Jim crushes one
out of the park

This page has groaned recently at Jim Lebenthal's unending GM/QCOM/JCP/NKE calls on the Halftime Report.

But let's give major credit where it's due.

June 6, Jim touted WGO on the back of Thor's earnings. WGO closed that day at 28.50; it's solidly over 34 now — a gargantuan call and instant contender for Trade of the Year.

Judge actually thanks Tom Lee for skipping part of a meeting

Friday's Halftime opened the way Grandpa Judge always likes — someone suggesting the market's about to flop.

But even Judge had trouble making sense of "CRAP"-trade impresario Tom Lee's split decision … kinda claiming the whole market's under pressure but a bunch of sectors (including FAANG) look good.

Lee said, "Well, I think part of it has to do with a lot of folks recently talking about how low inflation is good for stocks because it's helping the multiple." But he said labor costs pose a threat to margins.

The S&P is at 2,438. Judge noted Lee has "the lowest S&P target on the Street," 2,275.

"I think it may be too low," Lee admitted.


Then Judge noted that Lee recommends FAANG, materials, technology, industrials, financials and energy.

"I just don't get it," Judge said, suggesting that to go higher, financials would probably need a higher yield curve that Lee doesn't see, and if FAANG rises, how does the overall market not go up.

Lee said FAANG is actually "less than 5% of total market cap" and said he's looking at "select stocks" within the sectors he likes and said that in the whole market, "the median P.E. is now 19.4."

Lee contended there's a "general problem with 50% of the market."

Trying to offer a cogent point to this dubious conversation, Jim Lebenthal said "we've been waiting for wage pressure to pick up for years, and it hasn't."

Somehow, Judge sneered, "Let's just stick to the, to the point we're discussing though."

"I thought it was the point we were discussing," Jim rightly said.

"I don't wanna get into a deep economic weeds question, I mean, answer. Or discussion," Judge said. "Is the market overvalued or not?"

"It's not," Jim said, though Lee "makes a very good point about the median P.E. being 19."

Rob Sechan somehow agrees with Lee's "barbell" approach.

As Lee exited, Judge actually said, "Tom, I know you jumped out of a meeting, um, to jump on with us, and I sincerely appreciate that," but if that's the case, Lee should be thanking Judge; "Scott, many thanks for giving me an excuse to sit that one out."

Jim gaining fund flows

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime contended that Wall Street pros aren't getting euphoric about stocks because they're scared of losing their jobs to quants; "If you can't get the pros excited, it's tough to get euphoria amongst the amateur."

Jim Lebenthal explained that "all of our careers" are "enhanced" by rising markets.

"I'm actually getting fund flows because I'm doing well and markets are going up," Jim said (and we'll say that if he makes a few more calls like WGO, the cash will be raining in).

Kate Moore said there's not a growth stock bubble; "the earnings are coming through."

Moore said earnings could get upward revisions if there's actually "some sort of bipartisan agreement" (snicker).

Rob Sechan said the Trump agenda "is in slight jeopardy."

Josh Brown said that since Dec. 9, "the Russell 2000 has delivered exactly zero. But now that's starting to change."

Pete Najarian hailed the low VIX as a great opportunity to protect portfolios. Pete cautioned viewers not to write off a stock just because it's gone up recently; he touted WDC.

Judge called the Citi note suggesting a growth bubble "almost Greenspan-esque."

No one mentions Chanos
in CAT discussion

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime agreed with the Deutsche Bank downgrade of CAT.

But Pete Najarian pointed to the Goldman Sachs analyst who made it a conviction buy in April. Pete said it's a "smart" downgrade but he's not sure about lowering the price target.

Josh Brown said if you want to be long CAT, put a stop at 97/98, where the gap comes from. Rob Sechan said to own it, you have to have a positive view on a slew of infrastructure angles.

Pete Najarian said June 21.50 calls in MT expiring next week were being bought.

Josh Brown said X looks like it wants to make a "stand" at 20.

Doc bungle: Said just last week that back to school is ‘like Christmas’ for BBBY while touting July 38 calls

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime said BBBY is "getting Amazoned" and admitted the call buyers (that would be his brother last week who said he'd "probably" be in the July 38s for 2 weeks) "got it wrong, but at least the risk/reward's not quite as bad."

"At least the risk/reward's not quite as bad." Not quite as bad … as what?

Jim Lebenthal said "honestly" he's surprised FINL is up as much as it is; "I wouldn't own it."

Judge asked why FINL didn't get the FL treatment recently. Jim said expectations were sooo low. (This writer is long FL, partly because gorrrjus Karen Finerman pounded the table for it 10 bucks ago because it was then trading in "integers.")

Kate Moore likes specific health-care names over the ETFs.

Rob Sechan said Argentina's ability to issue 100-year debt shows the "epic demand" for yield.

Josh Brown questioned the short interest in RH and said the stock "probably" goes even higher.

Jim Lebenthal mentioned his "half position" (sigh) in NKE but revealed, "I'm not gonna be a hero in front of this quarter. … If I get a drop after the earnings report, I'm gonna be in with both feet."

Josh said 49, 50 has been "pretty substantial support" in NKE, but if it breaks that on a bad report, watch out.

Kate Moore is "still excited about the banks" (snicker). Rob Sechan likes XLK and IBB into the end of the quarter. Jim said he's thinking about getting back into BA, which he famously talked about trimming a while back.

Jim said JCP's exit from the S&P 500 is merely a "technical issue" and that the Amazonization "is already in there."

Josh Brown bought more SCHW.

Judge congratulated Jim for Jim's firm's inclusion in the FT list.

[Thursday, June 22, 2017]

Judge claims Immelt’s move was ‘surprising’

In CNBC's latest emperor-has-no-clothes moment, on Thursday's Halftime Report, according to Eamon Javers, Donald Trump actually congratulated Jeff Immelt for a "fantastic career."

This embarrassment made possible by media members who somehow don't have the brass to just say "he's a nice guy but sucks as a CEO"; seriously reporting that the president deems this a "fantastic career" is like titling the 1930s a "spectacular decade."

Judge actually said that Immelt made a "sudden and surprising announcement" to step down even though a certain rival scooped it months ago.

Judge said he's "hearing from sources" that Trian is optimistic about Flannery. (Wonder who from Trian is leaking such sensitive information to the news media.)

Josh Brown said the "pace of change" (that would be slow) at GE isn't for everyone; that's why he's out of the stock. Jon Najarian said GE September 31 calls were popular.

Regulatory-lite world: Surprised Doc didn’t call for an SEC investigation of ORCL call-buying

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said it appears "onerous pricing restrictions" are not going to be placed on biotech.

Jim Lebenthal said hospitals' gains suggest "they think the insurance mandates are gonna stay in place."

Jon Najarian cautioned there have to be exchanges, or "this thing's dead."

Meanwhile, Toni Sacconaghi said his AAPL note was a "bit more broad" than Judge indicated. Sacconaghi is "very constructive" on the stock and tech sector.

Undoubtedly making Joe and Jim happy, Sacconaghi suggested trimming expensive growth stocks and adding inexpensive value stocks.

Jim Lebenthal doesn't know why the Halftime gang doesn't talk about ORCL as often as it does MSFT.

Doc said someone bought 10,000 ORCL calls just a half-hour before earnings. (Must've been a coincidence.) Josh Brown said ORCL might finally eclipse its 2000 high.

Josh Brown unsuccessfully tried to talk Kevin O'Leary out of the VXX.

Scott Nations said "the bulls have thrown in the towel" in crude, which generally means a bottom, albeit a short-term one and a "great selling opportunity." Jeff Kilburg said there are "way too many bears" in oil.

Nations has written a book, on stock market crashes.

Judge congratulated Josh Brown for Barry's firm making the FT advisor list.

Doc thinks airlines go higher, though he wasn't exactly pounding the table.

Joe halfheartedly suggested CXO. Josh endorsed KSU. Jim likes PFE. Doc touted BX.

[Wednesday, June 21, 2017]

Judge has ‘a problem’ with Jim’s JCP recommendation

Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime said he buys things off the Nike website and that you can return shoes after wearing them for 6 months, maybe the show's most helpful consumer hint in months.

Weiss said Amazon should be careful not to "disenfranchise" other names by creating alliances. Josh Brown said Nike's product "looks like garbage" on Amazon because there are "unauthorized resellers" and "stale product."

Judge hectored Jim Lebenthal over Jim's tiresome JCP argument, wondering why the shares are down 13% this week. "I have a problem, uh, frankly, with continuing to tell people to buy this stock, that it's this great stock, undiscovered by the market," Judge stated.

Jim said it's the "same conversation" they had 5 weeks ago, and the stock's about the same price.

"I'd rather buy this at 5, OK, then own it down to zero," said Weiss. Hard to argue with that.

Speaking of rehashed, uninteresting themes, Herb Greenberg, who hasn't been on the show in ages, said frequent transparency target BABA is "dangerous" short or long. Herb carped about comments from Joe Tsai and grumbled that Tsai won't meet with him personally even though he supposedly lives near Herb.

Josh Brown said he doesn't get excited about TWTR moves; "wake me up over 20."

Jon Najarian said October 28 calls in SGMS were popular.

Jim Lebenthal touted WGO. Weiss likes AKAM.

Anthony Grisanti said "it's not looking good for oil right now." Brian Stutland cautioned about "credit issues" with shale producers if crude reaches a 3 handle. Doc, who in recent weeks/months has often mentioned call-buying in oil names, told Judge he's happy that he's finally "just washed my hands of all of this crap." Jim said the time to buy is when rig counts roll over.

Weiss: Value managers creeping into popular names to chase returns

Judge electrified Wednesday's Halftime with a … Zzzzzzzzzz … renewed discussion on growth vs. value.

Jim Lebenthal said ALXN is at the top of his biotech list for its "very attractive valuation."

"The last 3 weeks, value has definitely outperformed growth," Jim asserted.

"3 weeks doesn't make a trend on anything," Judge said.

"You said that after 3 days; now it's 3 weeks," Jim said.

Steve Weiss said Jim wouldn't have ever considered ALXN a "value stock" 3 years ago. Weiss contended the multiple is still "ridiculously expensive."

Jim said the stock is down from 200 to 120, but Weiss said that means nothing in terms of valuation. Weiss said his point is there's "a lot of creep going on" from value managers finding justification to start buying what's working.

Judge called Stephanie Link "the ultimate value investor."

Dubravko Lakos said he favors growth over value, citing in part the flow of money to passive investing.

Lakos called the recent high-growth selloff "mechanical."

Judge sounded aghast that Jim thinks of growth a "crowded" trade.

Josh Brown said there's "no serious resistance" in IBB until 320.

Jon Najarian said the European Hematology conference is getting under way, and it's a big deal.

Weiss said Scott Gottlieb is biotech-friendly and will "cut through the red tape." But he suggested owning a "basket" of names rather than single biotech stocks.

Josh said he's long AMGN, which he said is at the same price as December 2014, and he even suggested "200s" are possible.

[Tuesday, June 20, 2017]

World’s great mysteries: D.B. Cooper ... Judge Crater ... whether TIAA CREF owns more, or less, than 10,000 ALXN shares ...

Judge's Halftime Report put together a low-key show punctuated by the appearance of just one guest.

Joe Terranova said oil going lower will present a problem for names such as NVDA.

But Pete Najarian said the market focus hasn't been on oil.

Steph Link said the GDP rate is "not recession," and earnings should be "pretty good."

David Rosenberg, the lone guest, insisted the economy is barely producing 1-1½% growth, not 2-2½%.

Judge protested that Charles Evans and Lloyd Blankfein see good "fundamentals" in the economy. Rosenberg questioned how "good" it is, using the term "good" probably a dozen times.

Assessing Rosenberg's performance, Pete Najarian said "it feels to me like he's in a bit of denial because he's in terms of David's in denial in terms of (sic grammar) the earnings themselves. … How about housing today."

Joe said in the mall REIT space, "You really are picking a bottom at this point." Joe suggested ESS, AVB and EQR as better REIT names.

Pete said 25% of SPG's leasable space is allocated to M, JCP and SHLD. "That alone should make you scared," Pete said.

Jon Najarian said BBBY July 38 calls were being aggressively bought. Back to school "is like Christmas for these guys," Doc said.

Pete said there was "absolutely massive" buying in MU August 37 calls. He said ORCL 43 puts were being bought merely as protection. Steph Link said she took a "starter position" in ORCL and would buy more on weakness.

Doc said there were negative analyst calls pinching CMG.

Pete said DAL and UAL were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 airline stocks by Atlantic Equities.

Joe said "cook to order" is going to be "incredibly positive" for MCD.

Steph Link couldn't say if she owns more than 10,000 ALXN shares. But, "I do think this guy kinda gets it," she said of the CEO.

Joe Terranova at one point predicted volatility will increase and asserted, "Oil's not staying at 43 for very long."

Anthony Grisanti predicted a crude bottom right around where it's trading. Jim Iuorio predicted "low 42s before it bounces."

Pete's "not too happy" about DIS reaching a 2017 low, but he's selling upside calls. Joe, who seemed flummoxed that DIS isn't at 120, said, "I've been waiting to buy it, I have not bought it, but, but it can't just be specific to ESPN."

Doc mentioned the most important, not-priced-in element to the entire stock market, the "Star Wars" movie.

Joe said tax reform is the "self-preservation" legislation Republicans need. (Actually, it seems more likely there's nothing to do … which is why nothing is happening.) Joe said he thinks tax reform is actually "priced out" of the market now.

Doc bought more S. Pete touted GILD, MRK and PFE. Steph Link endorsed AXP. Joe said to "get yourself exposure" in health care.

[Monday, June 19, 2017]

But what happens after Marcato gets BWLD to unleash all those franchise locations?

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime said GE got an "ostensibly bullish write-up in Barron's … but it was like every compliment was a backhanded compliment."

Brown said he doesn't want to "waste time" in the stock but sees promise in XLI names.

Pete Najarian though said he bought GE on the CEO news; "it's not gonna be the 16-year way that it's been."

Joe Terranova said he bought more PKI. Pete said there's upside in steel, though he's not sure the space has bottomed.

Stephen Weiss said he likes BIIB and the whole big-cap biotech.

Weiss said joining the VRX board is a "great bet" for Paulson.

Josh Brown said QQQ buyers on the chart have come in "exactly where they're supposed to."

Joe Terranova said in a low-vol environment, there are funds that "systemically trade" ETFs such as QQQ.

Weiss referred to Pete Najarian as "Tony Robbins, Joel Osteen here who loves everything."

Josh Brown trumpeted MCD as best of the restaurant stocks and called BWLD "the worst."

Joe touted DPZ and DNKN but scowled at EAT: "I wouldn't touch Brinker." Weiss said DPZ has the best technology but is too expensive (presumably the stock, not the pizza).

Pete said BAC calls were popular. Weiss' final trade was FB. Erin Browne likes KRE. Joe Terranova mentioned NOC. Josh touted JPM.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said the fundamentals in GOOGL haven't changed, so, "I'm just gonna ride it out. And that has been the right thing to do, every time, for the last I don't know how many years."

Pete buys KR

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime said he doesn't agree with the analyst call that the COST story is stale.

Josh Brown would buy COST weakness.

Joe Terranova bought COST in April. He has held onto the name; he said he'll wait for stabilization, then, "I am gonna go in and I'm gonna buy more."

Steve Weiss said AMZN will use WFM as a … can you guess it? … have you heard anyone on CNBC bring this up in the last 4 days? … "distribution center."

But Weiss is down on grocers. "Just avoid the space," he said.

Pete Najarian disagreed, saying he bought "Krogers" (sic plural) on Friday. (He said "Krogers" 3 or 4 more times on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.)

The KR trade is likely a good call; the grocery market is totally fragmented and there should be opportunity for a lot of names — over time — that aren't WFM (in fact many aren't publicly traded).

Pete said someone scooped up SFM December 25 calls and sold Decmeber 17½ puts.

Judge sorta tries to give SNAP skeptics on panel a facial

Judge on Monday's Halftime Report reverted to his new favorite stock to talk about (generally in a skeptical way), SNAP. (This writer is long SNAP.)

"I love this story just because there was so many naysayers, 'They can't do this, they won't do that, they can't compete with- with them. OK," Judge said, mentioning the Time Warner deal as if it were a big deal.

Josh Brown said he doesn't think anyone was a "naysayer" about SNAP's "ability to get big brands to commit to the platform." Then he claimed, "I'm rooting for SNAP, I don't wanna see them not succeed … but can you tell me what the NFL deal did for Twitter."

Here's the thing we don't get. From the moment this IPO occurred, we've been hearing how Facebook is immediately going to wipe out this company. But according to this article, Facebook tried to buy SNAP for $3 billion 4 years ago … so why didn't Facebook wipe it out anytime in the last 4 years before it reached $21 billion valuation?

Whatever. The reason to talk about this stock, up or down, is because it moves, it obviously is fast money (gained or lost) in either direction. Pete Najarian this time wasn't heard to mention "single digits."

Weiss thinks a portfolio manager found something cheaper than AMZN

Steve Weiss unfortunately struggled mightily on Monday's Halftime to make a quality point about AMZN.

Weiss initially said Josh Spencer, the portfolio manager selling AMZN, has presumably found something "cheaper." (Gee, ya think it's possible to find a cheaper P.E. ratio than that of AMZN?)

Both Weiss and Josh Brown contended that making huge money on AMZN from here seems difficult; Weiss tried to claim that getting a double in it from here will be unlikely and that DATA is a better option.

But who — other than NVDA owners — expects an immediate double in anything. If AMZN is $1,300 by year-end (we have no idea if that will be the case), that will be tough for DATA to beat.

Pete Najarian referred to FAANGMAN, apparently the last 3 letters for MSFT, BABA and (everyone's favorite/changing the world right at this moment) NVDA.

Joe Terranova said that if you want to buy selectively in your long-term portfolio now, he's "fine with that."

Joe credited Pete for touting MSFT 5 years ago. Joe said he recently has "been aggressively going after Microsoft."

Josh Brown said 300 has been longtime resistance for the IBB and said a breakout would be "massive."

[Friday, June 16, 2017]

Sounds like even Karen is drinking the AMZN Kool-aid


If you look at the AMZN stock chart from about 2004 to 2009, you'll see more than a few hiccups.

The stock has always had its defenders. But during those hiccups … honestly, we've probably got some of these on tape … the refrain is, "The valuation's so high, it can never even grow into it … it's never going to produce much cash … it's in all these commodity businesses … might even be operating at a loss …"

Then it starts showing movies, and everyone thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Just wait'll it starts building self-driving cars.)

Now, it's apparently even greater … because it bought a fading grocer.

Karen Finerman, long a voice of reason on this stock, is now gushing, on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money singling out Amazon's "connection to the consumer. They didn't have that connection 17 years ago. They didn't have the pervasiveness in everybody's life that they do now. That's the jewel there."

They didn't have that "connection" 17 years ago? This is the most famous stock of the bubble era.

Karen, who admittedly looked not a day over 27 in chic blue short sleeves, claimed that somehow AMZN can make this industry work. "I think that if anybody can, Amazon can, just because of scale."

She indicated she's staying long WFM, in part on the potential of a higher bid. "Wal-Mart has got to be thinking about this right now … they bought Jet, they're changing the business," Karen said.

As for chance of another bid, "I would say, I don't know, 1 of 4."

She pointed out UNFI got crushed and said she was surprised it wasn't down more on the prospect of Amazon slashing margins. But guest host Sully said Whole Foods will still have to buy goods from somewhere; "they don't have Amazon farms that I know of," Sully said.

Sully tried to claim people have been hailing AMZN for being "asset light." Tim and Karen both said that's hogwash (though they didn't quite use that term).

Guy Adami suggested WMT. "Kroger's close to being irrelevant," spewed Tim Seymour, who typically says a lot about nothing and could use a trim in the back.

Dan Nathan made a tremendous point, noting less than 10% of all U.S. retail sales are online.

As for another WFM bidder, "Nobody else is gonna buy this company other than Amazon," Nathan asserted.

Why shouldn’t NFLX buy WFM? Can’t it squeeze the supplier just as much as anyone else?

Amazon Kool-aid was being served throughout the day on CNBC, including during Friday's Halftime Report.

Josh Brown said the WFM deal is "shocking to everyone" and that Amazon's apparent long-term focus on top line is maybe "a model that other companies are gonna start to adopt successfully."

News flash: Other companies are going to start trying to grow revenues.

Brown who this time didn't have Weiss telling him to tone down the arrogance mocked TGT "killing itself" to reach mid-single-digits earnings growth while being down 28% with a P.E. of 11 and yielding 4%.

Jon Najarian called it a "great deal" and said AMZN gained $15 billion market cap while paying $13 billion, a "brilliant play."

Ross Levinsohn called AMZN's move "stunning" and said the buzz had been about AMZN buying Slack, but now he could see a "run on big acquisitions in, in the media space … are cars off limit?"

Why not?

Jim Lebenthal, offering a welcome voice of reason, said "obviously this is a turn" by AMZN and pointed out other companies' attempts at "automating" the grocery business in the 1990s.

But (sigh) he said if anyone can do it, Amazon can. (So why don't they buy some biotechs and cure cancer.) (Oh. That's not enough "connection to the consumer.")

Also, Ross Levinsohn said AMZN previously has bought "discount" names, so WFM is "outside of what they do."

Jon Najarian also said he bought KR because in the last 30 minutes, because people were buying calls.

Kourtney Gibson predicted we'll see grocery margins "begin to squeeze." Doc started to break down the Aldi arrangement to Josh; unfortunately Judge didn't spend more time on this because we get confused by that too, and it's interesting.

Kourtney Gibson said something we didn't know, that Whole Foods doesn't sell Cheerios. Judge said they do but not the Honey Nut variety.

Then we got more hyperbole. "Could they buy FedEx," Levinsohn asked. Jim mentioned "autonomous cars" (Bingo).

Meanwhile, "The drumbeat of Apple-Tesla will start again," Ross said. "How does the stock react if Elon Musk is running Apple. It goes through the roof, right?"

Judge spends 17 straight minutes commercial-free talking about SNAP, which Pete Najarian and Guy Adami say is going to single digits based on options trading

Judge on Friday's Halftime told Brian White he's gonna be "frank" but wondered why anyone should buy SNAP before the lockup expiration, which, just being honest here, is so unbelievably priced into this stock already. (This writer is long SNAP.)

White correctly said, "They really do start to anticipate the lockup expiration," then offered, "Lockup or no lockup, I wanna own it at this price."

Josh scoffed that White said the company will grow "100%," insisting "definitely not" 100% in user growth or engagement metrics.

White said SNAP has entree to millennials, which is what's "very powerful" about the brand.

Ross Levinsohn said he's still a SNAP bull but was "frankly stunned" at the first quarter miss.

He also suggested he felt lanced like a bull in a bullfight, which means he's probably not the leading contender to be SNAP's Eric Schmidt.

"I think it's a rough quarter," Levinoshn said. But, "I'm in it for the long haul."

However, "If you're in this thing for a short-term trade, I'd probably get out," Levinsohn said, which is obviously a call that it's going below 17, which it hasn't done yet.

"Facebook has set its sights on Snapchat, which means it's worried about it," Levinsohn explained.

Noted technology insider Kourtney Gibson declared, "If you have a dollar as an advertiser … you are not getting a return on that by putting it into Snapchat."

Gibson added, "Give me 2 years, Snapchat's irrelevant."

Jim Cramer showed up and screwed around and talked over questions while Judge was trying to get his attention. Cramer said he always finds this kind of lockup "debilitating." (Really. Seems like it's massively priced in, given that people somehow can't stop talking about it.)

Cramer said his kids "love" Snapchat … but his beef is … he can't get around the corporate governance.

Ross Levinsohn, who was playing both sides of the SNAP debate, pointed out, "People were racing out of Facebook in the first year … given Evan credit. This guy has created something that, that even has Mark Zuckerberg scared."

But Levinsohn said "I hear things coming out of there, a lot of executives leaving, a lot of turnover."

Doc and Kourtney Gibson told Cramer that SNAP is more likely than TWTR to hit 25. Which would only be a 40% return from Friday's price.

Jim: 48-51 is ‘killer buy area’ for NKE

Matthew Boss on Friday's Halftime first crowed about upgrading NKE 4 years ago and claiming it "outperformed the S&P by 40% over that time."

In case you doubt the accuracy of his recent call.

Now, Boss said, the North American marketplace is in "consolidation mode."

"The norm is now that you can get Nike on discount. Under Armour is needing to follow suit," Boss said, calling that a "big change," even though we've seen discounts in sports apparel all the time for decades.

Jim Lebenthal, forever seeking to fill the other half of his NKE position under 50, said Boss' move "is actually helping me" get there. He asked Boss about international. Boss said NKE can't afford a "hiccup" in China.

Boss said FL has "a high degree of mix" with NKE. (This writer is long FL.)

Jon Najarian said "nobody on the desk is happy" about owning NKE.

Kourtney Gibson said she can "stomach" owning NKE "at the end of the day"; it will be fine, it's just a matter of "turbulence."

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't think "this goes below 48." Jim called 48-51 a "killer buy area."

Josh Brown said it's wrong to focus on the distribution rather than demand for the product.

Sully reveals: ‘I’m extremely smart’

Jeff Kilburg on Friday's Halftime Report said "I think we go higher" in crude. Anthony Grisanti said it won't happen unless gasoline demand picks up.

