC Booking Dept. had run out of gas or something.)

On Nov. 29, Judge pitted ROKU skeptic Andrew Left against bullish analyst Laura Martin, allowing Left to do the grilling.

Except Left's beef was only that Martin had raised her target from 28 to 50 within 3 weeks not (according to Left) because of fundamental change but simply because the stock had indeed gone higher.

Martin said there were "a number of data points" in the 3rd quarter. The stock has easily surpassed Martin's 50 and has even made it look modest. Left is a great guest. This was buffoonery. The only thing that saved this pointless confrontation was that Martin was a good sport about it.

4th-worst interview: Mick McGuire suggests BWLD 450

It had to be one of the Halftime Report's loopiest subjects. Multiple interviews with Mick McGuire over his bizarre interest in a pointless stock, Buffalo Wild Wings.

The stock and activism were a disaster for most of the year until a November buyout gave it life. On April 20, McGuire told Joe Terranova that he could see a possible 450 share price, but only if the company could hit the "value drivers," including margin improvement and the "highly franchised model." Steve Weiss told McGuire his target is "pretty hefty."

5th-worst interview: Judge shamelessly cross-promotes CNBC’s stale Shark Tank reruns with check for entrepreneur

We don't want to be hard on an industrious go-getter who is just starting to hit it big.

But enough is enough when it comes to Shark Tank. (Isn't 8 reruns a night enough exposure?)

On the Nov. 30 Halftime, Judge welcomed Benjilock founder Robbie Cabral, who apparently made a deal with Kevin O'Leary on Shark Tank about padlocks. Judge even brought in Kim Kelley, CEO of Hampton Products, which is apparently the distributor of the product, who presented Cabral with a check for $100,000. Cabral got choked up with tears in his eyes and said it's the "American Dream."

Overdue: Time for Nik Deogun to give Seema a shot at Halftime guest-hosting

"Judge" Scott Wapner doesn't often take time off.

When he does, Halftime Report viewers tend to get Sully, a fine chap whose strengths and weaknesses won't be reanalyzed here, or Mel, rock-solid after doing this for, what, 8 years now (and like Sully, also has another show)?

It certainly wouldn't hurt for CNBC to give some of the upstarts a chance during this hour and seeing what they can do.

They said it: John Harwood claims ‘this president and members of his family are in deep trouble’

When word broke Dec. 1 of a legal deal involing Michael Flynn, CNBC's John Harwood was to quick to pounce during the Halftime Report.

Harwood scoffed that it's a "nice try" for the White House to shrug off Flynn's plea, "but this president and members of his family are in deep trouble right now."

"The circumstances here are very, very dire for the White House," Harwood added.

That was before ABC's Brian Ross was suspended for his erroneous report on the matter.

They said it: Ross Levinsohn claims SNAP $160 in 12 months wouldn’t surprise him

Ross Levinsohn on March 17, before he was running the L.A. Times, said he "wouldn't be surprised" if SNAP was 160 a year from now, but he would be surprised if it's $5.

They said it: Karen Finerman calls Jeff Immelt a ‘great CEO’ victimized by ‘things that are beyond his ability’

Karen Finerman on the May 24 Fast Money said of the Dow's laggards, "GE is probably the most interesting to me."

But Karen also said Jeff Immelt is a "great CEO" plagued by "a lot of different things that are beyond his ability to, you know, the financial crisis, and GE being in that situation they were in."

She didn't say anything about flying empty 2nd jets.

They said it: Steve Weiss says Donald Trump ‘should resign’

On Aug. 16, Stephen Weiss called for a change at the top.

Noting CEOs creating space from Donald Trump, Weiss said, "He should resign."

Jim Lebenthal agreed, stating, "That's exactly right. You said it; I'm gonna agree with you ... We need new leadership."

They said it: Rob Sechan insists it’s not a bad idea to roll student loan debt into mortgages

Rob Sechan on the Oct. 20 Halftime Report revealed, "The mortgage industry too is working on a solution in terms of how to figure out how they deal with student loans, and student loans potentially rolling into mortgages."

Jim Lebenthal opined, "This sounds awful."