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was MRK despite the downtrend since ASCO. Kourtney Gibson offered DIS and said Loop Capital has a 117 target. Josh Brown said COST, and Jon Najarian said POT.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, guest host Brian Sullivan said, "I'm just having trouble understanding. That was fake self-deprecation; I'm extremely smart."

[Thursday, June 15, 2017]

Weiss to Josh: ‘Tone down the arrogance for just 2 minutes’

It accomplished virtually nothing — except to curiously push the boundaries of panelist sniping on the Halftime Report, which admittedly is entertaining (when it's not cringe-worthy).

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime basically endorsed the stock market and said you should be cautious "no more today or no less yesterday."

Steve Weiss pounced, stating, "That's the definition of complacency."

"I've been right for, I don't know, 7 or 8 years, so I guess I'm complacent," Josh said.

"Congratulations. Let me know when you catch up to me," Weiss said.

Judge tried to cut in, stating, "This doesn't need to be a personal-"

Josh insisted "No it apparently does," then questioned why it's "complacent" to "accept" the occasional pullbacks that happen all the time.

Weiss said it's "complacent" to take all these data points "and saying that they can't impact the market."

"Who said that," Brown demanded. "I feel you showed up in the mood to argue, but I didn't say anything like that."

Weiss said he wouldn't "put anything in your mouth," then ordered, "Tone down the arrogance for just 2 minutes."

That's when Judge decided to put the foot down. "Here's what we're not gonna do. OK. We're not gonna have this personal nonsense," Judge said.

Brown and Weiss were arguing about basically nothing, but Weiss ended up wearing the goat horns with this loopy summary: "I think you have to be cautious, more than normal cautiousness."

Wrong. This market is what 1986 was to Mets fans, and even though not every stock is going to go up all the time, you're a chucklehead to stay out of it and guess at phantom crashes.

If Weiss actually reported WHEN the pullback was going to happen, that indeed would be valuable insight. Actually he has no clue about when his "more than normal cautiousness" will pay off if ever.

Unfortunately, Joe Terranova fell into the same trap, noting the market is "continuing a trading event" that started Friday and asserting that if you're overweight growth, "you're paring it back."

Kari Firestone got it right, saying "it's business as usual." Jon Najarian, who had a quiet show, expected "more of a bloodbath" in the FAANGs than what happened.

Judge said it's "astounding" that the market's where it is given all the "news" and "noise."

How much longer until the biotechs start working on self-driving cars?

Stephen Weiss on Thursday's Halftime said he "should be" invested in health care, but he can't tell you why he's not.

Joe Terranova said he's "amazed" by how well biotech has traded over the last 5 days.

Josh Brown said he'd "stay small" in the biotech space.

Kari Firestone touted BMY and AGN. Jon Najarian touted BMY's strength in rheumatoid arthritis, which he called "the next home run" for that name.

Doc once again says an option trade that goes bust is ‘a lot better than being in the stock’

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report said August 24 calls in X were popular. He said there was also activity in AKS.

But Steve Weiss said he'd stay away from steel stocks.

Doc said owning KR calls on Thursday, as he is/was, "it's a lot better than being in the stock," a comment that (we've noted many times before) makes no sense.

Bob Iaccino said the dollar is driving gold as long as all the geopolitical concerns stay quiet. Jim Iuorio said gold may reach 1,235, "but not much below."

Joe Terranova said he's "very skeptical" about oil. "I think energy when you look at it specifically is in trouble here," saying he wouldn't be surprised to see a 3-print.

Richard Fisher said the Fed has been "clear as a bell" about its intentions.

Kari Firestone said GOOGL is "expensive by historic standards." Judge said the Canaccord analyst who downgraded it is maintaining the price target, which says something "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink).

Josh Brown called UAA "one of my favorite risk/rewards, um, in the entire market."

Joe Terranova said what's "amazing" to him about MAT is that there aren't activists in the name.

Kari Firestone hung a 120 on V.

Kari Firestone's final trade was CME, citing a pickup in volatility (see, we're told the stock works regardless of volatility but that it really works when volatility rises (snicker)). Weiss said more than normal cautiousness FB. Doc said NFLX.

[Wednesday, June 14, 2017]

Andy Chase expresses
about 16% of his worries

Andy Chase on Wednesday somehow managed an invite to Judge's show despite expressing the opposite of the company line, which goes something like "Maybe it's time to get really scared about the FAANG stocks."

Chase said stocks look good because, "When interest rates go down, it, it inflates asset prices everywhere."

As for corrections, Chase doesn't see it. "There's no place for the cash to go at this point," he said.

Curiously, Chase said he's "1% worried about inflation and too much growth and 14, 15% or something like that about something going wrong in the world."

Also curiously, "I don't like to use the word 'stocks' any more. It's just the damnedest thing; I don't like using it," Chase said.

"I say 'equities,'" Josh Brown said.

Judge asked Chase about the Trump agenda. (Whew — afraid he might've asked Steph about that with Doc on the panel.)

Anyway, "I'm not sure I believe in the Trump agenda," Chase said.

Judge told Chase that tax reform, "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink), could expand the market multiple. Chase acknowledged it's "pretty big" and not factored into prices "at all."

Jon Najarian talked about cash on the sideline or how "afraid" some people are as possible catalysts for further upside.

Struggling to coordinate D.C. interruptions, Judge snapped at Josh Brown for bringing up V and MA after a question about the banks; "You know where I'm going; don't give me the Visa and Mastercard …"

Brown said XLV and XLI were making new highs while he spoke. "This is not a bad scenario for equities," Josh said.

Doc predicted massive M&A "in spades" if repatriation happens.

"I think market's goin' higher," Chase said.

Aw, man, we’re still traumatized by that ‘showboat’ analyst releasing a report … on SUNDAY

Josh Brown, who said he remains long NVDA, said on Wednesday's Halftime it has a 1.5 beta, so "you could get knocked out, uh, in a day, if you can't name the CEO you're overly leveraged, or whatever."

"The buzz around Nintendo Switch is incredible," Brown said, "and every one of these units has an Nvidia chip in there."

Jon Najarian said there have been "several opportunities" to buy NVDA and others on the dips.

Sarat Sethi cogently said NVDA is appealing because this kind of growth is rare, "but it also will miss a quarter here or there," and the pullback then could be 25-30%. An excellent point, though we can't see this stock in this particular market remaining down 30% for more than … maybe 5 minutes. (This writer has no position in NVDA.)

Stephanie Link was trimming LRCX, even though it's not expensive, because "all of these stocks are so well-owned, and who's your incremental buyer?" But Link said AVGO is still "good value."

Link said she bought ORCL. Josh Brown backed the chart, but then Doc (uh oh) muscled into the conversation, stating, "Gartner's been saying, server shipments are gonna be down 4½%, that works against these guys, against Oracle," but Europe growth might offset it. Sarat Sethi contended there's a "floor under the stock."

Sarat Sethi said HRB was popping on margin expansion and low expectations, but he didn't tell viewers whether to buy or sell.

Doc said nothing about the BIIB/ALXN news that viewers couldn't already see in the graphic.

Steph Link still likes APC.

Josh said he would sell FIVE "with 5 fingers."

Doc said there was upside call buying in GIS amid Nestle rumors.

Sarat Sethi said to keep buying GOOGL.

Steph Link said HD, LOW, SWK and WHR will "continue to work."

Josh brought up the INDA again.

[Tuesday, June 13, 2017]

Gotta wonder if ‘Know the CEO’s name’ is even a chapter in How We Trade Options

As to recent trading in prominent technology stocks, Pete Najarian reported on Tuesday's Halftime that it "feels like the algos actually took over on Friday, right," adding the FAANGs were sold off "unjustly."

Jim Lebenthal said, "It does feel like this is over," a "2-3-day mini-correction."

Joe Terranova grumbled about talking to people over the weekend who bragged about selling NVDA on Friday with big profits while "they couldn't even name the CEO or tell me what Nvidia does."

Seizing an opening to issue another stock-market warning, Judge said that according to a B of A fund manager survey, "They say a record number of investors believe that equities are overvalued."

"I take it as a contrarian indicator," Jon Najarian said.

Traders assured us about 7 times in the first 10 minutes that the selloff really was algorithmically driven.

And that algos are a part of trading.

"None of us are demonizing it," said Jon Najarian.

Jim Lebenthal insisted the rotation "if it's happening" (snicker) from growth to value has lasted "2 weeks, not 2 days."

Joe Terranova said he watched Monday's show and thought Pete and Jim Cramer "did a fantastic job."

Joe: Market delivered ‘shot across the bow’ to growth overweights

It was just Thursday that Joe Terranova, earnestly making a point on the Halftime Report, made a rather confusing statement about the markets evaluating White House "behavior" and "judgment" but apparently blessing it (see below) that frankly left us scratching our heads.

History unfortunately repeated itself Tuesday when Joe was asked by Judge for some real-time investment strategy.

Joe first said, "In terms of your portfolio, a longer-term portfolio, the events of the last couple of days shouldn't sway you to do very much at all."

Fine point, we agree, just a blip of a correction, nothing to see here, move along.

But then Joe said, "If you have an overweight growth strategy … you take a look, you say, OK, I want more value in my portfolio, less growth."

So on the one hand, don't do much … but on the other hand, trim some growth names and replace them with value.

Judge asked why anyone wants less growth. Joe said overweight growth was supported by fundamentals since Jan. 1, but, "You look at what happened, you treat it as a shot across the bow in your portfolio."

But he also said, "This was all about trading the last couple of days," which doesn't sound to us rubes like much of a shot of anything.

Joe takes loss on TWTR (at least he didn’t buy SNAP, which Pete suggests is going to single digits)

In one of those statements that wrongly included a qualifier that made the sentence either 1) redundant or 2) contradictory, Steve Liesman on Tuesday's Halftime said, "If they want rates to go up, then investors in financial stocks should be excited."

Jon Najarian suggested rates could climb this time after a Fed hike. Pete Najarian touted the XLF.

Joe Terranova said, "I think banks go higher."

Jim Lebenthal predicted a higher 10-year yield and suggested TBT.

Doc said ETSY September 15 calls were bought in big numbers. Pete Najarian said AVGO call buyers were scooping up January 320s.

Doc said he'd stick with WYNN.

Joe said BABA fundamentally looks good, though a 190 target "is a long way off."

Pete said of WDC, "you'd (sic conditional) wanna be in this stock."

Brian Stutland predicted 1,300 gold based on Yellen's dovishness. Scott Nations said "below 1,240, it's really in trouble."

Joe said he bought TWTR around 18.50 and sold it around 17.25; it "wasn't doing anything for me."

Doc suggested FMSA, saying he bought it Tuesday.

Jim: AMZN, NFLX, NVDA bubbles

Jim Lebenthal on Tuesday's Halftime Report declared AMZN, and a couple others, a little frothy.

"I think it, Netflix and Nvidia are in a bubble," Jim said. Then he carped again about trading the FAANGs as a "basket."

Jon Najarian trumpeted selling AMZN puts over $13 that are now worth $2, for those who can go back in time.

Doc then said Ron Baron's $1,000 TSLA call is "late to the party," though somehow despite saying that, "I'm not gonna go against what he's saying."

Pete Najarian actually said of TSLA, "we always put it in the GM category." Seriously?

Then he actually seemed to claim the SolarCity acquisition was a positive.

Jim Lebenthal, incredibly, said "there's some seriousness" to the notion of putting a solar panel on your roof to charge your electric car.

Doc said TSLA doesn't have the "extra weight" of union deals like the Big 3 automakers.

Najarii don’t see a whole lot of short-term upside in UA

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report said the UA move was "probably more short covering than anything, quite frankly."

Jon Najarian said that under 20 was a "really great time" to focus on UA, for those viewers with a time machine. "Nike could be ready to break out," Doc said.

NKE fan Jim Lebenthal doesn't "get" why some people like UA more. (He's also probably going to buy the 2nd half of his NKE position when it drops below 50.)

Jim said you "can hold" FL, but he's not rushing out to buy it. (This writer is long FL.) "It's cheap, but it just stays cheap," Jim said.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Monday, June 12, 2017]

Cramer mocks analyst as trying to grab attention, gives him attention on TV

It's reminiscent of when Dave Barry wrote a column in the late '80s about Brent Musburger and Ara Parseghian broadcasting Notre Dame football games … "Hey, some scuzzbag TACKLED Tim Brown!!" "I'll kill the SOB!"

Well, someone else actually DOWNGRADED Apple.

Abhey Lamba, who issued the Mizuho downgrade, said on Monday's Halftime Report he thinks both AAPL's earnings and multiple "are towards the upper end of the ranges."

Lamba said the AAPL multiple, before Friday, "was at a 7-year high," a fair point.

Jim Cramer played Ara Parseghian this time, curiously asking Lamba with his first question why Lamba issued the note on Sunday rather than Monday, as if that means ... anything.

"You know what Jim, you look at the note. It's not put together in half an hour. It's not put together in 1 day," Lamba said.

Lamba said he downgraded the stock a couple years ago around highs and got flak on CNBC and upgraded it a while back when it was struggling and still got flak on CNBC.

Stephen Weiss said, "In China, it's tough to explain why their market share has declined so precipitously."

But Pete Najarian said "they're waiting for the next upgrade."

Jim Cramer, who asked Lamba a flurry of questions and kept cutting him off before he could fully answer, tried to claim at the end, "I liked the call, from the point of view of …."

So if he’s a ‘victim,’ surely some other company will snap him up right away, no?

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime said to hold GE because now that Immelt's on the way out, Cramer's "hearing nothing but good things about his successor … the guy is tough as nails."

Josh Brown said some of GE's comps with other companies in similar industries are "embarrassing." Brown said the stock is in "no-man's land."

Josh said he's not buying more GE because it doesn't seem like a Ballmer-to-Nadella moment; rather, there's a feeling "it's an in-bred management team."

Pete Najarian said he bought GE in the morning, an interesting trade. "I think changes will occur at GE at a much faster pace than they have been," Pete said.

But really, Pete was excited because someone bought a "massive options position" in GE.

Judge tried to float the notion of Immelt being a "victim of circumstances" (snicker), insisting, "Everybody (sic) praised the Baker Hughes thing when it happened. Everybody (sic). … Who knew it was at the top."

Things quickly went downhill for Steve Weiss as soon as he uncorked one of the clumsiest and most inaccurate analogies in recent memory, saying that to make "real money" in the market, you have to believe in "elements of concentration and volatility," which is why GE doesn't work because it's the "opposite of concentration" because the company is so diverse, there will always be units that aren't working.

Josh Brown quickly and impressively shot down this daffy notion, asking a good and obvious question, why isn't Berkshire Hathaway similarly hated. Weiss claimed, "He's selectively buying great assets."

"GE has 4 business units; Berkshire has 6," Brown said.

"But they're- they're- the visions- there are divisions under those divisions and he's recently just cut it down from (sic) 4 positions (sic)," Weiss actually said.

(Sigh) We're almost tired of pointing this out. Immelt's a likable guy. People think he's a great guy. That's important. CNBCers protect him because of that … and because he was their longtime boss. Everyone should wish him well; nobody should feel sorry for him. If you're hosting an Aspen conference where everyone wears sweaters and discusses the New Economy over $875 bottles of wine, he's your No. 1 invite. If he's running a company, he sucks. This tenure is an embarrassing disaster. So there you go.

Maybe the FAANG plunge was the 57th anxiety attack chronicled by Ed Yardeni since 2009

Grandpa Judge got the chance on Monday's Halftime to talk about his favorite subject, a crash in FAANG.

Jim Cramer, who monopolized much of the program (as CNBC seeks higher ratings), and the rest of the panelists mostly shrugged; Steve Weiss first said he bought a couple more tech stocks Monday, DATA and then AKAM, except then he said he wasn't buying AKAM on Monday but something else he couldn't remember.

Josh Brown quizzed his co-panelists on the Viking Global news in an effort to make a point about the possibility of a large tech holder unwinding, but before that point was fully made, Weiss cut in to claim "they are one of the best long-term performing hedge funds" and insist Brown give them credit.

Jon Najarian dialed in to say the mayhem in the QQQs happened in the first 15 minutes of trading, then people came in to get hedged, so this looks like some sort of potential bottom for the short term.

Weiss said there have been a lot of "tourists" who bought the "momentum" in tech. (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

Karen Finerman, devastating in white turtleneck on the 5 p.m. Fast Money guest-helmed by Judge, said the last couple days' worth of tech-stock activity isn't nearly enough to change her thesis on some big tech names and sell them.

Wait a minute — did they go an entire program without saying it’s all over, right now, for SNAP?*

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime said June 67 calls in C were being bought, which made us realize that Mike Mayo hasn't been on for, oh, maybe 6 weeks.

Jim Cramer said the Ira Sohn champ is wrong about PYPL C is finally trading at tangible book.

Cramer and Josh Brown mocked the Pivotal downgrade of ADBE. Stephen Weiss wondered, "When does valuation matter," explaining, "It's gonna be down 20%; that's real alpha-killing." (But isn't it a "concentrated" way of making "real money" in stocks?)

Josh Brown's final trade was INDA; Weiss said CAVM. Pete said SBUX and Cramer said PLCE.

(*This writer is long SNAP.) (Ah. Pete Najarian on the 5 p.m. show said single-digit SNAP puts were being bought.)

AAPL down 7% in less than a week after Judge, Josh scoff at ‘dangerous’ downgrade

That was quick.

Andy Hargreaves last week dialed into the Halftime Report on Tuesday and said he'd rather be early than late on his AAPL downgrade.

Hargreaves had to fend off Josh Brown and Jon Najarian (augmented reality or whatever the heck it is) and Jim Lebenthal (India could be "very big") before Judge called such a downgrade a "dangerous game" and Josh said it's "worse than dangerous."

But 4 trading days later, the shares were already at Hargreaves' $145 target (presumably because the company hasn't said anything about self-driving cars in a few days). (And maybe the stock's just having one of Ed Yardeni's market "anxiety attacks," of which there have been 56 since 2009, which has caused "anxiety fatigue" among some.)

Normally, we wouldn't care about an analyst's long-term call, but when one of them outs the Halftime panel and even Judge (in and of himself) as (in this case) another wing of the momentum-trading crowd, it should be noted.

[Friday, June 9, 2017]

Is it possible for the probability of an unexpected event to rise? Doesn’t that make it slightly expected?

Steve Weiss on Friday's Halftime Report whined that he's an "intrinsic (snicker) investor" who can't "analyze" the intrinsic value of gold because it's an "emotional currency."

Rob Sechan though (photo above not from Friday) called gold "interesting" and "a hedge against unexpected outcomes."

But … uh oh … then he said, "The probability of an unexpected outcome has gone up." (Not sure how he could prove that particular statement. But whatever.)

"I think inflation's dead," said Ed Yardeni.

Jeff Kilburg said to "look for dollar strength" over 97. Jim Iuorio said "the downtrend is still comfortably intact."

Ed Yardeni keeps track of stock market ‘anxiety attacks,’ said his clients got ‘anxiety fatigue’ during fiscal cliff

Steve Weiss on Friday's Halftime Report claimed, "There's a lot of complacency out there."

Rob Sechan, who said he likes financials and energy (snicker), said that unlike Weiss, "I don't see investor complacency. I see invested skepticism. I see people looking for reasons not to be in the market."

"Animal spirits will come back," Sechan asserted to Weiss, which 1) is rather late to that concept and 2) was followed by this clunker, "I think what you're gonna see is markets going higher on a rotation from growth to value (snicker) and from U.S. to non-U.S. it's gonna happen."

(Say, broker? I’d much rather buy shares of Transocean than Nvidia.)

Weiss responded, "To me, that's the definition of complacency. Only seeing everything positive, positive, positive."

Ed Yardeni stated, "It's been a bull market for a long time and it's a bull- been a bull market uh that has been plagued by these uh recurring anxiety attacks. I've kept a diary of these things since March 2009; there's been 56 anxiety attacks. Some of 'em were just outright corrections of 10-20%, and some of 'em were mini-corrections."

Yardeni said that during all the 2013 fiscal cliff hype, "My clients were starting to get anxiety fatigue."

Judge, who too often has stumbled his way through this electric stock market by talking about Carl's "Day of Reckoning" (how'd that work out?) and bringing on Marc Faber and overall issuing the equivalent of a bubble warning on nearly every program (Friday it was "The Fang Trade: Buy or Beware?"), opened the show stating the market has "amazing resiliency."

Ya think?

Josh Brown pointed out that "tech is flat" recently (and that was before the late-day meltdown) and the small caps were outperforming the S&P again Friday, a subject bound to excite Jim Lebenthal.

Jim said that's "a subset of what I've seen for about 9 days now, which is that value is starting to outperform growth."

"Mid cap/small cap is blowing it out of the water," said Kevin O'Leary.

Judge somehow decided he didn't want to air any commercials for the first 26 minutes. (Too bad, we were hoping to learn of some pillow products that are out there.)

Weiss bailed on oversold X just before it cleared his initial 10% goal this week

In an absolutely useless conversation, Keith Meister told Judge on Friday that "I think today, uh, big picture, is a great day for Pandora shareholders."

"I think it's the beginning of Pandora 2.0," Meister added, pointing to the benefits of scale and stating Pandora's getting cash and intellectual capital.

And then he started talking about how Buffalo Wild Wings should franchise more of its stores. (That was a joke, for regular (snicker) readers of this page.)

We figure this would be a good time to relay the panel's commentary on either SNAP (it sucks) (this writer is long SNAP) or TWTR (it's just such a UNIQUE property). But there wasn't any.

Kevin O'Leary griped, "I don't understand why people consider Facebook a tech company. It is an advertising platform extraordinaire."

Jim Lebenthal contrasted valuation of AAPL with NFLX and told Josh Brown, who kept interrupting, "They shouldn't be an acronym. They're not the same company."

‘Comey’ not heard once just a day after supposedly explosive/damaging testimony

It's one of the things we love, and hate, about the stock market.

In the last 2 years, when BABA was in the 60s, we heard on CNBC (not from everyone) every negative in the book: counterfeit goods, opaque accounting, off-balance-sheet maneuvers, ties to the communist party.

Now that it's in the 140s, it's suddenly a great alpha play that's cheaper than AMZN.

Kevin O'Leary on Friday's Halftime grumbled, "I'm not saying it's a bad company, but I don't know how to read its balance sheet."

Judge rightly pointed out, "Somebody's buying it."

Josh Brown said hedge fund managers "love it" because "it's not in the S&P 500, but it's enormous." He also said the BABA story is "starting to catch on" with retail investors.

Stephen Weiss, who used to tout JD as a better option, called BABA a "microcosm of the market" and said he regretted missing this one.

O'Leary questioned how BABA can have higher margins than AMZN. "They operate in China," Weiss said.

How much has Ackman benefited from deploying his time somewhere besides watching VRX top 14

Strangely trying to thread the needle, Andrew Left on Friday's Halftime Report said the market has been "overreactive" to Nvidia.

While acknowledging it's a great company, "It's no longer a stock, it's a casino," Left said.

Jim Cramer, summoned 1) to talk about that Sohn champ's Paypal short 2) to boost ratings for no reason we could determine, said, "I would be afraid to be short this" because NVDA has "greater fool money" in it.

"Unfortunately it got way ahead of itself," Left said of NVDA.

Josh Brown said Left "nails" the "casino" point, "but I think that's temporary," which reminds us of when the 5 p.m. Fast Money was hailing the Nomura analyst's "thoughtful" downgrade to 90 a few months ago (how'd that one work out).

Kevin O'Leary scoffed at Brown's analogy of NVDA to INTC's big growth when Pentium sales exploded with Windows 95. Steve Weiss said, "This is exactly like Qualcomm was in the boom times of 99-2000."

Kevin O'Leary touted one of his own ETFs for his final trade. Rob Sechan likes Europe but not the U.K., which has "too much consternation." Jim Lebenthal said MPC and other refiners are in their "final euphoric push" with another 10%. Weiss added to AKAM.

[Thursday, June 8, 2017]

O’Leary: Zero chance
of impeachment

After the testimony of James Comey on Thursday that preempted most of the Halftime Report, Kevin O'Leary shrugged.

"My take on this is investors don't give a damn," O'Leary said.

Pete Najarian pointed to the VIX and said the Comey event was "fairly much of a flat thing."

Pete said there was "huge call-buying" in banks.

Jim Lebenthal contended, "The market is thinking the reflation trade is back on," offering, "the 10-year going to 2.20 doesn't exactly razzle dazzle me."

Joe Terranova curiously said "the market is telling you it's inappropriate behavior, it's bad judgment," but he said he's been buying the market and that the movement for tax reform "gains some momentum."

Indulging in serious hyperbole, Judge said the Comey event "absolutely lived up to its billing" as "political theater of the highest order."

O'Leary concluded, "The chance that Trump is gonna be impeached is zero."

[Wednesday, June 7, 2017]

Mel & Ken Griffin attended Harvard around the same time

Chris Whalen on Wednesday's Halftime Report apparently called out Doc in a tweet for suggesting a "bet on banks."

Doc said he doesn't disagree with Whalen on rates but thinks earnings are driving the stocks. Stephen Weiss said the most important thing Whalen tweeted was that the "credit cycle's peaking."

Bob Pisani at the Sandler O'Neill conference chatted up Thomas Peterffy, who indicated that precision options pricing has reduced volatility.

But later on Power Lunch, Ken Griffin told Pisani that "Volatility is low because of the interventionist policy of central banks around the world."

Peterffy said options are "too cheap now," and the right trade is to be buying.

Griffin said that regarding liquidity, stocks aren't splitting like they used to.

Peterffy said, "We cannot make any money in the market-making business because we refuse to trade against our customers' orders and we do not buy other brokers' customer orders to trade against."

Griffin said we need tax rates "somewhere into the 20s."

Griffin said "inflation I think is the big issue that we are all very complacent about." But then he mentioned health care cost structure and education as things that worry him.

Brian Sullivan teased Melissa Lee that Griffin went to Harvard and was trading high-yield bonds there; apparently making a "Good Will Hunting" joke, Sully told Mel, "How 'bout them apples."

Panel: SNAP sucks

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime reported Anthony DiClemente's call that SNAP isn't going anywhere in Q2. (This writer is long SNAP.)

Steve Weiss called SNAP's first public quarterly report "inexcusable." Pete said the competition SNAP has gotten from FB is "absolutely astronomical" and called the stock a "no-touch" (actually, "no touch" on CNBC occasionally means something is going up).

Judge said DiClemente mentioned the lockup (Drink). (If the business model is garbage, why do they keep caring about the lockup.) (And why do they keep talking about this name.)

"This thing's a pig in a poke," Doc said. "For ways that people communicate, this isn't gonna be one of them for much longer." (But maybe it would if the company started building self-driving cars.)

Doc noted, though, that he bought after the earnings disaster (he had been trumpeting the stock into that earnings report, but whatever); Guy Adami too made a great call on that as the stock plunged to 17 and change afterhours and was nearing 22 within a week or two. But Guy said this week on Fast Money if it tests 17 again, it'll probably crash through. Then again, after DiClemente's call Wednesday, the shares were still $2 higher than the afternoon of the barely-hazmat-suit-safe-to-approach earnings call.

Weiss: ATVI CEO unloaded half his stake in the high 40s

Sarat Sethi on Wednesday's Halftime quibbled with the BMO downgrade of PEP but said he wouldn't chase it here.

He said PEP is more diversified than Coke, but Pete Najarian said, "I like 'em both."

Jon Najarian said he likes DPS, but his "No. 1 pick" of the group is PEP.

Doc said someone bought a "ton" of October 62.50 puts in CTSH. Pete said someone was buying January 300 calls in AVGO and selling 200 puts.

Doc said he bought and sold AMBA but made only "a little bit" of money.

Steve Weiss said he tried to trade X but quickly got out because there was no bounce; he'd "stay away."

Sarat Sethi said UAL, which has a 103 from UBS, has a "great tailwind behind it."

Pete likes THC better than HCA but thinks UNH and HUM are better names.

Jeff Kilburg said "we will see $1,300" in gold, citing "global tensions mounting." Scott Nations said he doesn't think gold will get much higher than 1,300.

Sarat Sethi said GOOGL is "not like SNAP (the stock everyone was hating Wednesday) in terms of management" and also mentioned "artificial intelligence" (snicker) and … drum roll … driverless cars.

Weiss said not owning GOOGL from the IPO is "one of my bigger regrets in terms of stocks."

Judge brought up ATVI. Weiss said it's a "good lesson" in insider selling because the CEO "sold half his position I think in the high 40s."

Weiss' final trade was GIMO, citing Elliott influence. Pete trumpeted HA up 8.6%. Doc said SQ and S based on unusual activity, noting January 30 calls in SQ. Sarat Sethi said if oil approaches 40, there'll be "a lot more fear" in the market, however, he'd buy it at 40.

Good thing Soc Gen didn’t downgrade AAPL, that’s ‘worse than dangerous’

Somehow grasping for usable material in a great stock market, Judge, who can't just get to the point and call this an '86 Mets Market, opened Wednesday's Halftime with a go-round on whether Soc Gen is right about too much pessimism in the market and that there are higher prices ahead.

Jon Najarian said, "There's not pessimism in the markets, or we wouldn't be setting record high after record high after record high."

Stephen Weiss said Soc Gen is making the "right call," but he too disagrees with the pessimism "supposition."

Weiss contended, "Frankly, if the Trump agenda doesn't happen for a while, that's better for the market."

Sarat Sethi said he's in the Soc Gen camp but he doesn't disagree with David Kostin's 5% correction call (snicker) because "We all know these corrections come."

Weiss said, "5% is nothing in the total scheme of things. It's not even a definitional correction."

Judge stated that if Soc Gen is right, hedge funds who have the "biggest net short position in 6 years on the Russell" according to the CFTC are on the wrong side of the trade. Weiss said that we don't know "what that short is against."

Weiss said of Donald Trump, "It'll be a surprise if any of what he wants to do happens."

Weiss mentioned "Day of Reckoning" in terms of politics (but not in terms of Carl Icahn's call of a year ago) (how'd that one turn out).

Judge said the market seems to have a "big yawn" about the price of oil. But Doc admitted he's got a lot of energy plays, including XOP, that have "flipped on me."

Pete Najarian admitted all the paper he's been seeing in energy the last couple days has been wrong.

[Tuesday, June 6, 2017]

Karen ‘pulled the trigger’ on FL

Brian Stutland on Tuesday's Halftime Report said there's "definitely a possibility" for gold to rise another 5%.

Anthony Grisanti said as long as gold can keep holding each end of the channel, it should go higher, perhaps even $1,365.

Jim Lebenthal called gold a "referendum on the Federal Reserve right now. They are going to go in June."

Joe Terranova said the GLD keeps going up, but he has "no understanding why I'm long gold."

Jim Lebenthal, who made a great call on THO earnings a day ago, said he likes WGO ahead of its earnings later this month because, "When Thor outperforms, Winnebago just crests right into their report." Evidently, that comment helped give the shares some extra horsepower for the rest of the day (this review was posted after market close).

Josh Brown said "3M is the best-looking chart in all of industrial land."

Jon Najarian said "smart money" has been buying 25 calls in SQ.

Doc still owns calls in CRM.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said she loves when stock moves occur in "integers," revealing, "I pulled the trigger today" on FL, citing a "superb" balance sheet and an "overdone" selloff. However, Karen unfortunately touted C during the program.

Downgrading AAPL called
‘worse than dangerous’

Judge told Andy Hargreaves on Tuesday's Halftime, "It's good to have you, um, uh, even on the phone."

Hargreaves said he "might be" early on his AAPL downgrade, but he'd rather be early than late.

Hargreaves, who said the speaker device from the WWDC isn't exactly a great profit-boosting product for AAPL, told Josh Brown that AR (snicker) is still "really, really early."

He told Joe Terranova he has "no issues" with the app store, but he thinks growth will decelerate.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't think the iPhone 8 is priced in, citing "a lot of pent-up demand" and stating no one's talking about India; "that could be very big."

Doc said he disagrees with Hargreaves because of the "potential of that augmented reality (snicker) on the iPhone" and growing paid subscriptions.

Judge said it's a "dangerous game" to get in front of this type of name with this kind of momentum as Hargreaves has. Josh Brown twice said, "Oh, it's worse than dangerous" and said the call has "nothing to do" with whether AAPL is a buy or sell for most investors.

But the AAPL conversation didn’t include anything about self-driving cars

Andrew Hsu, who runs an infrastructure fund, on Tuesday's Halftime called Donald Trump's push for air-traffic control privatization "actually a step in the right direction."

Hsu told Joe Terranova that infrastructure investors "are looking for safe, stable plays," such as U.S.-based power utilities.

Speaking of cell towers, Hsu mentioned self-driving cars (Bingo), explaining, "Clearly, we need to invest in this area" because of the bandwidth required.

Clearly. Matter of fact, we can't imagine NOT having a self-driving car. (And is there as much investment in the cancers discussed at ASCO as there is in cars that don't require hands on a steering wheel?)

Jim Lebenthal said he thinks auto sales will "plateau" at 17 million but not "drop off."

Jon Najarian said he's "not really feelin'" a washout yet in HDS, but the company's in a "world of hurt."

Joe Terranova said he's been building a position for days in MS.

Josh Brown said AMD was rallying on cryptocurrency angles, but, "I would not be a buyer here."

Jon Najarian said someone who made money on XOP puts just sold the puts and bought June 33 calls.

Missy Lee was dynamite in new dark gray dress on Fast Money.

Rick Santelli seems to complain about central bank decisions

In a clumsy, pointless opening of Tuesday's Halftime that served as little more than another soapbox for Rick Santelli, Jon Najarian said bonds can gain "several more basis points … there must be more shorts in this than shorts in Tesla."

Doc predicted the 10-year could "push all the way to 2, perhaps even under 2."

Rick Santelli, citing central bank buying, said it's an "impossible discussion" to find the "promised land" as to why rates are where they are.

"I totally getcha. I do," claimed Judge, obsessed with the 10-year.

Josh Brown said stocks and bonds have often risen together for 40 years, so it's hardly "bizarre" or "rare."

Santelli complained to Brown about central bank buying in Japan. Brown said in the U.S., the taper was 3 years ago, it's a "stale" story. But Santelli said they're buying "over a trillion thus far this year."

Joe Terranova tried to convince Judge, "Nobody knows the answer to when it cracks first."

Judge insisted he thinks it's likely that stocks will crack first.

It was originally Windows Azure, renamed as Microsoft Azure

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime tried to convince Judge that MSFT can outperform the FAANGS, but Judge didn't understand Joe's pronunciation of "Azure."

Judge even said at the end of the show that he owes Joe an apology because CNBC called Microsoft, and "they said it's as-yer."

The only problem was, Joe pronounced it "azzer." At the end of the show, he nearly said "difficultly" (sic).

Jim Lebenthal said the question with MSFT is whether the growth rate really justifies it given competition. Joe told Jim that ORCL is "nowhere near" where MSFT is in the cloud. Josh Brown said he prefers GOOGL to MSFT. Jim said it "may sound a little crazy," but things like furniture stores or groceries could be "the next leg of growth for Amazon."

[Monday, June 5, 2017]

Karen: AMZN crossing $1,000 is the ‘Roger Bannister Moment’ in big tech

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime said it's "entirely reasonable" for Andy Hargreaves to deem the iPhone upgrade already priced in.

But Brown said if you can't handle a 10% drawdown in this stock or any other, "Then you shouldn't own it."

Stephen Weiss, stating he's no "sycophant" for AAPL, said, "I'm sticking with it. To me, it's a very safe stock."

Jim Lebenthal called AAPL a "long-term investment" and predicted the iPhone 8 will be a "blowout," questioning how Hargreaves can raise 2018 EPS more than he's lowering 2017 EPS and still arrive at a downgrade.

Joe Terranova said he'd buy AAPL on a 5% pullback. "You would think that this is overowned," Joe said, but he looked up the stats and found mutual funds actually are underinvested in the name.

Toni Sacconaghi, the only 1 of the 3 analyst-vs.-panelist contenders to kind of fizzle, said the prospect of AAPL 200 by year-end is a "tough bet to make." He said if it gets a similar multiple to a couple years ago, it could see 170-190.

Sacconaghi said it can take a couple weeks to get a Tesla appointment; "right now, the customer experience is strained," and he questions what that would be like if sales go to 300,000.

Karen Finerman, in dynamite blue, on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said she's not long AAPL and suggested pegging 10 as the "right multiple" for a hardware company. In Apple's case, "that leaves the rest of the company trading at an extraordinarily high multiple."

Dan Nathan said he doesn't get emails about AAPL anymore but that the heckling centers on Amazon comments. Karen said AMZN crossing 1,000 is the "Roger Bannister Moment" in big tech stocks.

Average 70-year-old takes 40 prescriptions a year; lingerie is 2nd-least-favorite online shopping item

We started to scoff at the "analysts-vs.-panelists" feature on Monday's Halftime Report — until it started producing gems of research.

Lisa Gill said "I would be a buyer of CVS," explaining, "North of 75% of prescription volume is with people that are over 70 years of age. You know, the average 70-year-old takes 40 prescriptions a year," and those in their 40s (she said "probably" the whole panel is in their 40s, which we doubt) "are taking somewhere around 12."

Kimberly Greenberger, who has a 61 on LB, said she found that "50% of Americans are buying their clothing on Amazon," and items at the top are casual tops and bottoms, shoes and athletic apparel. At the bottom are suits and … lingerie.

"It's just not that romantic to buy your lingerie on Amazon.com," Greenberger explained.

Jim Lebenthal asked Greenberger about the February retail sluggishness. Jim said it sounds to him like the stuff that's bought online is stuff in which "fit" doesn't matter so much, and he predicted that shoes, a popular online product, will revert to a store experience.

Greenberger said shoes are "a little bit of an anomaly" and that buyers tend to order multiple pairs on Amazon to ensure one pair fits. "So shoes are let's say a little bit easier to fit than a complex category uh like a suit, lingerie or a bra."

Greenberger said tax returns were sluggish and that people didn't have refund checks by Presidents Day or Valentine's Day.

Back to CVS and prescriptions, Joe Terranova said he's been a "frustrated" CVS long for a couple years but isn't in it anymore. Gill said CVS needs to adjust its square footage but that the mini-clinics are a "great experience."

Stephen Weiss asked if the power of ESRX has shifted to managed care, and he wonders why ESRX even exists. Gill said "there's hundreds and hundreds of small health plans out there today" that ESRX is aggregating.

Josh seems to argue that stocks are capable of trading at far different levels than where they currently trade

Judge on Monday's Halftime said he "first reported" HLF's sales-forecast cut on Sunday night.

Steve Weiss said of HLF, "This is going to be a battleground stock for as long as it's a public company."

Jim Lebenthal said the questions about Herbalife aren't "existential questions" anymore.

"The price does not look to be zero," Jim said.

Citing VRX, Josh Brown argued with his panel that stock prices may not be assurance of anything, curiously stating "there are technical and mechanical aspects of these types of trades that can give you a price that's way far away from what the market will ultimately be willing to pay."

Joe Terranova said HLF is "a highly illiquid type of name." He said analysts are raising HLF targets to 120, and "clearly the pressure is on someone right now who is short this name."

Meg Tirrell at ASCO spoke with LOXO's chief Joshua Bilenker; obviously that was the stock to buy last week.

Joe said he's "not ready" to buy LB; he's in COST.

In a fairly hilarious, sorta out-of-the-blue type of comment, Joe said he'd buy puts in either SHLD or JCP.

Jim Lebenthal, practically on cue, said "there's really no comparison" and that SHLD is the "obvious" one for buying puts.

Steve Weiss said he bought CERN during the show based on Donald Trump's remarks. Jim Lebenthal predicted a good quarter from the RV names Thor and Winnebago. Josh Brown said to buy V and MA rather than retailers. Joe said he keeps adding to MSFT.

Mel brought in gorrrrjus CNBC International superfox Hadley Gamble for a rare 5 p.m. Fast Money hit.

[Friday, June 2, 2017]

Jim notes value has outperformed growth ... for 2 days

Jim Lebenthal is a wonderful patriot and savvy investor who has much to offer CNBC viewers.

Last year, his astute picks impressively won the (apparently now defunct) CNBC Halftime Portfolio Challenge.

But his televised value refrain for at least the last 6 months is about as uninspiring as "Phil Packer's" date with Linda (below).

Every appearance, it's GM, JCP, QCOM and maybe CSCO and a vow to buy more NKE under 50 and a prediction that the switch from value to growth is just around the corner.

Friday's Halftime produced even more unconvincing predictions, including, "The Russell 2000 today is outperforming the S&P 500 by a full percentage point. … That's exactly where we should put money."

Judge finally took an overdue whack at this line of thinking, questioning, "So today is the proof that all of a sudden, the small caps are back?"

"No but you know what, it may well be," Jim offered.

Later, "Value has outperformed growth the last 2 days," Jim claimed, though Josh Brown dismissed that as "end of month rebalancing."

At one point, Judge asked Jim again why value is going to outperform. "Eventually it is (sigh)" was Jim's answer.

Jim's final trade was QCOM. He conceded there was no follow-through in that name after AVGO's report (supposedly because of a "Friday lull here"), but he predicted one next week.

Good stock calls matter whatever the market. But Jim's not gonna be Johnny Bravo with his macro insistence that the same collection of dogs is going to start outperforming the FAANGs or V or PYPL (surging since the Ira Sohn champ's short call).

Real bubble watch: Is there any industry in the entire world more hyper than (oh joy) self-driving cars?

Friday's overstaffed beginning of the Halftime Report nevertheless delivered a provocative thought from Steve Liesman (that photo wasn't from Friday's show), who said, "The only thing that's ever worked for me" regarding interpreting bond yields is that "bond yields reflect the outlook for inflation."

That sounds pretty reasonable to us. Josh Brown, on the other hand, offered, "Sometimes the bond market's not really telling us anything."

Jon Najarian said, "Low inflation right now is good for stocks."

Explaining today's 10-year yield, Rick Santelli told the story of Tom Baldwin leading the bond trade in the 1980s. "Traders always follow the biggest trader in the room," Santelli said.

Liesman said the jobs number is "about right." He made Santelli scowl by saying 2% growth for 20 years would be fine. Santelli scoffed that that's what they do in Europe.

Joe Amato said 2% is a "Goldilocks scenario" for investors, "but from a population standpoint," 3% growth "helps out a lot" in terms of "quality job growth."

Nobody seemed concerned with Judge's suggestion that maybe the economy's not really that great. Amato claimed there's more "synchronized global growth now than we've seen in 5 or 6 years."

Stephanie Link asserted that "earnings are getting better" and will continue to do so.

Link added, "I've been at conferences all week, and companies sound really good … across the board."

Addressing the nation's political-economic situation, Jim Lebenthal declared, "You have 1 policy in place. The end of the war on business. I'm borrowing it from Kudlow."

"Oh, stop. Oh, stop," chided Josh Brown, questioning if the stock market under Obama suffered from a "war on business."

Jim asserted that Boeing suffered under the NLRB over the opening of its Charleston plant, which didn't seem the strongest example. But this time Judge helped out Jim by pressing Brown if he doesn't see a "different tone" toward business from the presidency now.

Brown responded, "Oh, no question. But what does that mean."

Josh said you can't point to 1 stock, sector or index that is performing because of something the White House said or did.

Why are they talking about Tom Lee’s FAANG call rather than Tom Lee’s CRAP (snicker) trade?

Jim Lebenthal asserted on Friday's Halftime that it's "absolutely wrong to put Apple or Google in the same category as Netflix and Amazon from a valuation point of view."

"Who cares about the valuation point of view," snapped Judge, claiming Jim is "missing the point."

Steph Link told Jim she's a "long-term investor too" who cares about valuation, but, "There's a point in time though when you have to recognize category killers, disruptors. And all of the FAANG are."

Link said she's "trimming a little bit of Microsoft."

Doc said GOOGL and NFLX are highly owned by institutions, and he questioned where the "extra boost" comes from in those names.

Josh said it's interesting that Tom Lee is leaving out health care in his new assessment.

Looks like the CNBC label-typer left out a ‘TO’

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report said he loves the day's dog, RH, at the $38 level.

CNBC's Meg Tirrell said she was leaving for the airport "in mere minutes" to head to Chicago for ASCO (where they're probably going to talk about building self-driving cars).

Jon Najarian suggested TGTX as an ASCO play based on "some upside call speculation."

Josh Brown said 300 to 310 looks like resistance in IBB; if it can break through, new buyers may come in.

Steph Link said she owns ALXN. Jim Lebenthal said, "Alexion is a steal at these prices."

Jim said LULU is now out of the "penalty box." Judge questioned if the quarter was good; Jim said it was "good enough." Doc said he sold his whole LULU position Friday.

Steph Link said the prospect of going after Toshiba assets was holding AVGO back; she still thinks you can buy it.

Josh said W has been a "really really tough name for people betting against it."

Doc said there's unusual activity in NKE, next week's 53 and 53.50 calls. He also said January (snicker) 90 calls in CVS were popular, and the buying was "quite large."

But Josh Brown said "CVS is one of the worst-performing very large stocks that I, that I could find."

Steph Link somehow claimed NKE has an R&D budget that is "unparallel to any other company out there."

Link was adding to FDX on Friday. Josh Brown said BMY looks to be setting up for a big move; he thinks it might be up. Doc said ABBV September 70 calls were popular.

[Thursday, June 1, 2017]

Bove: ‘Banks have no vision’

While most Halftime Report and Fast Money panelists continue to tout owning bank stocks (for whatever reason), Dick Bove on Thursday articulated several convincing points as to why financials might not be taking off anytime soon.

"The ability to sell loans has evaporated," Bove said.

Bove scoffed at the notion that bank stock performance is tied to interest rates. "We just came through 6 years of the lowest interest rates in the history of the United States, and in that period, bank earnings went up every year," Bove said.

He downplayed "all this yield-curve stuff."

When these stocks get touted, which is all the time, one question this page occasionally asks, as it asks of the auto industry, is what are the new products that get people talking. What makes one bank stock different than another. (Yes, we know … Jamie Dimon's soooo great … and these other guys have a wealth management arm!!!)

To that question, Bove offered, "Banks have no vision. There is no vision as to where this company's gonna be 3-5 years from now, uh, this industry's gonna be 3-5 years from now."

He said managements "seem" to be selling the notion, "I'm gonna pay 100% to 125% of earnings in terms of payout."

Rather than regulation stifling banking growth, "It's the economy," Bove said.

Joe Terranova insisted regulation has forced banks to keep a "tremendous amount of capital" on their balance sheets. Bove said if that capital gets released, it's positive, "but you know, it's not as positive as I once thought."

In another interesting comment, Bove said he follows FRC, and rather than doing buybacks, that name "keeps issuing stock every year" and thus has double the multiple of the typical regional bank.

While we disagree with Bove's assessment that the ability to lend has "evaporated," there's definitely nothing exciting here, it's a very boring industry that's going to have trouble innovating anything deemed moderately risky, and we can't fathom why anyone would favor these stocks over whatever's working in Silicon Valley.

Karen: Stock market’s
got animal spirits

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said the time to buy banks is when a "great stock" such as GS tumbled $7 as it did a day earlier, because it bought Venezuelan bonds at 31 cents on the dollar and the market thought not that it might lose money on the bonds but had "questions about should you be supporting that particular dictator and so forth."

Judge said the bank-stock slump is a "simple story" of trading is bad and rates are low.

Erin Browne said, "Since the election, the bank stocks have traded with 85-90% correlation to the 10-year yield," a point later questioned by Dick Bove. Browne claimed rates are starting to "bounce back," but Judge questioned whether "1 basis point" qualifies as "bouncing back."

Joe Terranova said GS stock is a "specific company problem," and he's keeping his BAC.

Joe said the big banks are in a "consolidation phase since the beginning of November."

Joe added, "Kevin O'Leary is right," you want to be out of the regionals.

Karen Finerman and Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money both endorsed banks. "I think they're out of the doghouse," Karen, in new blue/white top, said. Guy said he thinks the XLF against 23 works.

We wanted to high-five Karen for picking up a theme from this page, stating not our '86 Mets analogy that market excitement is more than just the prospects of Donald Trump's "agenda" (snicker) in Congress.

"I think that the animal spirits have been awakened," Karen said.

Doc: MCD hiding the cheaper inventory from customers (a/k/a Judge snaps streak of mentioning Robert Shiller’s loopy forecast)

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime said MCD is a great company with a "completely berserk" stock price.

Brown said it's "so easy" to play it to the long side with a moving average as your stop. "It's completely nothing to do with fundamentals," Brown said. "This is now one of the biggest momentum trades in the market."

Joe Terranova said he agrees with everything Brown said and has been "very skeptical" about MCD's rise. But Joe conceded that UberEats, foreign strength and the yield are contributing factors.

Jon Najarian said MCD customers are "upsold" into higher-priced items by the "new electronic boards" that make it "hard to find" the dollar menu.

Doc said he likes JACK and SONC in the space. Josh said, "There are a lot of names in this group that look like McDonald's."

PYPL up about 8% since Ira Sohn champ called it a short a month ago

In an iffy conversation that really settled little, Jeff Kilburg on Thursday's Halftime Report said he thinks there's support for crude at 48, that it's the bottom of the range. Jim Iuorio said he's still looking at 42.

Jon Najarian noted that NBR has slid since he mentioned the popular July 11 calls a week or so ago but said he's still in them, though he noted some buyer rolled down from 11s to 9s.

Doc said someone's aggressively buying June 10 calls in OAS. He said he'll probably be in for 2 weeks.

He also noted the gains in casino stocks.

Josh Brown said if you're long EXPR, what do you expect; "it's one of the ugliest charts I've ever seen in a sector that's known for ugly charts."

Joe Terranova said he's thinking about getting back in PANW, a name he used to mention often, but "the guidance wasn't that strong." He's in FTNT.

Erin Browne likes XLI.

Doc said DG beat and was holding onto gains.

Doc said he's going to stay long LULU calls into earnings and he was mulling whether to sell puts. After deadline, that decision looked awesome. (This review was posted after market hours.)

Erin Browne called small caps "underowned."

Josh Brown trumpeted the EFA as illustrating the global stock market rally.

Josh's final trade was SCHW. Joe said he added to PKI. Doc said he got long CBI during the show because of upside call buying. Erin Browne touted EWJ.