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

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

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

They said it: Tom Lee touts CRAP stock acronym

On March 15, Tom Lee — who’s had a dubious year, to say the least — explained what his CRAP trade stands for:

"The C is tel- technology, computers, right, which is old tech, which would be an example like Oracle, Microsoft, Intel, automation. R is for resources, which is energy and basic materials. A is American-based banks. And the P is for telecom carriers, phone carriers."

They said it: Lee Cooperman calls Ackman’s ADP move ‘foolish, inappropriate and irresponsible’

On the Aug. 7 Halftime, Lee Cooperman tackled the ADP showdown and stated, "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.

Referring to Bill's push for a nomination delay, "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."

Later, Bill would claim that Lee was only disgruntled because Bill had targeted Glenn Hubbard.

Showdowns: 20-year-old honored for calling PYPL a short at Ira Sohn runs into Jim Cramer May 9

Judge on the May 9 Halftime welcomed a 20-year-old who was honored at Ira Sohn for promoting a pairs trade of long EBAY/short PYPL. (This writer is long PYPL.)

This fellow's argument was, "eBay is a long, but, embedded in the idea that eBay is a long, implies that PayPal is also a short. Because there's a peer value transfer from PayPal to eBay, about $1 billion in earnings starting in 2020, in perpetuity."

Josh Brown said that when this youngster made his pitch at Sohn, "I was in the audience," and "everyone was like very into the idea," which indicates that the Ira Sohn crowd is hardly infallible.

Judge invited Jim Cramer to the set (what a surprise, he was nearby); Cramer took a seat and stated PYPL "perhaps is not a great short." As for the trade, Cramer said, "I would flip it."

Actually, EBAY has done well; no need to short either one.

Still better to be long PYPL, up about 50% since that day.

We're not mentioning the youngster's name because there's no need to pile on.

Best joke: Tim Seymour on May 26 says ‘I like to buy other people’s problems’; Steve Grasso asks about Tim’s shirt

It sort of got the Ambassador to stop talking. Maybe for a moment. (And note the price of VRX in that graphic.)

Bust of the Year: Pete from June 12 onward starts talking about SNAP in ‘single digits’

This one really hurt. (This writer was long SNAP in 2017 but has no position.)

Few well-known stocks were as awful as SNAP in 2017, a banner year for just about everything else.

In June, Pete Najarian started trumpeting the carnage in this name and began a refrain (echoed by Guy Adami) that SNAP was headed to "single digits" and that put buyers were indicating as much.

On July 13, Pete affirmed, "I've been saying for a while now that I think you're gonna see single digits, and I think that happens after the lockup."

Indeed, that appeared to be the trajectory ... except it actually bottomed in mid-August — at $11.28, according to both Google and Yahoo finance — and even crossed 15 by the end of that month and has roughly held that level into year-end.

At one point in late summer or fall, Steve Weiss actually bought it for a successful long trade.

So basically, at this time, SNAP is a great trading stock (albeit mostly down) rather than an utter disaster stock (that would basically be Sears or JCPenney).

We also heard all spring and summer how Mark Zuckerberg was going to destroy SNAP. Haven't heard much about that in months. Nor have we heard much about the single digits in months.

Call that might’ve been great or might’ve been a bust; we’re not sure: Weiss buys X

On May 24, when it closed at 20.55, Stephen Weiss bought X but assured on the Halftime Report, "10% and I'm gone."

Indeed, in an update on June 7, Weiss said he tried to trade X but quickly got out because there was no bounce; he'd "stay away." Which is too bad, because it closed the year at 35.

2017 Call of the Year: Paul Richards declares 2017 a year without a big correction

Heading into year-end, we were leaning toward handing the 2017 Call of the Year award to Josh Brown, for his steadfast belief in riding NVDA not just for a massive gain in 1 year but for at least another year and another massive gain. (This writer has no position in NVDA.)

But then we decided another call was even more relevant.

Paul Richards, who was hardly on the show in 2017, made his limited appearances count.

Back on March 10, Richards, always a very cordial and agreeable fellow on television, sat in with the Halftime Report and stated, "I really love big corrections in markets. This is a year we're not gonna get them."

Richards added, "As long as we can get through France in May, we should be absolutely fine."

Right on.

We'll close the way we always do — We're here because you are. Talking stocks. Reviewing television. (Sometimes even dabbling into football and film.) Connecting with people who watch business television and constitute basically the most astute media audience in existence. Attempting to inform in ways the mainstream media and their still-large bankrolls can’t or simply don’t. No ads, no logins, no gimmicks, no javascripts that slow down your computer. 100% free. Wishing success for anyone who stops to take a look. Happy 2018 ... and HAPPY TRADING!

[Friday, Dec. 29, 2017]

Mel unable to get Billy Gibbons to make a call on oil stocks

Dick Bove, who made a bear case for the banks in 2017 that proved terrible (though honestly we agreed/agree with him that banks have no vision #oops), surfaced on Friday's Halftime Report to tout GS.

Bove insisted he's not changing any of his previous criticisms of Goldman Sachs, but now it's in the "exact right environment" to do its best, hence his upgrade to buy.

Basically, he just thinks the company has stumbled into the right place at the right time. "Everything that could go right, in terms of the environment, has gone right for Goldman Sachs," Dick said.

Guest host Mel pushed Dick's previous comments about how Lloyd should get the boot. Dick said his belief about that "hasn't changed in any way, shape or form."

Kevin O'Leary said he's one of the GS skeptics who thinks the company is "not in a great place" and lacks great margins. Bove said "investment banking is the high-margin business." O'Leary shrugged that "your call is on the IPO market basically, right." Bove insisted, "It's only 1 part of it."

Pete Najarian said GS "has some wind behind it right now" though he likes BAC better. Jim Lebenthal said he agrees with Bove that the banking environment will be strong. But Jim said the "X factor" is what happens with trading.

O'Leary grumbled that if you buy Dick's deregulatory theme, "why wouldn't you buy the midsize banks."

Mel did NOT ask Dick about his claim that James Gorman is the "Babe Ruth" of banking.

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian said he expects AAPL to top $1 trillion "long before" BABA does, unlike what MKM says. But Pete Najarian said BABA "very easily could be No. 2."

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary said BABA is "not compliant with many institutions in America" and said he's an "Amazon guy."

Jim Lebenthal said there's "no rush" to get into GE. Kevin O'Leary said he anticipates another dividend cut by June and called the company's year a "disaster."

Doc said he's "a little nervous" about CAT and DE because the dollar might not slide 9% again.

Jim said absent a buyout, TIVO is "really going nowhere."

Doc likes the fact that PCLN's IBM dispute is over.

Kevin O'Leary said the drug lobby is "so powerful" and that aging people consume pills "like candy" and so AZN is in the space where "you gotta be." Mel joked that's the "Peter Lynch approach."

Pete says SD pulling out of an acquisition "makes sense to me," but he hasn't looked at the name very closely.

Doc said 155 calls in PLCE were popular. Pete said February 25 calls in GDX were getting bought.

Billy Gibbons dialed in to praise Kevin O'Leary's guitar playing. Mel tried to ask about Billy's investments, but Billy and Kevin mostly talked about 1960s guitars. Eventually, Billy said the energy sector "doesn't show signs of slowing down just yet" and is "not a bad place to be."


Billy said 2019 marks 50 years of ZZTop. Mel called that a "tremendous landmark." Let's hope the 50th anniversary concert is more rehearsed than what Bob and Phil and Bill and Mickey put together for Fare Thee Well (still a great party though).

CNBC bitcoin reporter Seema Mody took a seat with the panel and mentioned companies that accept Cabbage Patch Kids for payment. Mel said, "I believe you can pay taxes in Japan in bitcoin" without a ton of certainty. Doc said, "Venmo and PayPal were where bitcoin is now 5 years ago." Hmmmm. PayPal was worth $18,000 a share 5 years ago?

Kevin O'Leary said he owns some bitcoin. Seema said the SEC has a cryptocurrency unit that is "dedicated purely" toward ICOs.

Mel predicted Seema would do the "same package next year."

O'Leary's first trade for 2018 was a Russell 2000 subset. Doc said FDC and called Stevie Cohen "a friend of mine." Jim Lebenthal said to buy ROKU. "The growth is there," Jim said.

Desperate for participants during a year-end holiday week, Mel actually summoned Gina Sanchez for Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money. (And when was the last time you heard about the forecasts of Nouriel Roubini?)

Coming up this weekend ... a matter of hours ... our 2017 Halftime Report/Fast Money Year in Review.

[Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017]

Cathie Wood says fundamental case for bitcoin is that it’s about ‘rules-based monetary policy’

Missy Lee, guest hosting Thursday's Halftime Report, asked guest panelist Cathie Wood about the ... Cabbage Patch Kids.

Wood said she bought GBTC when bitcoin was "below $250." (That's a great idea for anyone who can go back in time.)

Mel pointed out Andrew Left's argument that GBTC's premium to bitcoin's price is outsized and that Xapo, or whatever it is, has "the bunker storage in the Swiss Alps" (snicker) but "can't get insurance" for the bitcoins in its custody.

Wood said she believes the premium in GBTC will disappear when the "friction" of bitcoin transactions is eliminated.

"This is so much bigger of an idea than even Apple, which is a pretty big idea," Wood actually insisted.

Jon Najarian and Kevin O'Leary mentioned "the Winklevoss guys" (snicker).

Joe Terranova, on fire this month and once again knocking one out of the park, asked Wood what bitcoin has "fundamentally" going for it. Wood's answer was that she got Arthur Laffer, "my mentor," to collaborate on a paper about bitcoin. "He said, 'Wow, finally, it's a rule. They're bringing rules-based monetary policy back.'"

Doc said bitcoin has a "plus" over bitcoin cash, because the latter has a "big problem" in that there's only "2 guys in charge; one of 'em is an anarchist, maybe both of 'em."

Desperate to spend as many minutes as possible on this subject (as always), Mel later brought in Don Steinbrugge, who said there are "about 150 hedge funds" focused on cryptocurrency.

Steinbrugge twice answered Mel's questions by stating it's "all of the above."

Doc questioned how South Korea cracks down on something as decentralized as bitcoin. Steinbrugge said all these "currencies" are being driven by "supply and demand."

We're not really sure why Steinbrugge was on the program.

Cathie Wood says Tesla buyers will be able to resell their cars to fleet operators for $100,000

Cathie Wood on Thursday's Halftime wasn't just giddy about Cabbage Patch Kids, but TSLA.

Wood actually called TSLA "an autonomous taxi network company" and trumpeted a timeline of "5 to 10 years."

Kevin O'Leary, who had an excellent show including with the guitar, correctly asked, "What happens if it's just a car company trading at a crazy multiple."

It was actually Pete Najarian who responded, "It's not. It's not. It's a software company, right."

O'Leary said he bought his wife a Tesla. Cathie Wood told O'Leary he'll be "delighted" he bought that car because "some fleet operator is gonna come to you once these networks launch and offer you a hundred thousand dollars for it."

O'Leary, not particularly impressed, wondered of the automakers, "Why aren't they all just utilities." That's when Mel of all people jumped in and stressed the miles and how Tesla has a "jump start" on miles data.

Sarat Sethi insisted he thinks GM will be one of the winners in the auto space.

WYNN is going to make a lot of money from not having a building next to it undergoing construction

Pete Najarian early on Thursday's Halftime said Steve Wynn "led the way" in buying his own stock, though he's not sure how much growth is left in that name.

Later, guest host Mel brought in Robin Farley on the phone to talk about Farley's great call of WYNN.

Farley said she sees Macau catalysts for WYNN in 2018.

Joe Terranova retraced WYNN's chart and questioned if it can revisit its 249 high of March 2014. Farley chuckled that her target is only 174 but one catalyst is actually MGM opening in Macau in January, from foot traffic and "from just not having construction on that side of the building."

Mel flagged Farley's 174 target with the stock at 169. "It doesn't sound like you're very confident," Mel said.

Farley stammered that "all of these names are fairly volatile ... so that's where we are now."

Farley said she also likes the cruise lines, CCL and RCL.

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary wondered about Wynn's debt and whether "we don't care about that anymore." Farley said its "major project" is open in Macau and will increase cash flows.

Why is this January going to be like 2016? Why not 2017? 2012? 2005? 1979?

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said what many have said the last couple weeks: "A lot of people are talking about the potential for January 2016."

We'll take the other side of that one. It's not going to be like January 2016. #thankuslater

Joe revealed, "I sold out of my, uh, CRM and my Adobe just the other day," though he's holding MSFT and SAP.

Pete Najarian said he doesn't know if MU is a buy on Thursday but it's still a very "compelling" stock.

Sarat Sethi said that in big tech he prefers ORCL, which hasn't had a huge run.