Jon Najarian noted that GM went up a dollar and a half since the lawsuit last week. Phil LeBeau told guest host Judge on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "We're past peak auto."

Intel chief: Driverless cars won’t stop ‘way too early’ in traffic like human drivers do

Sitting down with Jon Fortt during Thursday's Halftime Report, Intel chief Brian Krzanich said something curious.

Krzanich said there are studies that show that if just 25% of the cars on the road are driverless, "the amount of traffic congestion will drop because the number of people who are stopping way too early, you know, at the car in front of them and causing you know, the next car to stop early, just that kind of chain reaction process, drops. So you'll get to work faster."

Seriously? The argument for driverless cars is that they won't slow down in heavy traffic as much as cars with drivers?

One definitely valid argument is that driverless cars won't slow down to view accident scenes and cause "gapers delays."

But the notion of less slowing among only 25% of the cars on the road getting you to work faster doesn't seem to hold water.

Then there was this: "You're not gonna be searching for parking as much because the cars will tell you where the parking is. Or, you know, you'll not, not, eventually not have to park the car, just tell it to go drive home."

So here we have cars that otherwise would be in a parking garage but now are on the highway with everyone else who's actually trying to get somewhere. And our commute times are going to shrink?

Krzanich said car cameras will help in searches and surveillance. He said climate change is a "real issue" the U.S. can't "avoid." He also assured Fortt it's right to think of INTC as a "data company."

Much more from Thursday's Halftime, including a great chat with Dick Bove on banks, later.

[Wednesday, May 31, 2017]

For 4th day in a row, Judge mentions Robert Shiller’s
‘50%’ call

In an unexpected clunker, Judge brought Marc Faber to the set of Wednesday's Halftime.

Whatever Faber said about the stock market, who cares.

Faber seems like a nice guy; we wish him well, but like all his other market commentary, this interview was downright embarrassing, a colossal waste of time (and no ads for 29 minutes somehow) and potential ad revenue, particularly a day after a crisp, impressive go-round with Lee Cooperman.

Incredibly, Judge mentioned Robert Shiller's supposed "50%" call again.

Meanwhile, panelists took halfhearted cracks at AMZN-vs.-NFLX. "I think the growth is still there with Netflix," Jon Najarian said.

Joe Terranova said "the better buy is Amazon" over Netflix. Judge for some reason asked him again at the end of the conversation.

Kevin O'Leary questioned how much profit Netflix can get from content; "they're getting into a business that has a very crappy return long term."

Kari Firestone picked AMZN over NFLX.

Steve Weiss said he owns NFLX. "Netflix has a more reasonable valuation than Amazon does," Weiss said, adding, "At some point, Amazon's really gotta worry about antitrust concerns."

Kevin O'Leary again slammed banks and said "you all owe me an apology today." Doc though touted V and MA. Kari Firestone suggested banks will start to outperform again. O'Leary scoffed that financials are "a dog in the making."

Anthony Grisanti said if gasoline doesn't pick up, crude hits 45 before 55. Scott Nations said crude is in a range.

Kari Firestone's final trade was AGN. Weiss said bonds will trade down.

[Tuesday, May 30, 2017]

Lee Cooperman ‘would’ve
accepted’ the same offer
from the get-go

First things first:

Judge got the interview; no one else on CNBC did. That's significant.

Early on Tuesday's Halftime Report, Lee Cooperman said, "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."

But he didn't actually "leave it at that."

In 20 minutes of conversation about his recently concluded SEC case, Cooperman repeatedly 1) questioned why the SEC offer changed after 7 months and 2) mentioned how much he gives to charity.

Judge asked if Lee worries that some people may "think that you're guilty that you did something wrong, because you settled."

Lee said, "There's always that possibility," but, "You know, you get emails, tons and tons of emails, and most of 'em are congratulatory."

Judge made 2 mistakes (we'll get to those later) in an otherwise stellar interview; one question he didn't ask … and it would've been a toughie, would've made us cringe even … is whether Cooperman actually thinks he got off easy.

Because Lee admitted, "If they asked me initially for the final ask, I would've accepted it knowing it would've saved my business."

That's interesting. So this person who was vowing a fight in September characterized as a "no-holds barred legal battle" now says he would've settled immediately with a $4.9 million fine and a trading monitor.

The only time Cooperman interrupted Judge was when Judge asked, "Had you been banned; you mentioned they, they were seeking at first a 5-year ban-."

Coop said, "The biggest question you should ask and get the SEC to sit here and ask it- answer it, I can't answer it. What happened in the 7 months between your original ask, where you said 5-year bar, admit you're- effectively admit you're guilty, give us $9 million, OK, to, uh, no admit, no deny, give us 4.9 million, and no ban. What did they learn? Now I have some theories, which I'm not at liberty to discuss. But what did they learn?"

Well, we can answer that. 1) Nobody including prosecutors opens with their best offer; 2) The SEC might've deemed the ongoing headwind to Omega's AUM a suitable punishment, and 3) There was a change in presidential administrations during the timeline of this case which might've affected the office's perception of it.

It's possible the presidential election might've been the best thing that happened to Cooperman.

As in his previous Halftime appearance on this subject, Cooperman complained about being subjected to this case — and this time, how the SEC characterized it.

"The SEC person who got quoted that Friday is disgraceful," Cooperman said. "I didn't admit to any guilt. I didn't- I didn't say I denied guilt, I didn't admit to guilt. So what is she saying; she left out the word 'alleged.'"

Honestly, we're not sure how else the SEC should describe it. "We don't really think there was wrongdoing here; we're glad he paid a fine for nothing"??

"The process was extraordinarily abusive," Cooperman said, adding his business was affected "dramatically, way out of proportion to what was, uh, reasonable."

Nevertheless, he indicated he's been getting favorable treatment in the media. "I could tell you, all the stuff I've read has been highly favorable," Cooperman claimed.

Lee said he was once advised not to fight wars with the press and how he probably shouldn't fight wars with his regulators. "Donald Trump is you know crappin' all over the press, fake news, this and that, and then he wonders why the press treats him like he's been treated," Cooperman said, but he feels it's "incumbent" on him to speak out.

"Why did they change what they asked for over a period of 7 months," Cooperman asked again — and then he suggested the SEC isn't about justice … but resume-building.

"And I think what they- the game plan these people play with the SEC and other regulatory bodies frankly is bring down a guy with a reputation, get a notch on your belt, and take that notch and get a job in the private sector making a million dollars a year as a defense attorney," Lee said.

He suggested Hank Greenberg was also abused by the system. "He spent $100 million dealing with this problem," Lee said.

As before, he referred to the giving pledge. "As you know, my money is earmarked for charity. I've taken the Giving Pledge with Mr. Buffett and Bill Gates," Cooperman said.

"We lost $4 billion of client assets," Cooperman added.

Judge noted Goldman Sachs pulled money from Cooperman. "Did it hurt? I was disappointed, but, uh, they again were advised by fiduciaries, and they felt they did what they had to do," Cooperman said. "I'm not bitter, I mean, uh, they did what they thought they had to do."

Lee indicated that no matter the redemptions, he's got money to invest. "It's like a glorified family office," Lee said.

He also said his lawyer "really cared about me" and "focused on me." That's impressive, that a lawyer was "focused on" and "really cared about" the person who is most likely the wealthiest client he'll ever have.

Judge made a couple mistakes. He said in the intro that Cooperman was "settling insider-trading charges with the SEC," which is true. But he never told viewers what those charges were or that the case (discussed on Fast Money last September with a New York Times reporter) included "family drama" involving a son and a grandson.

Judge opened with, "When you were here earlier in the year, you made it clear you had no intention of settling this case. … Why did you settle."

But in fact, as this page observed after the Jan. 5 interview, Cooperman did vow to fight the case but also let slip, "I'm here ready to cooperate and present a case."

And when someone says "cooperate," that means he/she is open to a deal. So the idea of "no intention" is absolutely bogus.

In fact, if Judge actually believed his own opening question, he would've turned the tables on Lee and asked, "You question why the SEC changed its offer after 7 months, but why did you change your willingness to settle over the same time period?"

Anyway, Cooperman actually told Wapner, "Well, uh, it's very simple. My lawyers told me that, uh, the probability of my winning would be overwhelmingly high, and if I didn't win, it had nothing to do with the merits of the case. It would have to do with the fact that uh I'm a former Goldman partner, I'm a hedge fund manager, I'm wealthy, and those are (unclear) factoids and impress juries. Um, and, uh, that the cost of a trial would be probably 15 to 20 million dollars and go on for a couple years, because if we did win, uh, we would likely see appeals."

So he was worried about the cost of appeals after winning. (He also said on Jan. 5 that the legal battle would cost "probably a hundred million dollars," not $15-$20 million.)

OK. Reviewing television, it's sort of this page's chosen responsibility to determine what this person was saying.

We don't know anything about the merits of the case, who would've won or who should've won. If there was a big witchhunt in progress, and a bunch of young regulatory lawyers looking to get notches on their belts with bogus prosecutions, then we'd see far more cases like this. (Name another one.) (At SAC, people were convicted.)

Cooperman's charity statements have always been the weakest part of his argument. Giving money, however noble or generous, doesn't put one above the law, and it has nothing to do with Atlas Pipeline Partners. Despite this SEC case, according to the New York Times, Cooperman managed to make $225 million last year. Unfortunately his lawyers failed to persuade him to stop blaming the SEC for preventing kids from going to college.

We don't know what happened. We don't know if he did anything wrong. We do know that Leon Cooperman settled a case he vowed to fight. We also know the government's punishment is seen as relatively light and that the New York Times suggested Cooperman is the "victor" here. He says he's not allowed to deny the allegations. The guess here is that, in his late 60s at the time, he got careless.

Lee Cooperman mistakenly suggests an effect is a cause

Lee Cooperman said something on Tuesday's Halftime that should really make viewers cringe — and it had nothing to do with the SEC.

Stressing the importance of a college education, Cooperman stated, "The lifetime earnings of a college graduate is in excess of a million dollars more than a non-college graduate."


Because the world's highest-earning people tend to go to college.

Not because college turns Average Joes into high-net-worth individuals.

Being a doctor or lawyer requires going to college. Being a financier virtually does.

Founding a unicorn does not. Trading real estate does not. Does anyone think the president of the United States went to Princeton to learn how to build hotels?

Cooperman: Paul Singer doing a ‘good job’ of warning investors for the last 5 years

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime showed a graphic depicting Robert Shiller and Jeremy Siegel in the bullish camp and Paul Singer and Seth Klarman in the pessismistic camp and asked Lee Cooperman for his thoughts.

Lee called Singer a "brilliant, brilliant man who's been bearish for 5 years … I think Paul is doing a good job of warning people, and uh, but he's been warning people for a lot of years."

"I think the market for now is fully priced," Lee said.

"We're heading back to normalization," he added.

Cooperman told Joe Terranova, "What is likely to end this, would be a big turnaround in energy prices, tightening labor market, an escalation of labor costs."

Cooperman's top picks include energy names NBR, WPX, FRAC and HES.

He also likes DOW, though he referred to "Dan (sic) Breen."

Lee said he bought UAL "in decline" and indicated that settlements are no big deal. "They made a mistake; they handled something poorly; you know, they settled," he said. "It is what it is."

Scott Nations and Brian Stutland said the gasoline chart looks a lot better than oil.

The Najarii hardly had to talk.

Judge asks Lee Cooperman
about Robert Shiller’s ‘call’

Judge conducted a remarkable interview with Lee Cooperman on Tuesday's Halftime, which this page will tackle soon.

Amazingly, however, despite a crisp performance, Judge actually asked Cooperman about Robert Shiller's loopy interview last week that no one else is taking seriously.

"I caught that … be very careful," Cooperman said. "He threw out a number, and then he backtracked, and it was in terms of years."

We'll put it another way: That Shiller put out a report to attract attention only to say on TV he doesn't really believe in anything.

All he said on TV was that the CAPE ratio is not as overcooked as late 1999 and that a corporate tax cut to 15% (snicker) would propel stocks.

Honestly, we're surprised this interview has even been mentioned since the day it happened.

Much more from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Friday, May 26, 2017]

Jeremy Siegel emails Bob Shiller, discusses definition of ‘could’

Like a bad trade, he's unable to let it go.

For yet another day, Judge somehow mentioned Robert Shiller's Wednesday interview at the top of Friday's Halftime before welcoming on Jeremy Siegel.

This despite the fact Shiller said absolutely nothing, claimed his whole assessment was basically nothing but that any number of outcomes could happen, acted like he didn't want to talk about it, and oh by the way, every other CNBCer taking part deemed it irrelevant.

Why Judge doesn't regard this the same way (sigh), we have no clue, except it was his interview, and he can't find anyone else with a more constructive opinion on the stock market.

Siegel revealed, "I emailed Bob; I said, 'Are you bullish?' He said, 'Well, I said, It could go up 50%. It could go down 50%.' I mean the word 'could' does not really mean that that's what he expects."

OK. So we're still not sure whether Shiller, despite Judge hyping this laughable interview, is even bullish. (And whether the 50% is over 10 years or between now and 10 years, etc.)

Siegel said "the momentum is there" in stocks and for those worried about overheating, the P.E. of the tech sector for 2017 is under 20.

Siegel said, in contrast to Paul Singer's caution, the S&P was at 30 times earnings in 1999 while we're at 20 now, "and in a much lower interest-rate environment."

But he did offer a bit of caution. "There are a lot of momentum players in this market," Siegel said. "Momentum is surging as a factor."

Fair enough. The point is, which no one really has the brass to say, this market for the first time in a dozen years, maybe since 1999 actually, is exciting, it's the place to be, it's like the 1980s again, and it won't always go up, but you've gotta be there regardless.

Grandpa Jim Lebenthal asked Siegel, "If this market breaks to the downside," won't growth investors look at value as a "metric." Siegel agreed they will go to those value stocks.

Jim suggested if AMZN is down 4 days in a row, "all of a sudden, people are gonna get queasy." Then people who sell will decide, "Hey valuation matters, let's look at some attractively priced stock" (snicker) (double snicker).

Josh Brown though said there could be a "big gap" between when the value stocks start to climb after the market meltdown. Brown also said the market doesn't have to crash but could just stagnate for a while.

Josh shrugged that the argument about only a few stocks carrying the market is a "forever thing."

Jon Najarian said he doesn't see the "steam" that would indicate an overheated market.

Judge said at the opening that the "top trade" for Friday's show is whether the market is "overheating" or going into "overdrive" (sic CNBC compares verbs and nouns, not exactly punchy).

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Money called 2,450 the level that the S&P will "vacuum back up to."

CNBC superfox Landon Dowdy appeared on Fast Money (after appearing on every other program during the day) on a boat in Florida. Hopefully, Dowdy packed a swimsuit. Mel said Dowdy's assignment was like "slave labor."

Back in the day, when you heard that opening horn from the theme song on Saturday night, you knew your weekend was rounding into shape

Karen Finerman on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said, "I'm long Valeant," acknowledging "it could go to zero."

Karen, dazzling in new black top, admitted she "lost a fair amount of money" on M; the balance sheet isn't that great but "they do have asset value for sure." Tim Seymour said he finds M interesting.

Karen said she finds ULTA "too expensive for me."

Stressing the challenges of HTZ, Karen revealed, "When I go to L.A., I no longer rent a car. I use Uber; it's so much easier." She said it wouldn't be "shocking" for Carl Icahn to make a bid for HTZ.

Fast Money impressively aired some tunes from "The Love Boat." Mel said she's like "Julie the cruise director."

Jim: Young people going ‘gaga’ over makeup

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime said he finds ULTA "fascinating," because "young people are just gaga over makeup. … If the price breaks, get in."

Jon Najarian said June 31 MU calls were popular.

Najarian also gushed about MSFT and said he'd stay long the name.

Doc said to stay with CTSH.

Jim said he's "a little miffed" for selling BA at 182. "At this price, it's too high," Jim insisted, saying he'll get back in around 165-170 (or whenever NKE hits 49).

Josh Brown said MCD has made 30 all-time closing highs in 2017.

Josh said he's not really into KORS; he doesn't know why someone would look at it when there are so many other names doing well.

Tim Seymour: ‘I like to buy other people’s problems’; Grasso asks about Tim’s shirt

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime said he wouldn't give CVX a "sell," but he thinks there are better energy stocks, such as NBR.

Jim Lebenthal said he prefers buying the rest of his NKE position at 49 energy plays not tied to the price of oil such as refiners and pipelines; "I think oil is stuck in a trading range."

Jim said at the end of the program he thinks oil will continue to come down.

Josh Brown kind of agreed with Doc, there are better plays than CVX.

Jon Najarian said someone was buying RRC June 24 calls and selling the June 26 calls. He also said there was buying in WPX.

Judge apparently starts going
to the movies again

Hollywood mogul Peter Guber, for some reason a phone guest on Friday's Halftime (apparently because he's a part owner of the Golden State Warriors), said the NBA Finals ought to be exciting.

Catching up with the turn of the century in entertainment, Uncle Judge told Guber, "It certainly seems like superheroes now are all the rage and that's where the studios are putting their money behind."

Guber said "there's 2 audiences for sure" for today's movies.

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian reiterated that he likes PANW, but Josh Brown said the stock tends to disappoint at earnings and he'd rather buy after earnings.

Doc said, "If something's bad here and things fall apart, you could get a chance around 100. That would be fantastic."

Jim Lebenthal warned that if LULU disappoints again; "I think you're gonna see the bottom fall out of this stock."

Jim suggested FIVE may not match the hype in its next quarterly report.

Josh said he'd rather not buy WDAY ahead of earnings and risk a tumble.

Doc said October 105 calls in MAR were being bought. Josh said the XLF is trying for a breakout.

[Thursday, May 25, 2017]

Doc now claims Steph ‘correctly’ observed that the Trump Trade rolled over

As usual, the Halftime crew offered barely a tepid endorsement for this raging stock market.

"We're not significantly overvalued," said Stephen Weiss, who added the VIX "means nothing now" because of "algos."

Joe Terranova admitted he "went defensively" last week during the Impeachment Selloff.

Pete Najarian at least said he's more inclined to pick "overdrive" rather than "overheating" (sic CNBC comparing verbs and nouns) for stocks.

Judge said the risk to the market "seems to be to the upside."

Judge even invoked Robert Shiller's suggestion, during the laughable 50% thing nonsense that Judge and his producers somehow took seriously (but Cramer and the panelists didn't), "if you want to call it a call," that maybe we're only in the "middle innings" of the bull market.

(Sigh.) It's not a question of what inning. It's an answer of, this market is to stock players what 1986 was to Mets fans, and if you bail, you're a moron. (That doesn't mean every day is up — there will be disasters too such as retail or auto-parts shops — only that collectively, this is the place to be.)

"The old playbook doesn't work anymore," said Steve Weiss in a mumbo-jumbo refrain that means absolutely nothing.

Joe Terranova said "the asymmetric risk to the upside" is that taxes get done this year, retroactive to the start of the year.

Pete Najarian said financials "have quite a bit of room to the upside," and that's what takes the market higher.

In the show's howler, Jon Najarian pointed to GS last week going from 225 to 212 and said with a straight face, "Stephanie correctly called that you know, a lot of these stocks were rolling over on that particular day."

Actually, 1) she wasn't stressing 1 particular day, and 2) Najarian was right in that argument.

But 3) he's being a TV gentleman, which we'll applaud him for.

Jackie DeAngelis said "sideline conversations" continue in Vienna.

Judge calls AMZN the ‘most disruptive force in, in modern business history’

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said he's in AMZN calls, but as 1,000 nears, he's planning to lighten up.

"I'm not saying I'll get out," Najarian explained. "I'm saying I'm gonna sell at the money calls into it Judge, to take some of that money off the table."

Doc suggested selling AMZN 950 puts.

Joe Terranova suggested AMZN could reach not just 1,000 but 1,250.

Making up for his "old playbook" refrain, Steve Weiss made a great point about buying AMZN, explaining he'd feel "a lot stupider" if he bought it and it went to 600 rather than if he didn't buy it and it went to 1,200.

Although, it's also fair to say that missing a moon shot (which everyone does every day) is NEVER as significant as buying a dog.

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian and Doc hailed BBY; Doc noted the "discipline" of making cuts that AMZN has forced upon BBY.

Joe Terranova noted that BBY has benefited from the hhgregg closure. "They've done the right things within the store … I think this is a multiple-quarter story," Joe said.

Weiss was correct again, saying of BBY, "We're talking about 1% revenue growth … that game ends at some point."

Congrats to those who have been long BBY, and the BBY management. But enormous trends are working against them. We can't imagine a loopier stock thesis than chasing BBY on Thursday; months from now, CNBCers will be agreeing that "You can't outrun Amazon forever."

Apparently CNBC still hasn’t gotten any of those calls returned by Herbalife

Matt Boss of JPMorgan gushed about PVH on Thursday's Halftime, saying it has "diversified their distribution" and has a "huge runway" internationally.

"Numbers are too low, multiple's too low," Boss concluded.

Jon Najarian said the key is that PVH has "iconic names" and not bricks and mortar.

Boss also likes TJX and the off-price sector.

Doc pointed out liking PVH a week ago at 96, a great call, and while he likes the name, he suggested selling "aggressive calls into it."

Weiss thinks Robert Shiller was really making an anti-bond call; Shiller says that ‘sounds right’

We weren't particularly interested in hearing Mick McGuire spend 20 minutes of Thursday's Halftime talking about how important franchising is for BWLD.

Judge said McGuire got a "pretty decent victory" from ISS recommendations. (Zzzzzzzz.) McGuire said it's "certainly a very good start."

"There's enormous appetite for these, uh, for these restaurants," McGuire said.

Phil LeBeau reported on the GM class-action suit. Jon Najarian wondered aloud, "Where do you get 700,000 people to sign on to that lawsuit Scott if there's no, no fire at all, just smoke."

Joe Terranova praised the "diversification" of products at BLK.

Stephen Weiss said of CMG, "I still don't get it" and called the stock "way overvalued."

"Restaurants don't keep this valuation for any period of time, ever," Weiss asserted.

Pete Najarian said "turkey's the problem here" at HRL. Pete also hailed TTC even though it was down Thursday.

Pete said there's been very aggressive buying of CL August upside calls.

Doc said someone was buying a lot of September 32 calls in MGM. Doc said someone bought January 8 calls in S, sold the 9 calls, "and then they sold a whole bunch of puts." He added, "If it's 9 or higher by January, they make 10 times their money."

Jim Iuorio hung a "42-ish" target on crude. Jeff Kilburg though said, "I don't see crude oil going lower here," and he's a buyer at 49.

Weiss said he added to DATA. Pete said he's "amazed" at the speed of UAL's recovery; he touted PEP. Doc endorsed SWN, and Joe touted MSFT.

[Wednesday, May 24, 2017]

Karen actually claims Jeff Immelt is a ‘great CEO’ victimized by ‘things that are beyond his ability’

She looked, as always, dynamite.

But Karen Finerman had jaws dropping on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money not for her appearance … but lunkheaded endorsement of Jeffrey Immelt.

Karen said of the worst Dow laggards, "GE is probably the most interesting to me." Fair enough; Guy Adami agreed.

But Karen actually with a straight face called Immelt 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."

Really. What did his stock do in in his first 7 years before the financial crisis?

And how much money has Metropolitan Capital invested with this "great CEO" in this century?

Guy Adami said he too finds GE interesting but noted, "they basically got out of GE Capital at the wrong time and they got into energy at the wrong time."

Pete Najarian, refreshingly blunt, knocked it out of the park, calling Immelt a "great guy," but wondering, "How many bad moves do you get as the CEO?"

Pete said the company needs changes "on the management side."

Exactly. We've never met Immelt. We've read articles about him (Vanity Fair actually once hyped him up, in a sweater surrounded by stiff-looking GE department heads). We've seen him on CNBC. No doubt, this is an engaging fellow. His heart's in the right place. If you are going on a retreat to talk about the New Economy, this is possibly your No. 1 invitee.

That, and the fact GE owned CNBC for a long time, is why CNBC personalities have regularly somehow defended him.

But when it comes to running a conglomerate, he sucks. Obviously. Look at the chart.

This site has pointed out multiple times that for some unknown bizarre reason, Immelt's most passionate public endeavor had nothing to do with GE but pleading with people at Notre Dame not to walk out on President Barack Obama's speech in 2009. (Notice how long that article is.)

Credit Jim Cramer on Wednesday's Halftime for revealing that CEOs of top industrial companies deem GE's cash flows a "real bad sign"; Cramer says it's "do or die" for Immelt.

Judge wastes viewers’ time on bungled, pointless interview with Robert Shiller

It started with Judge stating that Robert Shiller is saying stocks could go up 50% "from here."

But veteran viewers of CNBC know that 1) Shiller is going to backpedal from whatever headline CNBC assigns to his call and 2) a 50% call is meaningless without a time frame.

It took 8 minutes of Wednesday's Halftime before Stephen Weiss, not Judge, pointed out that Shiller is actually making a 10-year assessment. Weiss said it sounds more like an anti-bond call than bullish stock call. Shiller said "Yeah, I think that sounds right, yeah."

Yeah. Whatever.

Nevertheless, Judge actually claimed his jaw dropped when he heard Shiller's 50% upside call.

Pete Najarian said of Shiller, "He said 10 years, but he said somewhere between now and 10 years."

OK. Even more whatever. (Nice choice for interview subject, Judge.)

Shiller said his CAPE ratio is at 30, and in the late '90s, it went from 30 to 45, and it could do it again.

Judge asked if earnings and the economy alone, "in and of itself" (sic singular for plural topic), can carry stocks higher without Washington help.

Shiller said if they cut corporate taxes to 15%, that "gets you a good way there."

Shiller confirmed to Weiss that his assessment is based over 10 years; Weiss noted that 50% over 10 years is actually underperformance.

Eventually, Jim Cramer, who was on the panel, said what Judge somehow failed to notice, that Shiller "obviously wanted to walk it back," and "what he's really basically saying is I wish that you guys hadn't focused on the 50."

Cramer said it's notable that Shiller compared today's market to 1999 favorably.

Kourtney Gibson claimed, "I think we're getting into a cycle now where finally, finally, stock pickers are going to come back into favor."

Cramer called NVDA the stock/company that's going to change the whole world because the CEO said so "1999" even though he thinks it's the real deal.

Pete Najarian said financials have "paused," and the next leg is up.

Weiss buys X

In the day's most interesting trade, Steve Weiss twice said during Wednesday's Halftime he bought X for a trade after submitting a low bid.

He thinks it was oversold but has limited upside; "10% and I'm gone."

Kourtney Gibson said she bought HAL on Wednesday. She later said the Loop Capital analyst has a $67 target. Actually, that reminds us of Karen Finerman stating a couple days ago that she was reviewing oilfield services stocks and found analysts highly bullish across the board, making her wonder who's left to buy.

As Jim Cramer howled for some reason, Judge said Dan Loeb is questioning whether Dow/DuPont are pushing too many assets into the Liveris unit. Cramer called Ed Breen "maybe one of the greatest value creators of our time." Weiss said he'd side with Loeb, "his track record's phenomenal … he's not satisfied with 'great,' he wants 'greater.'"

Cramer said he agrees with Weiss that the Einhorn stock plan for GM "makes no sense."

Kourtney Gibson said she wished she could've bought LOW in the morning premarket.

Jon Najarian, who had a quiet show (translation: Steph wasn't on to talk about the Trump Trade rolling over), touted PVH, a good recent call.

Doc said there was a lot of activity in NBR July 11 calls.

Pete Najarian lauded BBY's competitiveness against Amazon.

Pete said LNG July 55 calls were popular.

Jeff Kilburg said Moody's issued a "pretty mixed downgrade" on copper. He said he likes it based on Chinese infrastructure. Anthony Grisanti said if the dollar rallies, there's more pain ahead for copper.

Doc's final trade was HYG. Pete touted WDC and said he owns it.

[Tuesday, May 23, 2017]

Ron Insana spares viewers the ridiculous 25th Amendment argument, thankfully

Ron Insana briefly sat in with Tuesday's Halftime crew and said "we're certainly due for a pause" and insisted "there's a lot of political risk that is absolutely unattended to in this market."


Jim Lebenthal said the market is "comfortable" if Mike Pence becomes president.

Jim said "we're stuck in general" and said "military action" is the only thing that can break the market out to the downside.

Rob Sechan said there's a "tremendous amount of cash on the sidelines."

Insana said he's someone who "perennially" hates emerging markets, calling it an "adult-swim-only environment" that's not for viewers at home to day trade. Pete Najarian said you can find what you need in U.S. stocks. Rob Sechan though said there's a "cushion" internationally because Europe, for example, is trading 30% below peak earnings.

Insana continued to warn of political risk, but Judge said any impeachment talk is happening "way way way prematurely." Insana said that impeachment is unlikely but "there can always be a conversation" among the Republican leaders and that Barry Goldwater took a walk in 1974 that changed history.

Joe Terranova, from San Francisco, said he's "a little bit amazed" about the conversation. "This market just comes back over and over again," Joe said. Judge said "we get that," but what takes it to the next level. Joe said "the reassumption of the uptrend" in cyclical names.

Jon Najarian, also remotely, said VIX futures are now back in contango. He also said the oil VIX is down near the lows of the year.

Pete Najarian scowled at Jim's suggestion that 3 tech biggies are carrying the market. "It's not just 4 stocks in technology by the way," Pete said.

Stephanie Link said she still owns AMZN but still worries. Pete Najarian said the stock thrives on "the stickiness of Prime."

Stephanie Link said there hasn't been any progress with fiscal policy, and GDP was "worse than people thought."

A day without NKE being a buy or NVDA changing the whole world

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime said Adam Jonas is wondering about Google's competition for Tesla. Jim Lebenthal agreed that "everybody's getting into it." Rob Sechan said "there's a lot of room for multiple players if the adoption's broad-based."

Pete Najarian said CPN September 15 calls were being bought by someone rolling up the 12s.

Pete said he thinks TOL goes higher.

Jim said he's not all that surprised to see AZO slumping; he thinks it probably continues.

Stephanie Link doesn't want to be in DSW.

Rob Sechan said "value mean reversion" is the reason to buy energy.

Bob Iaccino said silver should outperform gold in the medium term. Anthony Grisanti agrees but thinks the economy needs to strengthen for a breakout.

Judge reported on HLF developments and said CNBC has "several calls into Herbalife for comment" but had yet to hear back.

Pete Najarian said with Alec Baldwin's help, he raised $64,000 for Lyme disease research by auctioning off a day with himself and Doc.

Stephanie Link bought more PM on Tuesday.

Pete Najarian made DLTR his final trade. Judge hardly let Pete answer his question about how Amazon affects discounters. Steph Link said she's been buying CSCO on the pullback. Jim touted TIF. He said he doesn't think TSCO has bottomed.

Jim didn't say anything this time about people thinking a couple years ago that JCP could be another Neiman Marcus, which oddly enough was the first time we've heard that thesis, not even during the Ron Johnson tenure.

[Monday, May 22, 2017]

Jim claims people thought a couple years ago that JCP could be another Neiman Marcus

Jim Lebenthal on Monday's Halftime Report actually said with a straight face that there was supposedly a thesis a couple years ago that JCP could "migrate" (sic) into a Neiman Marcus.

That came after Judge let Jim deliver another speech on JCP (Note: If you can't make an argument for a stock in a few words, it's not really worth owning) in which Jim said, "I got into this because I saw improvement in the cash flows, and I projected that that was going to continue, and it has continued."

But Judge noted an improving debt situation isn't resonating with investors and questioned when it will. Jim said, "At 4.7, this is a buy" before admitting his average cost is "around 6.20."

Judge assured Jim, "We get it," and promised he's "not trying to embarrass you or anything."

F, GM, FCAU might be very good companies but frankly aren’t remotely as exciting as Tesla no matter how much they talk about autonomous

Phil LeBeau was enlisted on Monday's Halftime to summarize the brief history of Mark Fields' F.

Judge said, "I just don't get it," asking LeBeau how, if you can't grow your stock when car sales are "at a record high," then "how the hell can you grow your stock price when, when, uh, sales have arguably peaked" (a question also asked by Guy Adami at 5 p.m.).

"What is Hackett gonna do that Fields couldn't?" Judge demanded.

LeBeau said the board believes "Hackett will make Ford move quicker … Look, there's a lot of institutional bureaucracy there."

Sarat Sethi called Hackett a "change agent."

Steve Weiss said "I applaud" Bill Ford's move, "however, he seems to hire people, with the exception of Mulally, that he knows."

Josh Brown scoffed at Hackett's hiring; "he's a cost-cutter when literally the only path to survival is spending more," Josh said.

Josh said "every technologist in Silicon Valley knows" that the average car sits in a parking lot or driveway 90% of the time and is thus incredibly inefficient.

But Jim Lebenthal, who likes GM, said cars should get a boost from the improving job market for millennials, and as for the future of sharing cars, he made a sippy-cup argument.

Jim insisted that fears of Silicon Valley sinking Detroit are no different than Webvan in the 1990s.

Sarat Sethi said there's "not a lot of downside" to owning the automakers now especially with the dividend.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money admitted there's some "macro issues" for all the automakers 5 years from now; "are people gonna have their own cars."

Meanwhile, on Halftime, Sarat Sethi admitted he's "missed" the run in defense stocks but called them a good buy.

Jim Lebenthal said FINL trades cheaply but he called the $500 million market cap "really risky."

Josh Brown said to "ignore" the osteoporosis news at AMGN.

Sarat Sethi called the BX Saudi Arabia position a "good catalyst" for the stock.

Sarat Sethi said this is a good time to buy QCOM but that many will avoid it until the Apple issues and the NXPI acquisition are over.

"Tech people don't talk about Qualcomm at all," said Josh Brown.

Steve Weiss said he owned QCOM in 2011, and he had an 80-85 target then, and "it's never gotten there!"

Jim's final trade was QRVO. Josh said not to trust the XRT; it won't hold 40.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said she still has a "pretty big technology bet," touting GOOGL as well as financials. Karen also said she was looking up oil-services names and found "the analyst community, it's almost a universal buy … with price targets significantly higher than where they're trading," which makes Karen wonder who's left to buy. But Tim Seymour said he likes HAL.

Weiss felt like a genius for hedging just before Wednesday, but the market has practically recouped it all anyway

In a tepid (that's being nice) opening 18 minutes of Monday's Halftime, panelists gave the stock market a lukewarm endorsement.

Josh Brown at least stressed that there's lots of strength in this market, pointing to JNK and its "super, super-bullish chart" and noting the SMH is right back to yearly highs after fears of a blowoff top.

As for sentiment, which was Judge's opening hook, Brown said the "elephant in the room" is the quant funds that are "completely divorced from any of this nonsense about I trust Trump or I believe in the agenda."

Sarat Sethi said, "Every day, there's negative headlines," but he advises, "Don't pull out yet."

Jim Lebental said he thinks the market has been "stuck" for "many months."

"I don't particularly trust this market, but that's an opinion," Jim said, predicting a range of 2,350 to maybe above 2,400.

Mike Santoli said "there's that sense out there that it's late."

Stephen Weiss said Lee Cooperman on Friday declared equities fully valued. "I'm not so sure the VIX means what it used to mean," Weiss said, adding, "I put on some hedges last week right before the big decline and felt like a genius for about a day."

Jim Lebenthal declared himself an "active manager" and contended there are a "lot of different segments of these markets that are performing differently," calling value stocks "basically flat."

Though tech's done great, Weiss said "you really have to be irresponsible not to regard risk being in the market somewhere."

More from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, May 19, 2017]

Jim evidently didn’t like Judge’s NKE ‘cheapskate’ implications, won’t take him to lunch

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime took a small but deserved victory lap on his suggestion a couple days ago of a possible VIX peak, a premium that "virtually vaporized."

Jim Lebenthal said the market's telling us that it's not worried about whether Trump lasts 4 years, and he thinks the cash from the sidelines will carry the market further.

Doc said there is a "significant amount of money on the sidelines" and pointed to DE (we think that's one of Jon Najarian's Trump Trades© but not necessarily a MarketWatch Trump Trade).

Kari Firestone said Bob Mueller provided a "security blanket" to the market. Firestone pointed to 4.4% unemployment as a catalyst.

"Today, I bought Foot Locker," Doc said, despite the "horrendous" report. He said he put out a note touting a "tremendous opportunity" at 60-61. (It might well work out next week but didn't work on Friday.) (This item was posted after the market close Friday.)

Jim Lebenthal said NKE is on his "watch list," he has a half position and had a 53.50 buy for the rest; he said at 48-49, he'll buy the other half of his position. Jim congratulated himself for not buying NKE at 53.92 despite hectoring from Judge and cheapskate allegations and not taking each other out to lunch.

Things Ron Johnson didn’t think of: JCP could sell sheets to hotels

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime said WMT June 79.50 calls for June 30 expiration were popular. He said he'll be in them "2-3 weeks."

Jim Lebenthal suggested brick-and-mortar retail has potential of going "extinct." Without Kevin O'Leary in the way, Jim said the Jet transaction has "clearly transformed Wal-Mart into a real ecommerce player."

Jim touted JCP again … this time for trying to sell bedding to hotels.

Josh Brown, again without Kevin O'Leary in the way, said if Jet doesn't work, no big deal, "it's like a rounding error" for WMT. (O'Leary would say WMT could be doing its own version at a "fraction" of the cost.)

Kari Firestone said WMT is still "an enormous presence of brick and mortar across the country that may or may not survive in its current form 5 years from now."

Josh: PANW a ‘falling knife’

As viewers wondered what Judge's criteria is for taking panelists out to lunch, Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime grumbled that it's difficult to "paint such a broad brush stroke" and deem all tech the same; he said IBM doesn't look anything like FB, and NVDA doesn't look anything like QCOM.

(Hmmmm … we didn't realize a big problem on Wall Street is people thinking IBM and FB are in the same business.)

Jon Najarian said he's a seller of puts in PANW. Josh Brown called PANW "the wrong one" with the "worst chart" in the space and a "falling knife," but he said CHKP looks "phenomenal."

Josh said nobody in Times Square has heard of Jen-Hsun Huang, but he's going to "reinvent the world as we know it," and NVDA's involved in "every single important breakthrough technology."

Doc said he likes NVDA and AMD, and he'd buy AMD on another dip.

Jim actually said CSCO is starting to look like IBM and said CSCO can do things with cash. "There's plenty of international companies that can be bought," Jim said.

Current longest-running cliche on Fast Money/Halftime: Citi trading below book

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime said (again) that the lesson with DE is not to be suckered by a cheap P.E.; the growth takes off when the P.E. gets expensive.

Jim Lebenthal made SYF sound useless before concluding it "doesn't excite me."

Doc said he wishes he owned MCK.

Jim said C "should be 10-20% higher just to get to parity with its book value."

Kari Firestone said there's "at least a 50% chance" that BX becomes a corporation and no longer has the K-1 problem.

Jim’s possibly still rankled by Judge tripping him up on ‘peak auto’

Jim Lebenthal, a quote a minute on Friday's Halftime Report, said to "keep it simple" and "follow the rig count" in the oil space.

Jim said OPEC "can't afford to cut." Doc said the OPEC optimism is about extending the cut to 9 months and bringing Russia along.

Jim told Josh Brown that pipelines aren't "tied to the price of oil" now that oil's stuck in a range; it was different when crude went from 110 to 30. Josh insisted the dividends may not be as "sacrosanct" as they seem "if oil doesn't do X, Y and Z."

Doc said he's in GD and likes the name. Josh Brown said it's hard to say which defense stock will have the best quarter and suggested the ITA. Jim said to keep an eye on BA; he'd like to buy it around 170 or 165, and he said he sold it earlier at 182, for those interested in previous winning trades.

Kari Firestone said she likes LDOS and expects it to track defense stocks, albeit delayed.

Doc touted PVH. Jim expects another TIF beat. Josh Brown gushed about JPM.

[Thursday, May 18, 2017]

O’Leary: WMT could’ve done what Jet does at a fraction of the price; SHAK ‘irrelevant’

Thursday's Halftime Report was partially preempted by the Times Square tragedy; both before and after, usually chipper Mario Gabelli was flat as a pancake.

Kevin O'Leary took a minor victory lap in shrugging off the Wednesday selloff. "It was just noise," O'Leary said.

Josh Brown said Thursday's bounce was "pretty textbook" after what happened Wednesday and the smoothness leading up to it.

Mario Gabelli said that from this administration, "tax reform is totally necessary, territorial vs. global, uh, corporate tax rate."

Joe Terranova said the "one policy" the markets want from this administration is corporate tax reform.

Judge briefly yielded to gorjus Ylan Mui, who conducted a fine interview outside the Steve Mnuchin hearing with Liz Warren, whom we often disagree with, but we'll give Warren credit for making articulate points in brief soundbites and Mui for asking good questions on the spot.

Warren carped that Donald Trump claimed to want Glass-Steagall but that Mnuchin said he doesn't think commercial and investment banking needs to be split. "In other words, he just reversed position from the administration by 180 degrees," Warren said.

Mario Gabelli said he likes FCB.

Judge said Gabelli was "payin' the piper" on CSCO. Gabelli responded, "I don't own any."

Joe said if you're looking to buy a pullback, the "1st place" to look is TXN, TER and LRCX.

Josh Brown said WMT is having a "clear and present breakout."

Kevin O'Leary said WMT "overpaid" for Jet, which he called "crazy." Josh insisted "no, they didn't overpay."

Josh said Jet is the team that beat Amazon with diapers.com, and WMT was smart to buy that team. Judge called that a "very compelling argument."

O'Leary said "online, you can emulate" and that Instagram copied what SNAP does and "decimates" SNAP's market cap. (This writer is long SNAP.)

Brown said they're talking about ecommerce, not social media.

"They could've built it for a fraction of the price," O'Leary insisted.

Mario Gabelli said he owns ORLY and GPC but not AZO.

Jon Najarian, via satellite, said he thought BABA was "overdone" at 114 and said some people started buying a bunch of calls from 120 to 130.

Judge said Wedbush actually upgraded SHAK to buy. Josh admitted the high valuation "hasn't been cured" but said the stock has an "investor base."

Brown told O'Leary SHAK has "a hundred and something" stores. O'Leary said the company is "irrelevant" and called it "nothing burger."

Honestly, we gotta agree with O'Leary; we don't get that one except that it's apparently a popular spot for NYC traders, who must be the only people keeping the stock afloat. The food's fine but nothing extraordinary and highly expensive, and this is a massively competitive space.

Jeff Kilburg said you can have the "perspective" of fading the 10-year but said it'll stay in a range. Anthony Grisanti said he can see the 10-year hitting 127.01, the 200-day, in the next few sessions.

Gabelli said he likes MWA as well as RSG and Case New Holland.

Kevin O'Leary said he's intrigued by Mario Gabelli's interest in RHP. O'Leary seemed most excited by the Atlanta Braves play of BATRA. O'Leary grumbled that BATRA is merely a "tracking stock."

Gabelli affirmed he's nibbling at MGM.

Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money featured Tim Seymour talking over himself and stumbling into a flap with Steve Grasso; we quickly lost track and interest.

[Wednesday, May 17, 2017]

O’Leary: ‘This president will be around for 8 years’

Kevin O'Leary on Wednesday's Halftime Report called the day's correction "not a big deal" and merely the "pause that refreshes."

But Ron Insana, who decided to come back after being roped into the Trump Trade fiasco yesterday (see below), asserted, "I don't think that this is something that's gonna blow over" and predicted it gets "far worse" before it gets better.

Jon Najarian opined that Wednesday or this week could mark "peak insanity" out of D.C. and explained the VIX is in backwardation.

Judge said we're a "long way" from impeachment proceedings.

Josh Brown said stocks roared for 24 months after the most recent impeachment, and perhaps the market wants President Mike Pence anyway. Brown also said he doubts that an impeachment trial would take place over one memo, and he said Wednesday's market is not unusual, it's everything leading up to it that's been unusual. (All 4 of those being excellent points.)

O'Leary insisted that Middle America considers this little more than noise. Insana dubiously claimed, "We should be more focused on the 25th Amendment," the clickbait point he's been making in the blogosphere.

But O'Leary correctly took issue with Insana's repeated insistence that things get worse before they get better, stating, "It gets more entertaining before it gets better."

Erin Browne said she doesn't think D.C. turmoil derails the market recovery.

Jim Lebenthal contended that the market has decided that Mike Pence will become president and that Pence "will get the Trump agenda done better than Donald Trump will."

O'Leary made the day's boldest prediction: "This president will be around for 8 years. People really are starting to like a different style," O'Leary said.

But Brown said, "He has sub-40% approval."

Brown said of the Trump presidency, "There is no agenda."

O’Leary: IBB into ASCO

Kevin O'Leary on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he's always long heading into the ASCO meeting, and he uses the IBB.

Jon Najarian said he likes BMY and CELG. Josh said he'd be long IBB and said he likes BMY and AMGN.

O'Leary said he loves JNJ.

Meg Tirrell, who delivered multiple reports from JNJ's day, told Judge something many would love to hear: "You can't get rid of me."

O’Leary: TJX a ‘howling hound from hell’

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime cautioned about TJX, "When you get one miss like this, it's kinda hard to come back."

But Josh Brown said he'd buy TJX because "I like where the selloff stopped."

Jon Najarian said that given the trouble in retail, the discounters will be buying inventory for "pennies on the dollar."

Kevin O'Leary scoffed at TJX and said it's "not only a dog, it's a howling hound from hell."

Josh Brown said TGT upped the guidance that it recently slashed; he doesn't see a reason to buy but if so, he'd put a stop below 52.

Ascena surfaces on 5 p.m. Fast Money; Karen calls Dress Barn ‘one of the dumbest names ever, only worse than Athlete’s Foot’

Discussing F on Wednesday's Halftime, Jim Lebenthal decided to use the word "plateau" to describe auto sales.

Judge pounced on that and demanded to know how Jim can like GM; "you just made the case not to own, not to buy an automaker."

Jim said "that is not what I said," but rather, he was making a case against F, which he said has unfortunately been penalized for not entering bankruptcy like other automakers and getting union concessions.

Jon Najarian said SBAC September 150 calls were popular while the 155s were being sold.

Doc said he likes RRGB and JACK and that consumers seem to like custom burgers more than assembly-line variety.

Kevin O'Leary said every time DIS sells off, he buys more.

Jeff Kilburg said "the reason to own gold makes a lot of sense." Jim Iuorio said, "1,320 is my upside target."

Josh Brown said he'd buy JPM anytime under 90. Jim touted AAPL. Erin Browne said to buy regional banks. Kevin O'Leary touted his own product.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said the selloff could take us back to where we were a month ago and observed, "Interestingly today, retail didn't do that badly." She also said she might buy URI on another drop.

[Tuesday, May 16, 2017]

Settled: Doc’s own personal Trump Trade DID NOT ROLL OVER!!!!

It all started when Stephanie Link opined, "All of the Trump trades rolled over, and rolled over hard."

Oh my.

That set off Jon Najarian, whose Cheerios were obviously peed in before he took a seat on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

"I disagree again. They rolled over and rolled over hard?" Doc bellowed.

"The Trump- the Trump trades? Yeah they sure have?" Link responded.

"OK, so Caterpillar, Cummins, John Deere, did they roll over hard?" Najarian continued. "Did Goldman Sachs roll over hard? Did JPMorgan. They're up 25%! Do you expect 50%?"

"Wait a second," Link protested. "They rallied from the November lows, they rallied huge … and then they took a real big nosedive. And then in March, then they started-"

"So they're still up 25%, and we expected them to be up 50 Steph??" Doc thundered.

"I- I have to tell you, that I don't think these companies are pricing in any kind of fiscal policy at all," Link offered, trying to slightly change the subject.

"Well, they did not roll over," Najarian insisted.

"Yes they did," Link insisted back.

"If you wanna tell me, U.S. Steel and Freeport rolled over, you'd be right. But you're not right about these others," Doc scoffed.

"How about energy? How about energy?" Link said.

"That's not one of my picks!! How is that a Trump stock??" Doc hammered.

"We're talkin' about apples and oranges here!" Link said.

Grasping for help, Judge summoned Ron Insana to stop the bleeding. Insana said, "In a certain sense, energy stocks have become Trump stocks." Like the deft (former) host he is, Insana neatly excused himself from the melee by pivoting to the "Xi Trade."

But still Insana couldn't resist. "Now this Trump trade I think is beginning to roll over," he said, as Doc was caught on camera smugly nodding.

Judge then made a mistake, telling Najarian, "I can pick any, any stock in the market to support my point of view on anything. (Sure. Show us a chart that proves coal is ripping.) … Financials are up 1% … year to date."

Doc astutely pointed out that Trump's approach to energy is likely to create more supply, which would theoretically hurt prices.

Then Link made a bigger mistake than Judge, telling Doc, "But that's not the point you're trying to make."

"No that is the point. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I'M TRYING TO MAKE!!" Najarian thundered. "I'll tell you the points I'm trying to make. You don't have- you don't have this little kid inside my head telling me what I'm doing Steph."

"Stop yelling. Stop. Yelling," Link said.

"Dude you need to chill out," Judge told Najarian.

"All right, I'll chill out," Doc shrugged.

"I'm serious," Judge said. (He explained later on Twitter why he said that.)

"All right," Doc said.

Goodness knows why, but Judge made another mistake, informing Doc that industrials are up 5% this year and financials 1½% this year. "They did roll over," Judge claimed, without explaining how a 1% gain constitutes "rolling over."

"Scott, again, they did NOT roll over," Doc said.

Pete Najarian jumped in (guess which side he took), stating, "Rolling over is not what they're doing. They've paused. That's the real difference."

But Pete was right.

Link said financials fell 10% since March 1. "And then they got a bottom, and they're starting to creep back," Link said.

"It might just be semantics," Doc offered, before this goofy point: "If MarketWatch calls it a Trump stock, that's not Jon Najarian calling it a Trump stock."

Sigh. (And try watching this whole thing twice.) 1) Link was wrong, 2) Doc was kinda hyper, and 3) Judge clumsily picked the wrong side to defend.

At the end of the show, Doc said, "I'd be remiss if I didn't say I apologize Steph. Got a little heated. But uh, I luv ya" (sic spelling per 1970s Houston Oilers).

Link said, "Luv ya too."

Judge said it's "one big happy family."

Judge tweeted afterwards, "For those of you who don't know, or have never met him, @jonnajarian is one of the nicest, most respectful people I've ever met."