Cathie Wood said the winners "are on to something" and trumpeted the "S curve."

Kevin O'Leary said he's been "mining" MTN and IDCC. He made MTN his final trade.

Jon Najarian thinks financials will just "gear up" in 2018.

O’Leary out of GE (and if oil is going up, shouldn’t they start releasing from the SPR?)

Riding the energy wave, Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said he's long FANG (the stock, not tech collection) and will hang on. He also touted shale plays CXO, EOG and PXD.

Pete Najarian said RRC is still "virtually sitting on the lows of the year."

Jon Najarian said JBHT had a "horrible announcement."

Kevin O'Leary said "nobody cares" that NTDOY is pushing out revenue forward.

Sarat Sethi said he likes SYF.

Doc said February 42 calls in EWZ were bought by a "smart buyer" (not sure how he knows the buyer is smart).

Pete said 10,000 February 20 calls in FCX were getting bought.

Anthony Grisanti told Seema Mody that cold weather can lift nat gas. Jim Iuorio said 2.5 is "significant support" and he sees it heading to 3.2. Seema promised David Stockman (snicker) (although he probably agrees with us on going into debt for corporate tax cuts) on Futures Now.

Joe said 2018 "sets up nicely" for LB. Doc also endorsed the name for tax benefits and prospect of "cannabinoids" (or whatever) in lotions.

Sarat Sethi likes Hudson's Bay (we think that trades in Toronto). Pete likes BBY.

Kevin O'Leary said he finally unloaded all of his GE, "a $13 stock trading at 17."

Pete Najarian's final trade was MSFT. Doc said LLY. Sarat Sethi said BAC. Joe hung a 70 on DNKN.

Mel and Kayla Tausche said they look forward to going to work every day.

[Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017]

If oil is going up, shouldn’t they be 1) investigating all the oil traders and stocking up on the SPR and 2) reversing the tailwind the economy supposedly got last year from plunging gas prices?

Guest host Sully, best known on CNBC for claiming a year or so ago about every 5 minutes that consumers were spending their gasoline price discounts on convenience-store cigarettes, oversaw on Wednesday's Halftime a decent conversation on energy names that frankly could've been a bit more comprehensive.

Pete Najarian has seen "so much paper" in the options space in energy, and "this time," it looks different.

Jon Najarian said they're still buyin' upside calls in XLE.

Jim Lebenthal said as a value investor, he's managed to stay away from RIG though it says "buy me," probably the first time since Dan Dicker's been on the program (we're talking years, not months) that someone suggested RIG is saying "buy me."

Jim told Sully that he doesn't think Sully's view that rig count is hampered by a lack of Williston workers is correct. Jim said it's about wells that were drilled but not completed, and that the move to drill could be good for RIG.

Sully cautioned that RIG operates in "super deep" and "super expensive" projects and that for companies to invest in those projects, you've gotta be "doggone sure" that crude will hold up.

We heard about 2 or 3 times — on the heels of Tuesday's and Friday's shows in which we heard it at least a couple other times — that XOM and CVX constitute 40% of the XLE.

The star guest, Doug Terreson, dialed in to explain what he meant by his "transcendental change" report on what higher oil prices mean, basically that Big Oil policies are good for CEO pay but not shareholder returns.

Terreson stated that energy companies employ strategies of "CEO pay incentives" that emphasize production growth but don't coincide with shareholder return. Nevertheless, he lists the biggies, RDSa, BP, CVX, COP, PSX as buys because they're "pledgers" of returning value to shareholders.

Terreson said XOM isn't on the list because it's not a "pledger."

Jim questioned if the RDSa dividend is sustainable. "You should stop worrying about it," Terreson assured, acknowledging a high payout ratio when crude was 55.

Doc asked if someone might take a "nibble" at ANDV. Terreson said we're not going to have "the golden age of refining," but he got more positive a couple months ago, with a note titled "it's not your father's golden age (sic dreadful cliche), but we'll take it."

CNBC superfox Seema Mody explained WTI's dance with 60.

Doc: Look at COF

Wilf Frost, whose niche at Englewood Cliffs has been deemed banking (as opposed to, say, "Frost/Nixon"), reported on bulge bracket prospects for 2018 during Wednesday's Halftime Report.

"I'd say this is a really big, big year for Goldman Sachs," Frost said.