Doc tweeted that it was "Just a tad too much java for me today."

We said earlier that when this started, we practically wanted to crawl under the couch, but we nearly fell off the couch (in a good way) when we caught Joe Terranova's angular sideways glance (below) near the end of this exchange that he smoothly sidestepped.

Joe: DKS a ‘falling knife’

Well, when the Halftime gang needs a smile, there are few better subjects for this crew than NKE.

Guest Corinna Freedman said her NKE "buy" call is based on footwear outperforming athletic apparel.

Freedman told Pete Najarian the 70 target isn't too high of a P.E., saying NKE had higher P.E. levels a year or 18 months ago.

Freedman actually mentioned "3-D printing" (snicker) as a boost for NKE.

Meanwhile, reaffirming his belief in a more defensive posture, Joe Terranova said he'd trade a WYNN for a MSFT because the "optics" on MSFT are "far better long term."

Stephanie Link said HD is getting the traffic in stores; she curiously said she'd hold it but wouldn't buy it here. (If you own it at the end of the day, isn't that like buying it?)

Pete said Citi's "sell" on PFE "surprised me."

Doc said MLCO June 24 calls were being bought in "big numbers." Pete said he's in EOG because the January 100 calls were getting bought. Pete said he created a spread. Joe called CXO, PXD and EOG the "3 winners" in the shale space.

Brian Stutland said the euro could reach 1.20 in a year, a headwind for the dollar. Jim Iuorio said "it could be a crowded trade" and thus could gain some momentum.

Joe Terranova said of TWTR, "The right people are buying the stock."

Meanwhile, meeting the show's quota of 1 CNBC Disruptor 50 interview, Judge brought in Robinhood co-founder Baiju Bhatt, who explained that Robinhood is an "app that lets you trade stocks for free."

"How do you make money then," Judge asked.

Bhatt said they have "various" ways, including offering Robinhood Gold, which "lets customers, um, borrow money from us."

Judge said that's basically allowing people to trade on margin, and, "I wonder what that says in and of itself (sic last 4 words unnecessary and redundant) about, about where the market is right now."

Pete Najarian sighed that TJX was getting beat up a bit. Stephanie Link said, "It truly could've been a weather problem."

Joe called DKS a "falling knife" and questioned the average price target being 59.92.

Pete's final trade was AMAT. Doc said MU. Link said to buy CRM on any weakness. Joe said he bought DNKN and hung a 60 on it.

Karen Finerman, undeniably gorrrrrrjus (below) in new cream-colored ensemble on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, called the notion of a "crowded" trade "ridiculous" and said she doesn't know what it means and that such a cliche won't prompt her to sell GOOGL.

Seema Mody donned new blue dress and reported on JACK's gains.

Doc, Steph, get into
shouting match

We almost wanted to crawl under the couch — and we were only watching from home.

But we'll have to address the Doc-Steph showdown a bit later, so all we've got is the boring stuff for now.

At the beginning of Tuesday's Halftime Report, CNBC's John Harwood characterized H.R. McMaster's remarks (which encroached on the program) as a "non-denial denial."

Joe Terranova said the market resilience in the face of D.C. turmoil is "incredible." But he said it's a "big issue" as to when taxes get addressed.

Joe suggested maybe viewers "downshift" a growth strategy to a little more "value-oriented" (snicker) or a little more defensive.

"It's a stock-picker's market," declared Stephanie Link. (Ah, yes. This is the year value wins.)

Ron Insana, who's not normally on this program, conceded it's "surprising" to see stocks this resilient.

Judge decided, "There's a seller's strike on Wall Street."

Jon Najarian, amped up for this particular hour, said we've had the "best year-over-year growth" in S&P earnings in 6 years.

Insana observed that the president could be "lurching towards a constitutional crisis" but the market would just expect Mike Pence to pass the agenda without the drama.

Insana said Charlie Cook is suggesting the possibility of a Democratic takeover of the House. Doc cut in, "Absolutely no chance, Ron. No chance," adding the market would "hockey-stick to the upside" if tax reform takes place in 2018.

More from Tuesday's Halftime, including Doc and Link's rather heated debate over whether the Trump trade "rolled over," later.

[Monday, May 15, 2017]

Joe delivers message
everyone needs to hear

There was a healthy debate about colon-cancer screening and the stock of EXAS on Monday's Halftime Report, but Joe Terranova delivered the greatest public service.

"18 years ago, my father passed away. He never went for a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, the first colonoscopy he went for was the one that told him that it was too late," Joe said. "I've gone for a colonoscopy ever since. The prep is not hard. People should do it. It's a struggle."

Left fails to justify ‘most important report in years’ claim while issuing valid PSA

Monday brought one of the Halftime Report's best debates in recent memory, as Citron short seller Andrew Left dialed in to defend his short-EXAS call … and even take on the CEO.

Judge questioned if Left billing his EXAS call as his "most important report in years" is maybe a "little hyperbolic."

Left said, "Absolutely not; this report goes way beyond just the stock market."

"My phone's been ringing off the hook with hedge fund managers," Left said, but they weren't talking about money, just the importance of a colonoscopy, something Left impressively stressed during the program.

Judge asked Left for "evidence" that EXAS' Cologuard product doesn't work. "I have their evidence," Left said, stating the company did a study that showed the product is "inferior" to the standard of care. He said the company is "trying to have people think there's an alternative to a colonoscopy."

Judge notably grimaced when stating Left thinks the stock could go to zero. Left said, "Well, zero is easy," stating, "Blood-based DNA cancer testing is the future."

Left said EXAS "might be a complete dinosaur" by 2020, and that while even Valeant can't really go away without problems, "this company could go away tomorrow."

Then EXAS Chairman and CEO Kevin Conroy dialed in and stated, "Andrew is dead wrong when it comes to detecting Stage 1 colon cancer from blood … a blood-based test is very unlikely to ever displace any other test."

Conroy said Cologuard is "at parity with the other screening methods."

"I'm not dead wrong, it's his study," Left insisted.

Conroy said Left "mischaracterizes that study" and said the study says the "greater compliance" of Cologuard is actually "incrementally cost-effective relative to the fit test."

"We leave this up to physicians and their patients to choose which test is the right test for them," Conroy said.

"The patients shouldn't choose," Left argued, insisting, "The patient should listen to their doctor. And the doctor should choose."

Judge cited a Barron's article and told Left, "More doctors clearly are prescribing this company's product."

"These studies by Leerink and Barron's are from sell-side research that's taking small percentage of the doctors," Left said.

Conroy told Judge, "The study shows that our test does detect polyps," while allowing, "Not at the same rate as colonoscopy."

"Remember those precancerous polyps take 10 to 15 years to turn into cancer. We have a long time to catch them," Conroy said.

Conroy concluded telling Left his report "may be detailed," but it's "wrong." Before Conroy could conclude his remarks, Left blurted, "Tell the viewers, Don't get a colonoscopy."

Afterwards, Joe Terranova explained, "The reason you go for the colonoscopy is if you have the polyp, it will be taken out surgically at the time of the colonoscopy. That's the benefit of a colonoscopy. Cologuard, I'm not sure how you could take the polyp out at the time of the test."

Pete Najarian offered, "It seemed like Conroy had a pretty good argument, however," citing the stock rally during the conversation.

Josh Brown said there's already a 28% short interest in EXAS, so the bear case has been out there.

Steve Weiss said "you have to be careful with some of the surveys." Weiss added, "I've gone for colonoscopies, this has never come up in what a doctor suggested."

This was a fascinating conversation. Left's argument about blood-based DNA cancer testing doesn't seem a great investing thesis for 2017. Conroy, who defended his case very well, made the argument that his product benefits people who won't undergo a colonoscopy. This is a problem for Left's position. Either Cologuard provides some value, or none. If the answer is "some," it's hard to see how the stock is a zero, unless 1) everyone starts flocking to colonoscopies or 2) a superior product to Cologuard is created.

For whatever it's worth … just because we notice these things … it seems a bit embarrassing that the description of Cologuard on the Exact Sciences website includes half a paragraph repeated.

If they're not reading their own website, how diligent are these folks about the effectiveness of their product?

Weiss: ‘Political risk doesn’t exist anymore’

Judge on Monday's Halftime announced that PYPL (among other tech greats) hit an all-time high, in defiance of the winning idea at Ira Sohn (see below).

Joe Terranova said you don't need a "complicated" strategy and suggested AMD now that the "dust has settled." He also said he'll be buying TWTR above 19; he'll "absolutely" buy it in the "next day or so."

Josh Brown said blue chips in the U.S. and globally "are just going bonkers." He mentioned the EEM and VGK again.

"We're deifying the large corporations that have managed to make it through the last 10 years," Brown explained.

Steve Weiss wouldn't bite on Judge's question as to whether tech greats are overpriced; "arguably they were too rich to buy up 15%, up 20%," Weiss said.

As for owning them, "I don't think that's a bad bet to make," Weiss said, concluding, "Political risk doesn't exist anymore."

Josh Brown demanded Judge add CRM and ADBE to the list of tech leaders beyond the FANGs. Judge insisted, "I named those."

Joe said the market "never looked back" after pushing through 2,300 and suggested the same might happen at 2,400.

Joe said the market wasn't responding to the potential of Washington progress but the "removal of the protectionism fears."

Steve Weiss said the notion of TSLA as a tech giant has been the case since "200 points ago" and "a hundred points ago."

Josh Brown said a lot of things look anti-shareholder when Elon Musk does them, then shareholders cheer; "it's a little Trumpian actually."

Brown, who mentioned TAM (that's correct, not the Memphis Tams of the ABA) a couple times in the opening, sort of gushed about the prospects of Tesla selling rooftops to people wandering into showrooms looking to buy cars.

"Frankly it's a little bit Apple-esque," Brown actually claimed.

Weiss said of TSLA's price, "It's tech on steroids."

Pete Najarian said he talked to Adam Jonas "a week and a half ago about this whole thing."

What happened to
the great GE breakout?

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime said SBUX will be able to rapidly fix its "mosh pit" problem and is going higher.

Pete said he's long KO, and by the way, the November 44 calls (Zzzzzzzzzz) were popular.

Josh Brown said sales of homes to first-time buyers "is a very big development."

Joe Terranova said he doesn't "trust" the price of oil, but he likes the play of long OIH.

Steve Weiss called AIG a "pretty interesting story."

Stephanie Link touted MDLZ and said SBUX "makes a lot of sense." Link said she trimmed URI around 130 (for those looking for rear-view-mirror Brag Trades); she likes it now.

Link is trimming PH and SLB.

Judge suggested SNAP (this writer is long SNAP) was rising on reports of big investors getting in the name. "There's so little stock out there that can actually change hands," said Josh Brown.

Pete's final trade was HD. Weiss said CTL. (This writer is long CTL.) Brown offered MA, and Joe said FTNT.

[Friday, May 12, 2017]

O’Leary: JCP ‘going to zero’

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report defended one of his favorite longs, JCP, stating, "The stock is currently being priced for bankruptcy. Take a look at the debt for JCPenney. It is clearly not being priced for bankruptcy."

Josh Brown said JCP debt is a "demand issue," meaning, "people will buy any bonds right now."

Josh said the stock is "being priced for obsolescence."

Jim said "all of the players" in the JCP sector say February was the "disaster," and March and April are trending higher.

Kevin O'Leary wasn't impressed. "If every store closed, nobody would even hear it," O'Leary said. "It's a zero. It's going to zero."

Jim insisted he wasn't making a rosy retail call. But we gotta say, in this kind of department-store environment, JCP doesn't seem like the greatest buy call. (This writer has no position in JCP.)

Josh says he’s ‘not long a lot’ of GE

Kevin O'Leary on Friday's Halftime Report said the Deutsche Bank call on GE, while it didn't mention the term, is about potentially cutting the "dividend."

Steph Link called GE overvalued. Josh Brown, who has touted the stock for seemingly years, claimed, "I'm not long a lot of it" and said many of the issues raised in the Deutsche Bank note are "legitimate."

Steph Link said Jeff Immelt is "gonna retire next year anyway."

Kevin O'Leary claimed Jeff Immelt "got handed a black box of financial services that he had to work for 12 years to unwind. And he got it done." (Ah. So it's Jack Welch's fault.)

Josh Brown called recent price action in GE "atrocious" and said the bottom of the range is 27, and if it "convincingly" closes under that, there's no reason to be long for a trade.

O'Leary said he would "guarantee" GE drops below 27 if there's another "hint" of a dividend cut.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't own GE because, despite the fact GE makes airplane engines and airplane sales are great, "They can't make enough money to justify the share price."

Another 8 minutes on SNAP

Somehow, we're hearing better things about SNAP since the hazmat-suit earnings call than before it. (This writer is long SNAP.)

Ross Levinsohn dialed in to tell Judge on Friday's Halftime, "I'm very bullish long-term on SNAP. I think the only thing that surprised me on the earnings was the miss."

And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the …

Anyway, "The engagement numbers are terrific," Levinsohn added. He said he doesn't put SNAP in the "social" category. He thinks it's a "communications platform and I think it's a creative platform."

Josh Brown scoffed, "It's a camera company."

Levinsohn acknowledged, "Well, they're leveraging the camera, right."

Josh had a good idea, that Levinsohn should pitch himself to Evan Spiegel as SNAP's Sheryl Sandberg. Levinsohn said, "That's kind of you. Probably not up to me."

Judge said the point is that maybe SNAP needs an "adult" (sigh) (Drink).

"Evan is revolutionizing the industry," Levinsohn insisted, adding, "I actually think Facebook is becoming much more and more like Twitter than it is like Snapchat. And I think Instagram has become what Facebook was," grumbling about the "fake news" he gets on Facebook that's really "heavy, heavy politics" that is "sort of messing up the entire feed."

Josh Brown suggested playing SNAP by putting on a buy/limit order above the all-time high. Josh said it's "too soon" for even a "genius" to determine if SNAP has long-term traction.

Age 50 — when the end is nearer

Mike Wilson, who resembles Peyton Manning, sat in with Friday's Halftime crew and said earnings have been "spectacular" and suggested people still "aren't on board" with the idea that multiples can expand.

"The story line's been underplayed," Wilson said.

Jim Lebenthal said the Trump agenda is a "big if at this point in time." Wilson said he's "highly confident" there's no tax benefit built in the market for 2017.

Kevin O'Leary suggested 45 could be the "new norm" for oil. Wilson said he sees crude at 50-55 this year.

Josh Brown actually suggested all the euro exit threats "turn out to be beneficial in that they force some of the reforms to happen."

Judge pointed out that Wilson's 2,700 call is based on 12 months from now, not year-end.

Josh Brown said, "There's like a difference between hard deregulation and soft deregu-"

Judge said Ray Dalio thinks near term looks good, but "longer term looks scary." Mike Wilson said, "I mean, look, I'm 50 years old, I mean the long term is scary. I mean, you know what that means, I'm getting closer to the end."

Jim's final trade was long TIF. Stephanie Link said CRM. Kevin O'Leary mentioned one of his ETFs.

[Thursday, May 11, 2017]

Joe suggests store is challenged because ‘it’s crowded, it’s crammed’

When they weren't talking arrogance on Thursday's Halftime, they were channelin' Yogi.

Judge reported that Jana is skeptical of some of the WFM board nominees for lack of grocery experience.

Pete Najarian said "I took off half today" and said the company's had declining sales for 7 straight quarters.

Joe Terranova said WFM is presently trading "at probably the right price." Joe said he frequents WFM stores, "but I think the experience too has deteriorated … It's crowded, it's crammed."

Crammed stores. That's a tough problem for retailers to overcome.

Pete Najarian said June 25 calls in PPC were popular.

Jon Najarian said June 29 calls in GE were popular.

Judge asked the Najarians, "Are you guys always in the same trade." No, they said; "sometimes the interpretation (snicker) is different."

Pete said he agrees with the Atlantic Equities analyst to go neutral on HD but raise the price target.

Sarat Sethi said "Goldman's missed the whole party on YUM" (sounds like they allocated their arrogance to SNAP, see below), and he still likes the stock.

Doc suggested selling SYMC puts at 30.

Joe said CXO is a "better name" than XOM.

Doc halfheartedly agreed with Savita Subramanian's note that biotechs are cheap; he said there's unusual activity in BCRX.

Sarat Sethi said to buy CELG and BMY. Pete said he's "waiting and waiting" for GILD to do something; "they've gotta buy somebody," Pete said. He also touted AMGN.

Joe said biotech "scares the heck out of me," predicting the sector will get "annihilated" if there's a market decline.

Jeff Kilburg said Aramco will "pound the microphone" to get crude past 50. Jim Iuorio said crude could "easily" reach 50-51 before we have to make a "decision" on where it's going.

Judge said the VIX on Thursday might be providing a "bit of a reality check." But Doc shrugged off the "half a percent" move in the S&P.

Joe seems to suggest Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley might be even more arrogant than Evan Spiegel

Mixing Wall Street with Silicon Valley millennials, and we have the jackpot of egomania.

The Najarii since late April had been touting SNAP call-buying while dismissing the company. (This writer is long SNAP, so caveat emptor.) (Then again, this site is free.)

Obviously those calls imploded in a bad way after the "horrific" report Wednesday night.

On Thursday's Halftime Report, Doc admitted his call-buying disaster but said he bought SNAP overnight at "17.38 or something like that," an opportunity for a trade.

Judge said some people were put off by "arrogance" from Evan Spiegel, adding that Jim Cramer says Spiegel "needs to be hazed," a curious term given the recent tragedy at Penn State.

Sarat Sethi warned that SNAP doesn't have unlimited pockets. "The more SNAP spends on R&D, the more it's gonna hurt them in the next earnings," Sarat said.

Doc said when SNAP shrugged off losing more than a billion dollars, "that's crap."

"It's kinda like when Zuck was going around and he was walkin' around with a hoodie," Doc analogized. "When was the last time you saw him in a hoodie in front of the cameras?"

Doc added, "I think Spiegel can recover from this. … if he grows up and does a more grown-up conference call next time."

Joe Terranova said, almost in disbelief, that "I am amazed at the analysts' recommendations this morning," pointing to Goldman Sachs' 27 SNAP target and Morgan Stanley's 28 overweight. "It's an incredible amount of arrogance and it's unfortunate because it does not, it does not suggest or teach the proper discipline those watching the show, those in the markets need to have surrounding these companies."

Well … we're not sure how a target that the stock already reached a couple months ago is incredibly arrogant, but more on that later.

Brian Wieser, who has a less-arrogant $9 SNAP target, said he's "actually reasonably positive" about the business in the long run but just thinks it's "massively overvalued."

Wieser made a quality point, that managing the company will be more difficult if the stock stumbles, because so many key employees are paid in RSUs.

He said he took Evan Spiegel as "confident," but "I don't know that it was the right tone for this call."

A couple times, Wieser credited SNAP for warning about revenues, admitting, "Wow, we didn't take them at face value."

Doc warned that SNAP is facing the "mother of all lockups."

Honestly, we hardly have any clue what this company's product is. But in our own version of "channel" checks, we couldn't help but notice that Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, in which Guy Adami astutely suggested buyers at 17, devoted its opening 14 minutes to this earnings report, then followed up with 6 more minutes later.

Judge gave it an 11-minute stretch on Thursday's Halftime. Since Worldwide Exchange overnight, CNBC has pounded this arrogant earnings report into viewers' heads approximately every 15 minutes.

So, we're thinking major stumble here, but that this contraption isn't done yet. (Then again, buying the dip — whether Macy's, Marine Le Pen or James Comey, doesn't always work.)

Judge could've asked a provocative question but didn't: whether SNAP, at 18 and change, is a better buy than TWTR, at 18 and change.

When a 100% loss is better
than a 15% loss (cont’d)

The Najarii frequently report trades based on unusual call activity, and many happen to flourish.

But some don't, such as Doc's god-awful tandem of SNAP (last week) and M (this week) into earnings.

On Thursday's Halftime, Jon Najarian observed that "overall retail sales are up."

But as for Macy's, "This was just a terrifically bad quarter. Obviously I and anybody else who had calls into this thing just saw 'em get flushed."

Then came the mumbo jumbo: "The only good news there is, stock's down almost $4, um, and the options you could only lose what you paid for 'em, 40 cents or whatever."

See, that's the slogan for option pitchmen, the notion that you come out ahead losing 100% of a bad options trade than 15% of a bad stock trade (which can always recover) because somehow you would've spent a lot more on the stock than options.

Sarat Sethi said it's "taking longer" for M to get rid of its weaker stores than people thought.

Pete's assessment of M: "They are still a ways away from the transition that they need to make to be competitive."

Joe Terranova questioned who will buy the retailers' underperforming square footage; "are we just gonna open bowling alleys all over the United States?"

"Target's down 21% year to date!" Joe added, predicting an overall retail "bleed into other parts of the market."

Joe touted BABA and chastised himself for a "poor job" of not mentioning the name more often.

[Wednesday, May 10, 2017]

Josh implies Yellen’s job security contingent on the S&P 500

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Grandpa John Harwood discussed the James Comey firing and told Judge, "The administration's agenda is in trouble, and the administration itself is in trouble," adding it's now "more difficult for Congress to digest the issues of health care, tax reform, legislative changes to Dodd-Frank."

On the other hand, "The market doesn't think it means anything," opined Jon Najarian.

"The only person that probably thought Comey was doing a good job was himself," Doc said. "I'll take the oppposite side of John Harwood on this: I don't think this means anything for the stock market."

Rob Sechan predicted a "pivot away from what is possible to what is practical" (snicker) in D.C.

Citing forward VIX, Sechan contended, "There's fear in the market. Nobody's complacent right now."

"I'm not with you on this one," said Jim Lebenthal.

Sechan praised the market's resilience even during "a French election that got very scary" (snicker).

"The spot VIX below 10 is a danger signal," Jim insisted. He also said Tuesday's news is a "very strong impediment for tax reform."

Doc insisted to Jim that the VIX is trading 40% higher than it should be.

"There is a fear premium built into this price," said Pete Najarian, backing his brother but otherwise having a quiet show.

Rob Sechan said rarely do 1st-half winners lead the 2nd half, so he suggests rotating into energy and financials. Pete said it takes "facts" to justify dabbling in those areas.

Finally given a chance, Josh Brown uncorked a provocative comment: "I think the market already decided in February and March, this was an incompetent administration, and none of this stuff was gonna happen," Brown said.

Josh said all the "Trump trades" are lagging big-time while giant tech is soaring.

Josh said if Yellen hikes and the S&P falls "more than 10% off its, off its record high, he is going to be on Twitter calling for her head. You can mark my words. Remember that I said it."

Rob Sechan said he agrees there's a "political macro narrative," but "I think the micro narrative is starting to become more, more important, right now."

Left needs better argument than Amazon entering the space; that’s what the NFLX shorts kept saying

Appearing on Wednesday's Halftime Report, W short Andrew Left asked Judge, "How are you."

Judge said, "I'm good, maybe better than you're feeling today," given Wayfair's recent move after Left called it a short a while back.

"I feel just fine," Left said, adding, "Funny enough, I think it was the same interview I recommended buying Restoration Hardware at 30, and then it's doubled to 60, but we don't wanna talk about that," although Judge said they could talk about that later.

Anyway, "I think it's a wonderful opportunity to short Wayfair," Left said, acknowledging the week's short squeeze.

Left said Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne claimed Wayfair is "buying revenues" and indicated the business is a "house of cards."

Judge said momentum in W was working against Left "literally as we're having the conversation … the stock is literally adding value as, as we're having this conversation."

Left said, "I'm gonna leave this interview, and I'm gonna go play golf," suggesting AMZN and WMT are "working for me" by sometime entering the space.

Left said that if you approached private equity about the worth of Wayfair, they'd be asking how much you'd pay them to take it.

Josh Brown asked the question that's asked of every short trade, what would it take for you to cover, and Left provided the standard answer: "There's nothing this company can do to make you change your thesis on it. Whatsoever."

A bit behind the curve, Judge asked Left if he has a position in NVDA. Left pointed out that when he predicted $90 on the show a while back, it got to $95, "so I'm sorry, I missed the bottom by 5 points," then said on the previous show that he's not shorting it anymore.

Judge said Wayfair had "no comment," but the CEO will be on Closing Bell.

‘More down than up’ in crude

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime took up Bernstein's $30 conviction short on INTC.

Jim Lebenthal said that "even if you don't like it as a long, I just don't see how you short this stock," stating you'd have to ignore the Mobileye acquisition (snicker), and there's more risks to the upside than downside.

Josh Brown said semis have been breaking out, and the sector's great. Judge said that's true, so how come "Intel hasn't been doing anything." Josh contended "it's a better risk/reward from the long side."

Jon Najarian said he doesn't like Bernstein's call because he thinks the stock "rips" in September after there's been 9 months since the Mobileye acquisition.

Doc said June 19 calls in NUAN were popular, but the stock was at 19.77 while he spoke, so it seems to us like the baby's already been born on that one. Pete said NBR June 11 calls were popular.

Brian Stutland called crude's gain "a bear market rally" and that $45 is the "target." Scott Nations predicted "more down than up" and said the chart's in "no-man's land."

For final trades, Rob Sechan touted the XLE. Pete Najarian touted SNY. Doc touted ATW. Josh said he's staying long NVDA. Jim backed XRT again.

[Tuesday, May 9, 2017]

Ira Sohn champ runs into Cramer

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime brought in Ira Sohn investment idea winner Dylan Adelman, who more than handled himself like a pro … even if we have to agree with Cramer on Adelman's thesis.

Judge announced that Adelman was calling an EBAY/PYPL pairs trade. But Adelman said, "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 told Adelman, "I was in the audience," and "everyone was like very into the idea."

Joe Terranova wondered if Adelman views PayPal estimates "as being a little bit too conservative." But Adelman said "a reasonable bear case could be in excess of 50% earnings loss for PayPal long term."

Josh more fully explained Adelman's thesis, that EBAY "has to have" the PayPal option on its site for now.

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." Cramer even mentioned Apple Pay.

Adelman said that as early as 2020, EBAY can "go out on its own and basically create a merchant of record processing system in house." Sure, but will it be any good, and would anyone even use it, and aren't regular eBay users going to keep using PayPal anyway.

Cramer said "it's not a great business for them," meaning eBay, and that Alibaba doesn't want to do it. Adelman said "Alibaba still looks into this."

As for the trade, actually, "I would flip it," Cramer said.

Nevertheless, Cramer said he was "reluctant" to confront Adelman and, "I didn't wanna come out and say, 'Listen, I think that's a dumb idea. It's not." (Even though he would do the exact opposite.)

"I think the kid held his own," Judge said.

Adelman even cracked a joke, telling Judge that being on the Halftime Report is "actually what I aspire to in life. … I can retire with happiness at 20 years old."

Unfortunately, he said he's looking to a hedge fund career.

MSFT 1999 vs. AAPL 2017

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime hailing his previous day's interview with Jeffrey Gundlach at Sohn, which carried that day's 5 p.m. Fast Money show.

Tuesday, Josh Brown endorsed Gundlach's view (which Josh noted has been his own for a while) and said Europe, Japan and the EEM are "the key to outperformance this year."

Jon Najarian didn't seem quite as excited, stating South Korea is in the EEM with Brazil, "and if you can link those 2 up, well good luck to ya," but otherwise, he thinks "it's a good call by Jeffrey Gundlach."

Jim Lebenthal argued that holding international stocks is supposed to be part of the plan. "Most of the time, you are supposed to have a diversified portfolio, particularly if you're a high-net-worth investor, which is what we deal with. You're supposed to have some international stocks including emerging markets in there," Jim said.

But Jim astutely pointed out that while Gundlach's trade is "academically very correct," investors tend to get nervous about "some of the riskier assets like emerging markets" if the S&P 500 starts to slump. (Translation: If EM does great, the S&P will be doing well also.)

Joe Terranova said of the VIX, "What we are witnessing right now is mathematics at work … The correlations are all mean-reverting intraday."

Judge aired the morning comments from Chamath Palihapitiya, which gave the panel a chance to gush about how great AAPL is. Jim Lebenthal said, "The next 12 percentage points guarantees the 10 percentage points after that," because "every news channel out there" will be hyping the march to $1 trillion market cap, another moment of AAPL conversation sounding like MSFT pre-Y2K.

Karen: Air travelers looking for opportunities to sue airlines

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report devoted a curious amount of time on P's confidence about a deal within 30 days.

Jon Najarian said there was unusual activity in P on Monday.

Joe Terranova said P has a "deteriorating balance sheet," but now it's got a "financial safety net" and board "expertise."

More skeptical, Josh Brown said "it's tough to make the case that there's gonna be some great deal for this company." Jim Lebenthal said, "The 30 days doesn't help."

Joe acknowledged Pandora is a "textbook study on accelerating competition in your industry."

Meanwhile, Doc revisited making the bull case for UAL a few weeks ago, even though he admitted at the time he didn't really believe in it, but now he's in a call spread.

Josh Brown said he likes JBLU, citing planes that are 95% full.

Joe said he thought the "large aircraft carriers" would struggle for longer and admitted, "I never expected United to come back this quickly." He touted LUV, ALK (yep), HA (yep) and JBLU.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said, "It just seems like people may be seeing these airlines as a, you know, as a bank. If you can get yourself on a video where the- some employee of the airline does something bad, maybe that's a home run for you."

Phil LeBeau said the airlines aren't saying that publicly, but executives are "hearing that."

Eamon Javers can’t recall a more stunning and dramatic moment in D.C. than the firing of James Comey

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report mentioned DIS having the "Star Wars" franchise, which makes this the 3rd or 4th movie that Wall Street supposedly hasn't priced in. Jon Najarian is long DIS call spreads. Josh Brown predicted the stock might "come in" and said he'd buy a pullback.

Anthony Grisanti said he's "not surprised" that copper is lower. Scott Nations conceded it's a "queasy chart for bulls."

Doc said May 30 calls in M were being bought aggressively. Doc also said someone's buying January (snicker) 14 calls in FCX.

Joe advised being long KKR. Jim Lebenthal touted XRT. Josh said DIS and Doc said he bought AFL.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, upon hearing of the firing of James Comey, Karen Finerman stated, "You can't help but look at this as partisan-driven."

In a bit of hyperbole, Eamon Javers said, "This is a stunning and dramatic development, about as stunning and dramatic as I can remember in my years in Washington. This is entirely unexpected."

[Monday, May 8, 2017]

Gundlach: ‘Passive investing
doesn’t even exist’

Mel and her unfortunately sleepy crew were on the 5 p.m. Fast Money Monday, but it was Judge who stole the show at Ira Sohn with Jeffrey Gundlach.

Gundlach likes a long EM/short SPY relative trade. But he had more interesting things to say about passive investing.

He said that in his Sohn presentation, he declared, "Passive investing doesn't even exist. It's just rules-based. And the S&P 500 isn't even rules-based. It's run by a committee."

He's right, although the nomenclature of "passive" still legitimately applies. No question, the S&P 500 and Dow are actively managed, their handlers are constantly (but not very often, as Gundlach notes), like everyone else including the crew of CNBC's Goofy 100 ("Goofy" is our term and not part of the title), simply trying to pick the best stocks.

Taken to extremes, an allocation of money to an index fund is an active rather than passive decision. However, let's get real just a bit, when Judge asks (as he does about every 15 minutes) whether active or passive investing is a superior approach right now, everyone knows the distinction he's talking about.

Gundlach put those who quote him (gulp) on notice, telling Judge he launched a Twitter account because "I'm just tired of getting false news out there," and this way he can right the wrongs without "trying to get a retraction that nobody's gonna read."

Brad Gerstner says he thinks Twitter and Bloomberg should merge

Brad Gerstner, who once told Judge that Altimeter's board resolution with United Airlines would rewrite the HBS curriculum, sat in with Monday's Halftime crew at Ira Sohn and said recent events at United Airlines were "frustrating" and "we were upset by the way this went down," but the company "got around to the right apology" and "moved forward" by raising bumping limits to $10,000.

Gerstner said the handling of the situation was "clumsy," and that Oscar Munoz is "probably the person front and center who is the most disappointed with how this was managed." (Um, isn't he the one who managed it?)

Gerstner said Charlie Munger said the airline business now looks like the railroad business. Stephen Weiss said Buffett and Munger stumbled in US Air a while back, which colored their view.

Gerstner noted that neither Amazon nor Alibaba is in the travel space yet. Almost hilariously, he said, "I've always thought of Twitter a lot more like Bloomberg, you know, I think it would make sense for those 2 businesses to be together." But he's not in TWTR.

He says he can "see the rationale" for the SNAP (snicker) long case.

Judge asked Gerstner if Uber needs "more adults in the room." Gerstner winced. Judge insisted, "These are serious issues, that, that, that been happening, not just noise." Gerstner responded, "Companies face issues. These are hard businesses. … Stuff's gonna go wrong."

Weiss asked Gerstner why DATA is still public. "When it got cut in half, we made it a large position in our fund," Gerstner said. "We think it should be closer to a hundred today."

For whatever it's worth, Chamath Palihapitiya on Closing Bell told Kelly Evans that IBM's Watson is a "joke," calling it a "nominally specious name."

Tim Cook apparently suddenly a great CEO again

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime said there's "no riskless equity trade ever," but AAPL actually "comes pretty close to it," suggesting the next quarter is a "throwaway quarter" and the only question is "how much upside will be left" when the next iPhone is announced.

Josh Brown said, "It really took 2 years for Apple to become worth more than it was in February 2015."

Brian White said "what we're starting to see here are the dark clouds around this valuation on Apple … starting to part ways."

Joe Terranova said he read a Goldman Sachs note suggesting the 5 FANGs or horsemen or whatever they're called might be getting pricey, but "I don't know if that's a strategy that you want to align yourself with right now."

Weiss said that after great earnings reports, if something happens in Washington, the market could go into "hyperdrive," and a 20-22 multiple is possible, although this page thinks his multiple might even be low.

Joe questioned who would sell the market with the VIX under 10. Judge said, "That's a conversation in and of itself (sic last 4 words redundant)."

Joe said the VIX is telling us that "everyone is running a long-volatility strategy." Weiss said "the real debate" is, "Does the VIX mean what it used to."

Weiss said Draghi can't stay in "full Q.E. mode."

Leslie Picker said XLNX and GIMO were getting a boost from Ira Sohn commentary. Judge asked Picker if Sohn might be the "stage" for Bill Ackman to disclose some new investments (and not just who his former Harvard rowing teammates were). Picker said it's the "perfect platform" for such an announcement.

Marine Le Pen, yesterday’s ‘news’

Late on Monday's Halftime Report, Keith Meister told Judge he's going to file a 13-D after the market close disclosing a stake of about 5½% in CTL.

"We commend the CenturyLink board on doing a game-changing, transformative deal in merging with and acquiring Level 3." (That was handy; this writer is long CTL.)

He said the "bottom line" is that he wants LVLT CEO Jeff Storey to be an executive of the new company and not just a board member.

Meister said the market's concerned with "short-term drivers," things that "will become irrelevant." (Gotta agree there. The selloff last week on the earnings report while these companies are in merger mode was bizarre.) Meister said the important thing is the transformative deal and that T and VZ "are doing other things … their, their, their futures are getting less good."

"The key is, not to get the integration wrong," Meister said.

Steve Weiss told Meister about what he said earlier in the show before Meister got there, that CTL could separate the dynamic new business from the crummy legacy business. Meister said that's "exactly right" but rather than agitate for that, it "happens on its own."

[Friday, May 5, 2017]

Steve Grasso actually suggests it’s time to be lightening up

Steve Grasso on Friday's Fast Money stated, "There's a battleground setting up for that 2,400 level in the S&P cash." Grasso said Trump only got a "minor victory" with the health care legislation and warned not to "count our chickens just yet" and suggested he'd be "lightening up unless you have a real fundamental reason to buy."

Grasso even said, "To me it feels like global growth is in question."


This market is the place to be, and that includes some stocks that will be spectacular shorts. We have no clue when the pullbacks will happen (and neither does anyone), but we do know, if you're lightening up in this market, it's like a Mets fan bailing on the 1986 team.

"North Korea was a big deal last week," cautioned Karen Finerman. "It could be a big deal next week" (snicker).

Nevertheless, Finerman said she's "staying long."

Judge misses the forest through the trees, fails to ask panel whether Tim Cook is a great CEO

Stephen Weiss on Friday's Halftime Report made a provocative point about Tim Cook.

Weiss called AAPL's $250 billion in cash "a declining asset, a wasting asset. They're buying bonds with it. Bonds yield nothing. You mean to tell me that there's not somebody there who couldn't have come up with something to buy?"

"I said they should've bought Netflix a year ago, 2 years ago … then their services would've ballooned," Weiss continued.

Josh Brown insisted AAPL management has "done their job for shareholders."

"What have, what have, what have visionary CEOs done, in terms of their stock price," Weiss said.

"Apple's bigger. Go on," Brown said.

"I think he's been a shepherd," Weiss said. "What's he innovated; what's he brought to the market."

"Nobody's claiming that he's been the most innovative CEO," Brown admitted.

Jim Lebenthal asked Weiss if he's selling AAPL. Weiss said no. Jim said, "Why are we having this discussion?" Weiss said those guys can "wallow in mediocrity."

Weiss said Tim Cook was a "process guy at Qualcomm before he got to Apple" and that he's a "manager" and not an innovator.

Brown wrongly accused Weiss of calling the next iPhone a "mediocre" product launch.

Jon Najarian and Weiss said Samsung phones are ahead of AAPL. "Jony Ive's been sleeping at his desk because Samsung's gotten there first on every single innovation," Weiss said.

As Weiss asked Brown to defend AAPL's management, Judge asked Weiss, "Why are you asking it snarkily though."

Kevin O'Leary said it's "sheer insanity" that AAPL would buy NFLX. "There's absolutely nothing proprietary about Netflix," O'Leary asserted.

The important point here — which not even Weiss made, although he hinted at it — is that long-term Silicon Valley greatness seems pegged to individuals, not products … and it's kinda hard to put Tim Cook in the "visionary" category.

Judge says some people put
Stan Druckenmiller on the Rushmore of investors

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report said Buffett's IBM sale is "a, an indictment" of the stock but not necessarily the worst indictment.

Judge tried to insist this is a big problem for IBM, but Pete pointed to MSFT and CSCO from 2011.

Jim Lebenthal admitted owning IBM a couple years ago, stating AI (snicker) is great but just a "tiny" part of the company, and IBM has got $40 billion in debt. He said this is Buffett's way of "gently" saying "sayonara."

Pete said he's not so sure, that maybe it's "a shot toward the board," and he mentioned the dividend.

Stephen Weiss said IBM is "not comparable" to MSFT. "The time has come and gone for this company," Weiss said.

Weiss said "there's so much difference" between CSCO and IBM.

Pete demanded to know why Buffett didn't sell his whole position. Judge said, "How many of these guys Pete sell their entire position in one fell swoop?"

Jon Najarian said Buffett recognizes "what we all said," which was, "This was a mistake from the beginning."

Josh Brown said he's been studying Berkshire Hathaway forever and "it's pretty much a fait acompli" that Buffett will exit the entire position. Brown added that IBM has vastly underperformed the S&P and XLK since 2009, and, "It's been a terrible stock."

Judge said, "You know what Jack Ma of Alibaba the other day said? The next great CEO is gonna be a robot."

Judge said "some people" would put Stan Druckenmiller on the "Mount Rushmore."

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary predicted IBM "will be tainted forever as he exits" and hit the 130s.

Did we actually go a whole week without Nike and Under Armour?

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime retraced his post-Brexit BCS purchase, claiming, "The very day after Brexit, I bought it down, it fell down to I think 7.75 or so, on its way to 6 by the way, I was too early, um, but then I bought more at 6, sold it at the end of the year like around 11 bucks."

Well, thankfully, this was mostly correct.

But not exactly.

Najarian said on Monday, June, 27, that he bought shares Friday around 8.30, sold $8 puts, and then on Monday bought more shares at "6.90-something."

As for BSC now, "it's not exciting," Doc said.

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary said regional banks are still down 1.8% for the year and mentioned that 18% of JNK is "garbage" energy debt.

Josh Brown questioned if O'Leary thinks he's the only one who knows those numbers or whether the market is "pretty smart" and has already priced in these issues. O'Leary said that info was not "relevant" 6 weeks ago because oil was trading 50-55.

Erin Browne said the regionals with significant energy debt exposure tend to be in Texas and are a "fairly minute universe of banks." Browne said there are better margins and better growth ahead.

Josh Brown said SHAK expectations are very low, but he couldn't answer Judge's question as to whether the overnight slam and rebound were both justified.

Jim Lebenthal suggested that Mario Gabelli might be suggesting the Atlanta Braves are worth $2.8 billion; "I'm not saying he's crazy, but I think 2 billion is more the value of the Atlanta Braves."

Steve Weiss said "the future bodes pretty well" for ZG, and it might be an acquisition candidate.

Becky Quick spoke about the Berkshire meeting while a CNBC cameraman showed Warren Buffett riding around the floor of a convention center in a golf cart with a couple of security guys trailed by a photographer while a robot dispensed "Cherry Coke from China" with Warren Buffett's image on the can.

Quick said her "gut" feeling is that Warren would've unloaded his entire IBM stake if he could've.

Erin Browne touted the "tremendous value" in European stocks.

Jim Lebenthal predicted a higher 10-year yield. Weiss agreed and suggested the TBF. Doc said there was unusual call buying and rumors in FNSR.

[Thursday, May 4, 2017]

David Seaburg calls SHAK a ‘classic pump and dump’

After undeniably gorjus Ylan Mui (in red) recapped the day in D.C., Guy Adami on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money predicted the new health care act will be "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

David Seaburg said, "That CBO score is gonna be a disaster."

Seaburg called SHAK a "classic pump and dump," explaining that sales projections were made based on NYC traffic.

Mel shrugged, "But it's not the management who assigned the stock a multiple, right? Wall Street was complicit in this pump and dump."

Pete Najarian presumably got double pay for doing the Halftime show and the 5 p.m. show.

On the Halftime Report, Pete and Josh Brown gushed about how great FB is.

Joe Terranova, who had a quiet show, said he disagrees with the notion of the tech greats as a "source of funds, an ATM if the market corrects," when in fact he thinks they'll be "safe havens."

Guest host Sully asked if buybacks are overrated or even counterproductive. Josh Brown gave a really long answer that AAPL since 2012 has spent more than $200 billion on dividends and buybacks (which didn't actually address the point).

Pete Najarian said September 130 calls in BUD were popular. Doc said May 27.50 SNAP (snicker) calls were popular.

Jeff Kilburg said "investors are selling with both hands in the crude oil space," but he's "still supportive" of crude in the "bigger picture."

Anthony Grisanti stated, "You can trace this back to gasoline demand."

Jackie DeAngelis mentioned an upcoming appearance on Futures Now by Bill Strazzullo, who was once a Fast Money/Halftime regular.

Gorjus Leslie Picker recapped last year's Ira Sohn winners, including longs in WRK and H and shorts in DEPO and MTNJ.J.

Pete said he thinks people are interested in GIS. Doc touted FDX on "percolating" call activity. Joe predicted a 125 breakout in PNC.

French election not mentioned again, shows you how useless it was to talk about it for months

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said oil won't kill the stock rally but will "slow the rise."

Joe Terranova said to continue to "avoid the space." But he warned about the "avalanche" of debt maturities in 2018 that could be trouble.

Josh Brown said 26 has been support for OIH. He said he likes the XLE, "only down 15% from the highs." Guest host Sully explained that 40% of the XLE is in 2 stocks, XOM and CVX.

Pete Najarian said he too is in XLE and he's also in the KMI options (you know, the ones who cut the dividend last year, and OMG!!!!! THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!)

Doc said the "real VIX" is at 7, "but it's pricing at 10.60," explaining that's due to a 52% higher volatility in options "than are actually justified by the movement in the market."

6 weeks from the Fed, Zzzzzz

Richard Fisher on Thursday's Halftime took a roundabout approach to answering Sully's question as to whether a June hike is "inevitable," that answer being, apparently yes.

Jon Najarian said he's long TSLA puts, stating he predicted a fade.

Joe Terranova said if you're in SQ, stay in it, don't get out like Joe did, but it wasn't really clear whether you should buy it now.

Sarat Sethi said LB is worth owning for the long term.

Doc said LB is on his "radar" for perhaps a private equity deal; he sees a lot more upside with that name than with JWN.

But Pete Najarian admitted he owns JWN and touted Nordstrom Rack despite Sully's cannibalization concerns, and "they're also very strong in online."

Sully actually had a good punch line when Josh Brown was talking about coming home from work every day to find "3 or 4 cardboard boxes stacked up in front of the house." Brown said DNKN is a name that can't be disrupted by Amazon.

[Wednesday, May 3, 2017]

Toni: AAPL ‘to me feels like a trading stock’

Steve Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he bought AAPL Wednesday morning because buyers have a "free pass," and it's "one of the safest stocks out there."

That description was called into question later during a debate between Jim Cramer and Toni Sacconaghi.

Sacconaghi said the iPhone upgrade rate is "no different" this year than in other years. He said China continues to be "very weak" but acknowledged there's "pent-up demand" there.

Sacconaghi lukewarmly said the stock "continues to work."

Cramer questioned why CLX gets a higher multiple than AAPL. Nobody made the obvious rebuttal, that 5 years from now, Clorox will still have the preeminent bleach, but it's possible someone besides Apple will build the best phone.

Sacconaghi had the best point of the whole AAPL discussion, telling Cramer that if AAPL falls from 135 to 90 and goes from 90 to 146, "that to me feels like a trading stock."

Exactly. Seems a much better buy in the 90s than 140s.

Despite plunging into the stock on Wednesday, Weiss called Sacconaghi's analysis "brilliant and realistic," stating there comes a point (such as with televisions) that it's just impossible to innovate much more.

Rich Saperstein said he has a full position in AAPL but suggested a "broad basket" of tech stocks.

Jim Lebenthal carped about Apple services lacking growth in the last quarter. Doc said that while nobody on the panel owns an Apple Watch, "apparently a lot of people are buyin' 'em."

Judge called the Cramer-Sacconaghi conversation a "big win" for viewers.

Doc said people were taking "cheap shots" in the options market at a TWTR surge.

Only mention of French election in a week is Doc’s CRTO segment, illustrates how it was overrated for months

Jon Najarian said on Wednesday's Halftime Report he'd "much rather own Sonic" than MCD at current price despite the Goldman Sachs call.

Doc said MCD can "hide things they don't really want you to see" on the TV screen menus, which Doc called an "upsell."

Stephen Weiss thinks MCD has some upside though "not a lot of upside."

Jim Lebenthal wasn't impressed by the Goldman Sachs analyst. "This is a throw-in-the-towel call," scoffed Jim, insisting MCD is a value stock and not a growth stock.

Doc revisited his MDLZ call of a day ago, which was indeed a great call. He "rang the register" on Wednesday morning.

Doc said someone was aggressively buying CRTO July 50 puts.

Pete mistakenly said NBL had a "52-week high" on Wednesday when he meant to say 52-week low; he bought the June 32.50 calls.

Gorjus Leslie Picker suggested "the pain may soon be over" for OZM.

Jeff Kilburg said he expects a crude move higher over the next 22 days. Anthony Grisanti said 47 support will be tested again, and a breach could take us to 45. "It's lookin' ugly right now," Grisanti said.

Pete said GILD needs to make an acquisition.

Doc said he sold puts in TWLO and made that his final trade.

Jim said ETSY's marketing expenses were "through the roof," and the stock will be in the "penalty box" for a while.

Jim also explained that GRPN doesn't have a competitive moat; "competition is killing 'em."

Steve Weiss said it seems like AKAM has a horrid quarter once a year; he doesn't mind owning it lower and made it his final trade.

Jim touted QRVO. Pete touted GS. Rich Saperstein touted IGM and said small caps would benefit from any movement in Washington.

[Tuesday, May 2, 2017]

Josh, Doc buy AMD

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime said AMD was hit by "incredibly high expectations."

Josh Brown said he bought some and brought his average cost "into the mid-11s."

Jon Najarian said he bought it Tuesday also. Judge said some investors found the guidance and margin "disastrous."

Later, Doc said there was put buying in NVDA.

Judge, Steph seem to disagree as to whether HD and LOW trade in tandem

Steph Link on Tuesday's Halftime Report endorsed the Credit Suisse bull call on HD and LOW and suggested LOW might have "more of a catch-up trade."

But Judge said the stocks have "almost mirrored each other."

Link contended, "One will outperform the other at certain periods."

Josh Brown said LOW has just broken out and is "headed to 100 bucks a share." Doc said the HD options he touted a while back doubled while the stock climbed.

Joe Terranova said, "Housing inventory is incredibly low." Josh said this was the best 1st quarter for housing in 5 years.

Joe says the ‘right people’ are buying TWTR for the ‘earnings turn’

Jon Najarian opened Tuesday's Halftime stating the AAPL straddle is almost exactly the same price as a year ago though the price of the shares is much higher now; "so in other words, the amount of premium that people are putting on this is way too small, in my opinion."

Thus there's "no reason not to be hedging" the earnings tonight, Doc said.

Stephanie Link said she doesn't think this quarter is "that material" to AAPL at all, and guidance isn't really that important.

Judge said, "Apple in and of itself (sic last 4 words redundant) … is up more than 27% year to date."

Joe Terranova revisited his "reality check" conversation of a day ago, stating it's a "very real possibility" that AAPL and FB earnings blast the S&P over 2,400. (But for the next couple months, stock-picking is going to be more important than ever.)

Josh Brown asserted that we're in a global market, not a FANG market, and "that's your reality check."

Doc said Mark Cuban "bought the fallen angels" GPRO and TWTR and not the high fliers, then struggled to define for Judge what Mark's interest in TWTR really is.

Josh Brown said he's long TWTR, stating the last time the stock was at this level, it was because of takeover speculation.

Brown gushed about GOOGL, prompting Stephanie Link to wonder why you need to be in the "difficult story" of TWTR. Brown admitted, "That's a good point."

Link called TWTR a "very hard stock to own."

Joe claimed that "the right people" are buying TWTR and that we're witnessing an "earnings turn." But Doc said, "I didn't see an earnings turn though Joe. I saw revenue down 11%!" Joe insisted there's "stabilization."

Joe buys shoes online

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime asked Dana Telsey if retail is near a bottom.