Jim Lebenthal contended, "Volatility will pick up." And he predicted a new wave of M&A (has anyone on CNBC ... ever ... not predicted in December that there will be more M&A in the new year?).

Wilf actually mentioned something Sully doesn't know (that even we did) (snicker) (actually the first couple times we heard it, we didn't know what they meant either): "CCAR." Sully said, "What is CCAR, I'm sorry, I should probably know this." Sully realized it's "the more official name" of the stress test. Sully then diverted the conversation to English Premier League. Pete Najarian insisted on talking about a top pick among the banks; Wilf said, based on regulatory easing, GS.

Jon Najarian floated the idea of COF, an interesting call, stating he likes it because it hasn't had the ride of JPM. Wilf at one point said "rate rike" (sic). Sully, to his credit, pounced on that one.

Big-government conservatives running the country (cont’d)

Jumping on the caution bandwagon (but not quite as cautious as Howard Marks, who questions the notion of sell point), Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime said next year won't be as good as 2017 because "really the only good news" he sees on the horizon is a "maybe an infrastructure spending bill," though he'd prefer that to be "back-end-loaded."

And why shouldn't the country spend some more money it can't afford when we've got a Goldilocks economy?

Even better, why not just do stimulus programs ... forever? All the time? No matter what GDP or unemployment levels are?

Pete Najarian said a lot of tax reform may not yet be priced in. Jon Najarian brought up Josh Brown's caution from a week ago about the first week of January being as bad as 2016. Doc said VIX futures aren't pricing in a 16 until September.

Doc said holders of April 135 MAR calls were exchanging those for the 140s. Joe's been calling this one for a while; Judge tried to ride our coattails last week in pointing out Joe's on fire, which this page had noted a week prior.

Pete said February 230 calls in STZ were getting scooped up. He said he'll buy the stock and sell calls against it.

Doc said there'll be a "better price in 2018" for TSLA.

Pete said it'll take "a lot of time" for GE's turnaround.

Jim Lebenthal agrees with the CELG downgrade.

Doc said the sell call on ELY is just taking money off the table.

Pete advised against jumping in to MAT.

Jim said SHPG is a "good company to hold" amid prospects of M&A.

Bob Iaccino told Seema Mody that copper has more room to run given "supply disruptions." Anthony Grisanti said the market's a bit "toppy" and he agrees with Iaccino on a short-term pullback, maybe to 3.15, "but definitely should be bought."

Jim suggested DKS amid the 2017 retail "bomb." Pete suggested TGT. Doc said WBA and said to buy it on the dip when AMZN gets in the space.

Pete's final trade was GM. Jon Najarian said BABA. (Sully said they should talk about ORLY too so they can do "BABA O'Reilly.") Jim said RDSa.

[Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017]

Unbelievable — an entire episode without a Cabbage Patch Kids conversation

Guest host Sully helmed a low-key, modest Halftime Report on Tuesday in which the most provocative comment came from Joe Terranova on the subject of consumer electronics.

Joe said, "I have the iPhone X, and utilizing the iPhone X ... I don't need to see a text message in the form of an animal, uh that's not so exciting to me."

But Joe said, "it's faster, it's quicker" and endorsed cloud names MSFT, SAP and RHT.

Kari Firestone said AAPL is up 47% this year, so she can see some selling.

Kari added, "Amazon has offered convenience at a very low price." Has she compared prices of various items at a Walmart store with Amazon (including either A) the shipping costs or B) the amortized Prime subscription)?

Barbara Doran endorsed WMT as "one of the best ones" to fight Amazon. Joe said he's long the name and predicts "well above 100."

Jim Lebenthal said Sears is the "big gorilla" and that its bonds are trading at 29-30% and "eventually Sears is gonna have to liquidate its inventory," which will be a headwind for retailers.

Sounds like nobody believes the first week of January will actually be up

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime said many money managers were underweight energy and had gotten "burned" by crude; he sees opportunity in energy equities.

Joe said the XLE has been a "fantastic" play. Later in the show, he was asked to retrumpet the XLE, and he also touted Jeffrey Gundlach's commodities call.

Jim Lebenthal said "the rig count really isn't going up that much."

Barbara Doran said the market is "earnings-driven" and will continue to be so.