Telsey said yes, but it doesn't apply to all areas of retail. However, one of her arguments was that the "weather's gotten better."

Judge asked about GGP. Telsey said mall REITs have "all talked about the fact that, excluding apparel, their sales have done better."

Telsey said her top picks in apparel are LULU, LB and PVH. "If I'm gonna play apparel, it's gotta be in the branded area," Telsey explained.

Telsey also hailed COH's strong comps and its "ambassador" Selena Gomez and "the social media that she gets."

Bob Pisani chatted with Tommy Hilfiger about mentoring women; Hilfiger made the case for "omnichannel" and "some sort of social media to reach out to the public."

Doc said he likes Telsey's names and added RL to the list.

Josh Brown said XRT failed at the 200-day, and "there's a ton of broken charts" within the individual names.

Joe Terranova cracked that he bought "some really good sneakers" last week from Amazon and got them a day later.

Bob Pisani fails to elicit scoop from Jeter on Marlins bid

Phil LeBeau on Tuesday's Halftime said Oscar Munoz got "hard questions" but "nothing blistering."

CNBC superfox Leslie Picker said Pershing Square's fund just got listed in London.

Judge mentioned that it's the "spectacular misses" that have "dominated" the talk about Ackman. Leslie said, "The Valeant bet was a very creative bet," while CMG was "bread and butter activism."

Jon Najarian said May 46 MDLZ calls were popular.

Stephanie Link got to gush about CMI.

Doc said THC caught a lot of people short.

Joe Terranova said he's "not happy" with CVS' price action and will re-evaluate.

Josh Brown said V and MA "might be the best business model on earth."

Brian Stutland said India data could drive copper higher later in the year. Jim Iuorio said copper's in a "broader range" from 2.45 to about 2.80 and that the dollar falling below 98.50 would send copper surging.

Joe said he likes PYPL over 50. Steph Link touted WLK. Josh Brown said not to panic if AAPL falls.

Just before the Halftime Report, Bob Pisani chatted up Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez at the BTIG event and asked Jeter about the bid to buy the Florida Marlins. "There's absolutely nothing to add to that. Uh, I think media has ran with the story," Jeter said.

[Monday, May 1, 2017]

Halftime gang trades ‘aphorism’ (sic we had to look it up) allegations

Fresh off vacation, Judge roared back to the Halftime set Monday suggesting … Ben Bernanke made "controversial" (snicker) comments earlier in the day on CNBC.

Then he rolled a clip of Ben saying, "If there's a big tax cut for example that lowers tax rates" (as opposed to those big tax cuts that raise rates).

Joe Terranova claimed Ben was "great" and deserves a "tremendous amount of credit for what he did for this economy." But Joe said it's a tech-driven services economy now that is somehow "incredibly difficult to measure," and so it'll be hard to get to a 3% rate that's "easy to measure."

Steve Weiss claimed "Joe's point is dead on. We don't know how to measure this economy."

(Translation: It seems a lot better than the numbers, so the numbers are obviously wrong though we can't begin to explain why.)

But Josh Brown asserted the "long-run correlation" between GDP and stock returns is "effectively zero" and thus an "irrelevant conversation."

Arguing like Chicago Bears fans over Mitchell Trubisky, Weiss challenged Brown as to whether GDP is a "lagging indicator" or "contemporaneous indicator." Josh said from 1900 to 2009, the U.S. GDP was 1% higher than the U.K. but the stock returns were the same. Weiss said Brown should "talk about cycles."

Jim Lebenthal said Ben is missing the "derivative effect" of "animal spirits" from the tax cuts. Judge said Ben is not "dismissive" of that but that it's only a "pop" and not sustainable. Steve Weiss questioned if happy consumers are going to buy extra cars if car purchases are already at all-time highs.

Weiss said Steve Mnuchin is wisely starting to underpromise and overdeliver.

Joe said to get to 3% under today's measurements, "you need a grand infrastructure plan" (snicker).

Weiss has the line of the day, suggests AAPL buy Cuba, ‘join Nafta’

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime Report chuckled that he's been long OCN and short OCN and made "much more money on the short side."

Judge said he remembers when people were pitching OCN "on the conference circuit."

Phil LeBeau aired a clip with Boeing's CEO (but didn't air the clip of the United Airlines dragging). Jim Lebenthal said he found BA "a little bit too pricey" at 182 but by no means would he short it.

After Donald Trump spoke, Joe said the panel's been "correct" in telling people to "stay" in financials. The funny thing is, by the end of the show, Judge was quoting Trump as talking about breaking up the big banks.

Stephen Weiss said it would take "years" to break up the big banks. Josh Brown advised, "Stop. Please, please, don't make changes to your portfolio based on things that get blurted out literally every 5 seconds of the day." (Well, it's not "literally" every 5 seconds, but …)

Joe Terranova said AAPL is going to the "beneficiary of a large repatriation" and said the "reality check" is that 5 tech companies dominate the S&P 500. (We're not sure how that's a "reality check" or anything new that people haven't already known for, oh, maybe a dozen years.)

Joe didn't seem inclined to let Jim finish a point about what matters on the AAPL conference call.

Jonathan Krinsky told Judge, "Health care actually performs very well in May," up 8 of the last 10 years.

Krinsky said the strength is "broad-based" and mentioned the XLV and halfheartedly suggested HUM and AET.

Joe got to mention SYK again.

Stephanie Link, on a video connection, pounded the table for DXC.

Josh Brown said he kinda looks at DNKN as a "utility" and suggested there's "huge expansion potential here." Jim Lebenthal noted DNKN only has 440 shops west of the Mississippi River. That's an argument we were hearing probably 5 years ago, when "Greece is the word" (sic) (Ugh) every 5 minutes on CNBC.

Steve Weiss backed NFLX on AAPL's report. Jim Lebenthal touted PFE's buyback. Josh Brown said to buy JPM "whenever algorithms sell it to you." Joe Terranova predicted a JNPR breakout over 32.

Mel uncorked a sleepy 5 p.m. Fast Money in which panelists fawned over Tesla.

Josh: No professional ‘literally’ practices the sell-in-May strategy

Jeremy Siegel joined Monday's Halftime Report and said the tech sector's P.E. is "very reasonable," but he said the market wants corporate tax reform and will be "very disappointed" if it doesn't happen this year.

Jeremy was rather sanguine about the state of the world. "I don't think Le Pen at all has a chance in the 2nd round," he said, adding he's "not fearing" a confrontation with North Korea.

Judge, back from a 2-week vacation, told the panel that the stats show that "sell in May" doesn't work in the first year of a presidency. Joe Terranova suggested it seems like a loopy strategy now. Josh Brown said no professional "literally" does that. Stephen Weiss said it's downright "crazy."

Much more from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, April 28, 2017]

The other reason is that people probably point at her and say, ‘Aren’t you on television?,’ like in ‘The Electric Horseman’

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime said SBUX's "big problem" is that mobile orders are clogging the lines at the shops.

"It's a mosh pit, you go in there, and the nightmare is, there's too many people in there," Pete explained.

Guest host Melissa Lee revealed that, when that happens, "I walk back out, and I don't go back to Starbucks for months. For months!"

Jim Lebenthal told Pete there's something "slightly Trump-esque in your explanation." Jim said at this multiple, he'd buy SBUX "down another $5."

Stephen Weiss said he doesn't think SBUX stores are "run with the same manner they were run years ago; they're a little dirtier."

Joe said if SBUX gets the international right, "then it's a 65-70-dollar stock easily in the next 18, in the next 18 months."

Julia Boorstin says ‘sh---er’ (sic) on 5 p.m. Fast Money

Joe Terranova on Friday's Halftime Report called passive investing "the next bubble," stating, "I just believe that over the next couple of months, you are going to be, have to be more active … volatility will be elevated over the next couple of months," plus there's a "dislocation" coming in energy.

Yet earlier, he's talking about how great the tech names are; trust us, if volatility elevates over the next couple months, you don't want to be in AMZN or FB.

Larry Kudlow paid a visit to the panel and called Trump's tax proposal "great," but "I think it's gonna take a while."

Joe said Trump "probably" made a mistake (snicker) putting health care before tax reform.

Steve Weiss quibbled with Larry over whether the repatriation is a 1-time "amnesty" or a permanent policy. Weiss rightly questioned the description; Kudlow seemed to argue that it's both.

As for the cost of tax cuts, "These will pay for themselves over time," Larry asserted.

Pete Najarian said July 48 ORCL calls were popular. (Maybe they're going to buy LNKD from MSFT.)

Jim Lebenthal said of QCOM, "This stock is poised asymmetrically to rise when they settle with Apple, which they will."

Jim said "GM is the Rodney Dangerfield stock of the stock mark-." (Impressively, he didn't explain what the Rodney Dangerfield reference means this time.)

Jim told Weiss to come to his farm; "Maybe a tree will drop — on you."

Weiss said XOM had a "cautious macro outlook."

Jim is "not too enthused" about CVX or Big Oil.

Joe Terranova called PSX a "nice, stable play." (Zzzzzzzzzz.) Aren't we entering elevated volatility?

Joe said he thinks CVS is "beginning to recover."

Weiss said there's gonna be "euphoria" in FB next week.

Reporting on Jack Dorsey's stock purchase on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, CNBC's Julia Boorstin said, "Now sh---er, Twitter shares went up about 1% on this news."

Funny how the $26 billion acquisition never is mentioned during the constant MSFT bull calls

Friday's Halftime Report skidded into the weekend with almost an entire hour devoted to tiresome fawning over Silicon Valley.

Leading off, Joe Terranova said AMZN is over 2% weighting in the S&P. So if you're a money manager, "You have to own Amazon."

Stephen Weiss mocked Jim Lebenthal for touting "old tech."

Jim said AMZN is no value stock, but as for GOOGL, if you're a value manager, "you do have to own this stock." (Really. Aren't there other stocks to own?)

Guest host Melissa Lee kind of obnoxiously asked Pete Najarian, who glowed about AMZN, if he's "worried" about MSFT encroaching on AMZN in the cloud, which of course only gives Pete carte blanche to talk about how great MSFT is. Pete said AMZN is "probably not" worried about that, and then Pete took the opportunity to gush about MSFT and Satya Nadella (without saying a word about LinkedIn).

Joe said he's waiting for a pullback in AAPL and AMZN while acknowledging, "I may not get it." (But volatility is going to be elevated, and stock picking is really going to matter.)

Paul Meeks said all the big cloud players will have a "nice run."

But at Amazon, "The international business is still losing money," Meeks said.

Pete said he sold his FB calls, regretted it, then bought some more. Oh. Joy.

Ari Wald the QQQ is "breaking out of a yearlong range." Even. More. Joy.

[Thursday, April 27, 2017]

2 exceptional arguments for and against airline overbooking

It was one of the best conversations in recent Halftime/Fast Money history, even if guest host Sully relied on Doc for the heavy question lifting.

It started when CNBC's Phil LeBeau on Thursday's Halftime mentioned new United policies for bumping passengers.

That prompted airline watcher Jamie Baker of JPMorgan to claim, "Overbooking is pro-consumer. OK, so let me make that, you know, patently clear here. If you eliminate overbooking, it drives higher ticket prices. Overbooking helps keep ticket prices low."

Then, to emphasize the point, "Make no mistake: Overbooking keeps airfares low."

Jon Najarian complained that if the seats are already sold, and nearly all of them will be non-refundable, why in the world is the airline overbooking; the seats are already paid for.

If they didn't overbook, "They're walking away from revenue," Baker asserted.

Doc insisted that most seats are non-refundable; "it's a real small number" that aren't. But Baker said seats are "perishable" and stated, "If overbooking were legislated out, if it was regulated away, revenue trends would initially go lower, and then ticket prices would have to be increased. … That would come out of vacationer's pocket."

Otherwise, Baker downgraded AAL to neutral and 52 target and told Sully it's in part on the labor deal; he said part of his rating is "simply a modeling exercise," but the American deal makes the unions think "you can come back mid-contract, ask for whatever you want."

Incredibly, producers didn't run the clip of Dr. Dao being dragged.

Evidently everyone involved in ‘Betting on Zero’ didn’t know Ackman (but might’ve been on the rowing team in some cases)

John Fichthorn on Thursday's Halftime Report said there's some "seriously leveraged car loans" on Ford's balance sheet, contending that Ford finance company earnings fall $120 million for every 1% drop in used-car prices. He said the finance arm is 20% of F.

"We have borrowed as many sales from the future as we can," Fichthorn said.

Sully, to his credit, did an excellent job of summarizing the effect of a 10% drop in used-car prices.

Fichthorn also suggests shorting USNA. He said he "helped back" the movie "Betting on Zero," though "I didn't know Ackman at the time."

He said China is 50% of USNA's exposure and that he "discovered in the Chinese press (snicker) recently" that Usana had "13 people suspended and 3 arrested." (See, Beijing knows how to deal with stuff like Wells Fargo's fake accounts.)

Fichthorn also said he's been identifying a Canadian housing "bubble" for 3-4 years, "and they all go, ah, no, it's different up here, you guys don't get it." But Fichthorn contends, "The mortgage application fraud is maybe more pervasive than it was in the U.S."

Halftime gang has forgotten AMZN’s mammoth plunge just a year ago

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said of AMZN and GOOGL, "You're hoping for one thing: You're hoping for an earnings miss."

Jim Lebenthal, who had a quiet show, said he "generally" agrees with Joe but cautioned that if Amazon has a big miss and people decide to "value it on any reasonable metric, that will scare the heck out of this market."

Jim said he doesn't think AMZN could fall 20% Thursday night, but "at some point, valuation will matter."

Josh Brown agreed with Jim about the AMZN multiple but said, "It's been 20 years, nobody's cared."

Well, actually, they have. Barely more than a year ago, AMZN traded 690 on Dec. 30, 2015, and by Feb. 8 was 475.

That's a 31% drop in 6 weeks.

So basically, you want to own it in bull markets ... and maybe not so much during corrections.

Anyway, Josh said AMZN is expected to have 22% revenue gain and cautioned that "anything short of that" will hurt the stock.

Jon Najarian said AMZN has been a "fabulous" stock to be long via options. He said he can "bank some big coin right now" for selling AMZN puts at lower prices.

Pete Najarian thundered that "Microsoft is important!"

Josh said he likes both AMGN and BMY, the former being a darling and the latter looking like "somebody dropped a piano on it a few months back."

Brown rightly said, albeit with hyperbole, that trading stocks around what Donald Trump was tweeting was the "most ludicrous thing I've ever heard."

Doc pointed out Kourtney Gibson's great call a day ago on the KSU slide.

Joe said health care has "potential for repatriation" (snicker) and has high EPS growth; he singled out SYK and "Medtronics" (sic plural), asserting "health care's clearly working."

Sears Holdings sure was
a great investment

Guest host Brian Sullivan on Thursday's Halftime brought in CNBC superfox Ylan Mui, who reported on the interesting debate over the federal deductibility of state and local taxes.

Robert Frank explained some interesting numbers about the super rich, though he used averages, so someone who makes $100 million probably stands to have a larger deduction than someone who only makes $1 million.

Shaggy-haired Rick Rieder said he thinks the Fed will hike in June and September and then talk about reducing the balance sheet. Rieder said the demand for fixed income continues to be "profound."

Jeff Kilburg mentioned the 48-54 crude range again without really saying anything. Jim Iuorio said "56 to 48 is the long-term trend," and he thinks risk/reward suggests buying it rather than selling now.

Pete Najarian said May 22 calls in SNAP were popular. He said he likes the name and bought into it. Doc endorsed that trade, then said INFN June 10 calls were popular.

Joe Terranova offered TER as a final trade. Jim Lebenthal said INTC again. Doc said DIS. Pete said UNP and the rails. John Fichthorn suggested SRG; the only thing about that, we've seen faces temporarily ripped off shorting Eddie Lampert plays even if the calls are right longer term.

[Wednesday, April 26, 2017]

Weiss would’ve ‘pulled an Aaron Hernandez’ if he’d been stuck in X on Wednesday

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Stephen Weiss said he dabbled a day ago in X and "got stopped out in about literally in a, in a heartbeat; a painful stop because I lost money. Uh, thank God, because I would've been, uh, I would've pulled an Aaron Hernandez, the part where he hung himself, not the other part, today."

Later, Weiss said, "at some point you buy this again," but he's staying away, "I learned my lesson."

Weiss said he bought SCHW, and he sold LULU, "because I hated the way it was acting."

Weiss touted OA again.

Sarat Sethi said BA was experiencing "a little profit-taking." He touted UTX.

Jon Najarian said someone was selling June 44 puts in MS.

Doc also said his GD calls went from $3 to almost $8; "we'll have pizza after the show because of it." But on the other hand, Doc said of STX, "I was not long puts into it unfortunately," and he's not selling puts in it now because he thinks it's got lower to go.

Kourtney Gibson said to hold PG and buy more on dips such as Wednesday's, though she hadn't bought that dip yet.

Mel said Steve Wynn talked about how things in China are "normalizing," which Mel interprets as people there are being "corrupt again."

Weiss: Twitter little more than
‘a hundred thousand trolls’

CNBC contributor Ross Levinsohn on Wednesday's Halftime Report described TWTR as "one of the most important companies in the media space and the tech space."

That didn't sit well with Steve Weiss, who told Levinsohn, "If this company went away, uh, maybe the president would care and about a hundred thousand trolls out there sleeping in the basement on their mother's couch laying around in their underwear thinking, 'Who can I hate today?' If it went away, nobody would care."

Levinsohn explained, "It delivers breaking, real-time, inf- news, breaking news, real-time information."

"But so do so many other-" Weiss said.

"It's an important tech media company," Levinsohn insisted, taking issue that only 100,000 trolls would care.

Otherwise, Levinsohn said TWTR did its best job recently of managing expectations. He said the good part of the report is that MAUs grew, but the last 5 quarters have only produced "really small" growth.

Levinsohn also mentioned the "huge stock-based comp in that company."

Jon Najarian mentioned "an 11% decline year over year in advertising revenue" and questioned how the company can survive with that number. "Part of that problem is tied to leadership," said Levinsohn, citing the loss of Adam Bain.

Doc called TWTR a no-touch. Kourtney Gibson said that when AT&T went down, "there was nowhere else on the Internet" except Twitter to get the information.

Weiss: ‘Too soon’
to make tax-overhaul trades

John Harwood on Wednesday's Halftime Report said it's "highly doubtful" that the White House can get the business tax rate down to 15%.

Sarat Sethi suggested domestic-focused companies such as refiners, utilities and regional banks would benefit most from Trump's tax plan.

Jon Najarian suggested "any of the online brokers" that are domestic.

Doc said we might get a "2-pronged" approach that will include repatriation (snicker). Sethi said if repatriation is just a "1-time" move rather than permanent, stocks won't get a bump.

Kourtney Gibson suggested UNP, CVS and even FB as having a lot of U.S.-centric revenue.

Stephen Weiss halfheartedly predicted a "pop" but said there's a "long way" to go with "lots of issues to be resolved" before the latest White House plan comes to fruition.

"It's too soon" to play these names, Weiss said, adding there are "countless" stocks with 38% tax rates.

Sarat Sethi said if Trump "gets something done, the market rips," but he predicted a pullback if not.

Kourtney Gibson said she'd like to buy AMZN and NFLX on a dip.

Doc suggested selling puts to play a market like this that's ripping.

Doc said that if there's an executive order withdrawing from Nafta, that would be bad for Ford, GM and Chrysler.

Kourtney Gibson suggested now's your chance to get into KSU, "assuming this does not happen" in regards to Nafta.

Panelists scoff at stock that has actually made huge money in 2017

Nobody on Wednesday's Halftime panel admitted owning CMG, and in fact, they seemed to be taking pleasure in not being long. (In the category of, "Why want to make money.")

Kourtney Gibson said, "I have not stepped foot back in one since the issues."

"The valuation's out of sight," grumbled Steve Weiss.

Sarat Sethi said he'd be "careful" to buy CMG now.

Jeff Kilburg predicted crude stays above 50 "short term." Anthony Grisanti said the 200-day in crude was tested and held, so "we should go higher from here."

Kourtney Gibson's final trade was TWLO. Doc touted AAL on unusual activity. Sarat Sethi said he's looking at LUV. Weiss said TBT.

[Tuesday, April 25, 2017]

Kevin O’Leary actually says Wells Fargo should change its name to Ograf Bank

WFC defender in chief Stephanie Link on Tuesday's Halftime Report refused to tell guest host Mel how she voted her shares.

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary said WFC should change its name because "it is so hated." Link said it still has "a good brand" and plenty of customers.

"A lot of bad news is priced in," Link contended.

Josh Brown said WFC committed identity theft "on an industrial scale."

Brown advised, "Get rid of the people that allowed for a boiler room to be operated coast to coast" and then asked Link, "What does a board member at Wells Fargo do."

Link responded, "You know what, I'm not gonna go there, I'm not." (Because she has no idea.)

Mike Mayo bolsters credentials as worst cliche-machine on CNBC

Mike Mayo on Tuesday's Halftime Report said C had an "upbeat shareholder meeting," but "it was a tale of 2 cities" (groan) (oh my) for shareholders.

Mayo said Michael E. O'Neill "seemed to support" a double-digit return on tangible equity by 2019 (snicker), which according to Mayo is the best of times. But Mayo noted they also said "their return on equity has fallen short," which is the worst of times.

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary wondered, why do "they suck" on return on assets.

Mayo said one reason cited by management is because they've "been investing in credit cards, Mexico, equities, their processing business, overall technologies." And what about personal privacy and noise statutes. (That's for you movie fans.)

Josh Brown said investments aren't Citi's problem, but it's "the divestments that are killing them," specifying Smith Barney. "They missed the boat on wealth management," Brown said.

"It's the worst financial-services stock in the world," said Grandpa Kevin O'Leary.

Mayo said that over 3 years, long C is an "easy call."

Trump’s trade battle manages to unite Canadian rivals

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary on Tuesday's Halftime Report said if Trump conducts a milk war with Canada, "You will wipe out millions of farmers."

Jon Najarian made a very cogent observation, pointing out that WY should've popped on this news but didn't, "because they were expecting a much bigger tariff out of Canada." (He also mentioned Georgia Pacific, but we don't think that one's publicly traded.)

Mel brought in Chrystia Freeland, a former regular on "The McLaughlin Group," who apparently had spare time for this program while in Berlin.

Freeland demanded to know who made the pro-Canadian argument and was told it was O'Leary. "OK, Kevin, well, we are on different sides of the political divide, but I agree with what you just said," Freeland said.

Freeland said that between trading partners as large as the U.S. and Canada (and could've said on business TV programs), there are "irritants."

Josh Brown actually stated, "Trump with every passing day is becoming more pragmatic." Note: He didn't call Trump "an asset to the country."

Joe Terranova said "the homebuilders will be totally fine."

Kevin thinks European banks didn’t do anything on Monday

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said he continues to buy into the rally and talked about how people aggressively bought HD calls and how there are areas of the market people are "chasing" and catching.

Joe Terranova opined, "Since last Thursday, it has been once again a cyclical story."

Kevin O'Leary, whose assignment is to trash the banks once a week, said Europe has had a "phenomenal tape," and that's where he sees the "biggest upside."

Grandpa O'Leary actually claimed, "Everything moved in Europe except financials" on Monday, which drew a strong rebuke from Stephanie Link, who said they "absolutely outperformed yesterday."

Josh Brown asserted, "We're not just talking about an S&P rally," adding, "The Russell's up 5% in 7 days."

Dennis Gartman doesn’t like to own the miners because you never know when you’re gonna wake up and learn a mine got flooded

"I'm never gonna own miners again," grumbled Grandpa Kevin O'Leary on Tuesday's Halftime, indicating GLD is the way to play gold. Joe Terranova agreed.

Dom Chu said Einhorn made 1% last quarter. (Good enough for a News Alert.)

Stephanie Link predicted the CAT momentum continues. (But she didn't opine on what its board members do.)

Josh Brown said the MCD breakout is one of the most "well-telegraphed" you'll see in the market.

Joe Terranova predicted KO "moves sideways" and said PEP and DPS are better and that MNST is "clearly the best."

O'Leary said he likes MMM because of the "taint" of trade wars.

Mel sympathizes with analyst for making enough headlines to merit TV appearance

Guest host Missy Lee on Tuesday's Halftime asked Aaron Kessler why AMZN's valuation matters now enough to prompt a downgrade.

Kessler said, "We think the risk/reward's a little more balanced here," and he'd like to see better margins for the stock to move higher.

Joe Terranova asked Kessler where's the price target and whether he'd call it a buy if it fell to 800. "We don't have price targets on market perform stocks," Kessler said, though he offered the "high 700 range" as the bottom.

Kessler said about half of Prime users are international.

Mel actually said Kessler's downgrade "must have been a difficult call to make."

Josh Brown said analysts have "never ever gotten ahead of what this thing has been capable of."

Joe Terranova got Steph Link to say she bought AMZN at "690." Which is really helpful for determining whether it's a buy at 900. #bragtrades

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary questioned what AMZN's price would be with a 20 multiple, a fair question. Everyone including Mel scoffed that it's never traded at that multiple before.

Doc said someone "aggressively" bought SBUX 60 calls and (oh joy) sold the 62 calls.

Jim Iuorio said he's "closer" to being a buyer of crude. Scott Nations said if crude goes much lower, it'll be a technical "double whammy."

[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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