Kari Firestone said the FIFO provision might've prompted people to sell this year.

Mike Farr said the path of least resistance for stocks is up.

Guest host Sully told Jim, "If you read one newspaper, your taxes are going up. If you read the other newspaper, your taxes are going down. You know what I'm talking about."

Jim said he expects January to be "down modestly" and a great buying opportunity. Joe referenced January 2016.

Sully finds differing views on tax overhaul from different newspapers

Offering a Top 10 for 2018, Mike Farr on Tuesday's Halftime trumpeted BMY, FDX, MSFT and SBUX and said you can hear about all of them on his "Farr-cast." Guest host Sully for some reason said it should be called "Farr-ther."

Kari Firestone said she likes AAPL, FB, GOOGL, CRM, CHTR, TJX, BMY, ZTS, HQY.

Barbara Doran touted AAPL, AMZN, GOOGL, NVDA, FB (Zzzzzzzzzzzzz). Sully suggested that could be a "Yogi Berra Market" about nobody going there anymore because it's too crowded. Doran was unfazed. She added HD, FDX, V, MA, DAL, SBUX.

Pete Najarian, via satellite, said April 135 PEP calls were getting bought. Pete also hung a 20 on FCX.

Jim Lebenthal said to "be a little bit suspicious" about the MNK purchase, noting how big the goodwill is relative to the market cap.

Mike Farr said he likes ACN.

Barbara Doran said this is the right time for HD and its a best-in-class retailer.

Kari Firestone said PYPL is the "preferred payment platform for millennials," and she thinks stock gains can continue. (This writer is long PYPL.)

Scott Nations said oil's in a trend channel and he'd expect it to fall back a bit. Jim Iuorio thinks it can get to 61 before turning around.

Joe Terranova issued a late reminder for financials, suggesting GS if there's a little rise in volatility. Joe said to prepay real estate taxes in New York and New Jersey.

Jim Lebenthal touted MET late and made NKE his final trade.

Barbara Doran, apparently of Penn State, made CRM her final trade.

[Friday, Dec. 22, 2017]

If Judge offered $100,000 in bitcoin or $100,000 in GE — and the recipient had to hold it at least 1 year — which would Brian Kelly and Karen Finerman take?

On Friday's Halftime Report, Josh Brown offered an unconventional definition of the role of a financial advisor.

"The whole job is expectations management," Brown said, calling 2017 an "amazing year."

Brown suggested commodities could be the "sleeper" of 2018 and pointed to the XLE.

Taking a break from filming commercials to sit in with the gang, JJ Kinahan said anyone who thinks 2017 is the "norm" is "fooling themselves."

"I'm actually a little nervous for the first 6 months of the year," JJ said, because he thinks people "anxious to sell" are pushing capital gains into 2018.

Josh Brown reiterated his point about the "somewhat traumatic" awful start to 2016. (See, that's fine, but you know what, when everybody knows about something that happened in the stock market, it's basically not going to happen again; in this case, it would be everyone realizing "hey the rest of the year is still going to be great, so I'm buying on the slightest dip.")

Jon Najarian pointed to "November home sales, best in a decade."

Mel, in chic green jacket, spent the first 15 minutes of Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money on Cabbage Patch Kids. Steve Grasso actually said you have to trade it "like a stock."

Judge should summon Howard Marks, see what Howard thinks of Jim’s latest commentary

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report declared, "Asset allocations are out of whack, right, in a good way."

Well, OK, whatever. But what really caught our ear is when Jim said, "I've got stocks that right now are above their sell targets. ... As soon as they start to roll over in the new year, I'm out."


"Sell targets."

See, over the summer, Judge invited Howard Marks to join the panel, and Marks did, Aug. 10, and Marks complained about those who grumbled about his call for caution (for lack of a better word).

"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.'"

Basically, we have good reason to think Jim was the panelist Howard was referring to, and that Jim had said either "sell target" or "sell point" (Howard might not have remembered the term correctly, but it sounds like the same thing.) (We actually didn't write about the "sell point" comment the day of that show because it didn't occur to us that it was worth writing about.)

We've never figured out why Howard was so perplexed. Sounds to us like a "sell point" means that Jim intended to sell the stock at a certain price (um, basically any limit order that ever existed) but let the stock ride for whatever reason, perhaps because of momentum or the duration of time it took to reach the "sell point."

But, gotta admit, Howard's got a lot more money than we've got (but he likely can't carry our jock when it comes to "Road House"), so we're probably missing something.

Anyway, on Friday, Jim said, "If you're 50% cash, you are taking career risk, and frankly, that's dumb, OK. That's- You're trying to be a hero."

Oh joy, let’s load up on stock on not 1 but 2 sneaker companies (talk about asset allocation out of whack)

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime said the NKE selloff was an "absolutely ridiculous reaction" and predicted "much more upside" in the name.

Judge asked Jon Najarian, who sparred with Pete over NKE earlier in the week and took the bear side, how he could be buying NKE Friday when it was just a dollar below his negative call of earlier in the week. Doc pointed out that he was buying it under 60.50 on Friday morning when it opened much lower.

The only person seemingly not impressed was Jim Lebenthal. "The margins were not good, and the guidance was 'meh,'" Jim said, questioning why not buy adidas, which he said is cheaper with better growth.

Pete actually said, "Why not both?"

No mention of the really important Nomura bear call on NVDA with a $90 target early in the year

Judge on Friday's Halftime brought in Hans Mosesmann to talk about Mosesmann's NVDA initiation in February.

"The No. 1 issue is that we're in a transitional period," Mosesmann said, pointing to the transition to AI over 10 years. (Seems hard to believe some of that transition is not priced in, but whatever.)

Judge asked how much runway is left. Mosesmann said it's the best name in semis for 10 years and he's got a 250 target, so there's "substantial upside." Josh Brown and Mosesmann agreed NVDA's really far ahead of competitors in a lot of ways.

$175K is middle class

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime took up SHAK, which makes decent-but-not-spectacular burgers and fries for astronomical prices, and stated it has "absolutely exploded" in the last 3 weeks.

Brown said there are a hundred locations in the U.S. "that even the bearish analysts concede could be 400 stores within a reasonable amount of time," a good argument actually, because store openings tend to drive a lot of these stocks.

Jon Najarian said EBAY 39 calls were popular. He said he loves the stock. Pete Najarian said NUE January 70 calls were popular.

Jim Lebenthal said he "seriously" has a "sell target" thinks the CTAS selloff is just profit-taking. He said it will bounce back.

Josh Brown said the PZZA chart "looks like a mess" and that he doubts the lows are in.

Doc offered "kudos" to Joe Terranova for touting PXD this week. (We already flagged that here; Joe's on fire.) Doc said if it breaks out, "there's nothing stoppin' it" to get to 200.

JJ Kinahan said gold has momentum.

Pete said he loves CELG, but it seems management needs a "shake-up."

Judge said the FIFO rule was "universally panned." JJ offered Judge "kudos" because he "led the way" against the rule.

Jim's final trade was AAPL, knocking the slowdown lawsuit. He predicted another 20% in 2018. Josh Brown said GOOGL and made a long speech. Doc said Chinese social media name Momo. JJ said the VIX.

JJ Kinahan gets pestered about bitcoin by cab driver

On Friday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Seema Mody reported the problems with Coinbase and Mike Novogratz's latest news.

Josh Brown contended, "Competing coins are not good for higher prices in the asset class."

Jon Najarian said there are "6 different, uh, ETFs launching at the CBOE" for bitcoin. Good thing they've got 6; how would we possibly make do with only 5?

Honestly, nobody has even explained how this contraption has anything to do with business or the stock market. "Oh, the blockchain is soooo great and soooo cool and sooooo permanent," the backers say, but they've never explained how bitcoin is any different than a Cabbage Patch Kid.

JJ Kinahan, sitting in with the panel, said the "average person" doesn't understand the OTC risk; "I knew that this was gonna be an issue a week ago when I got into a cab and that's all my cab driver wanted to talk about." The question is, does his barber want to talk about it even more.

Judge wished Pete Najarian (via satellite) a happy birthday, which of course was flagged on this site all week.

It's a "Whoop! ... Whoop!" day at the NYSE.

More from Friday's Halftime later.

[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.


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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♦ Chrystia Freeland
♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

♦ Bill Gross
♦ Dennis Gartman
♦ Diane Swonk
♦ Meredith Whitney
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♦ Arthur Laffer
♦ Jared Bernstein
♦ Doug Kass
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