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."

[Monday, April 24, 2017]

Weiss: FIT’s a fad

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime Report mentioned the woman flying American Airlines landing the same lawyer as the guy dragged off the United Airlines flight.

"You don't wanna call it ambulance-chasing, but certainly it's … airplane-chasing is another way that you could put it," Joe said.

He said to look at the "niche regional type of carriers" in the space.

Joe said he likes KEY; he also said he liked RF but got stopped out after its "disappointing" post-earnings performance because he's playing these names by technicals.

Rob Sechan said he prefers "large integrateds" among banks.

Stephen Weiss sees "no reason" to be long FIT, which he dismissed as a "fad."

Jim Lebenthal said HAS is a "very good stock," but he'd like to buy it lower.

Josh Brown said he's "hoping" AMZN has a "quote-unquote disappointing quarter" so he could buy it.

Kari Firestone explained she just bought SHW "because it does not have the level of disruption that is going on in the retail sector." Firestone pointed out that paint can't fly and thus can't be co-opted by Amazon.

Kari Firestone and Josh Brown both pounded the table for SCHW; Firestone pointing out that the company's biggest margins are in sweeping the cash balances into its banks and Brown saying that accounts at Schwab are "extraordinarily sticky."

Joe Terranova said GS has been "thrown out as a name" that would love to acquire the Schwab customer base.

Mel welcomed Evan Sohn, who spoke about the origins of the Ira Sohn conference. With Sohn was Marc Grow, a previous conference winner who said he's staying short DXCM. Mel wanted to bring up a chart to show the stock slipping after Grow spoke, but it didn't happen until the end of the interview.

Jim Lebenthal said he's long GOOGL, and if it falls, he's buying more.

Joe touted AMG.

Leslie Picker reported on what may be the most boring board fight ever, Buffalo Wild Wings.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, in to-die-for orange, said Monday's gains were nice, but "a lot is still going on" that makes her "very skeptical of this rally," including "potentially North Korea (snicker)."

Gorjus Deirdre Bosa, in new hairstyle, reported on John Legere's interview.

Josh: Market doesn’t care who wins in France, only wants election over

Joe Terranova led off Monday's Halftime stating the word "cyclicals" 6 times that staying with financials is the "right play," but the question is whether you try global cyclicals rather than domestic cyclicals.

He told Mel that the answer to that is "Don't leave the financials."

Jim Lebenthal said cyclicals are dependent on the Trump agenda and contended Monday's rally is based on "kind of a ho-hum piece of news."

Mohamed El-Erian said the election "avoided a significant tail risk" because the 2nd round of the France election isn't far right vs. far left.

Rob Sechan said "pollsters finally got it right," and he sees a "75% probability" that the French election matches pollsters' predictions.

In his first of 3 fights in the opening minutes, Stephen Weiss said that unlike Sechan, he doesn't like energy.

Atul Lele said he thinks the global expansion can continue a couple more years. But Weiss said the great burst of growth that Lele is talking about is "off a very low base" and is still "very low growth."

Joe questioned how the 10-year can be at 2.26 if there's all this growth. Rob Sechan said there's no "inflation impulse," and it's "Goldilocks."

Josh Brown said "the biggest story in the world right now" is the all-time highs in the MSCI world indexes. "The market would've done exactly what it's doing right now if the poll went the other way. If the election went the other way … What we like is when these events are in the rear-view mirror," Brown said.

Brown asserted that "the most money is made when things are horrendous but getting better before people start to realize."

Brown added, "I am the only person on this desk talking about, you must be global last year, you must buy Europe."

"That's absolutely not true," Weiss said about 4 or 5 times.

"All I heard from guests, from panelists, from people on Twitter, Europe is terrible," Brown insisted.

"We invested in European hedge funds before you even got on an airplane (and) knew where Europe was," snapped Weiss.

More from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, April 21, 2017]

Grasso: Buy Le Pen breakout

Steve Grasso on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said that if Marine Le Pen pulls away in the polls, "I would guess that that's a buying opportunity."

Grasso said the French election isn't "a big enough event" to derail U.S. stocks. But Karen Finerman, opined, "I think it's bigger than Brexit," suggesting Le Pen's strength is a "terrible sign for the euro."

Tim Seymour mentioned all the "conniptions" they used to have on Fast Money about Greece. (Including that entire show a few years ago when there were no commercials and MCC was live in Athens explaining that people in the crowd were pointing green lasers.)

Meanwhile, Karen Finerman noted the "comeback" of SHLD, but "I still wouldn't touch it," it's a "dinosaur." Steve Grasso, the contrarian of this program, said you can't short SHLD but that it's time to buy the brick-and-mortar retailers for a trade.

Tim Seymour shrugged, "There's just way too many stores out there." He called SHLD a "burning house."

Josh suggests people who like COST maybe wouldn’t like it so much if they didn’t have to buy a membership

On Friday's Halftime Report, CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera explained that, of the 4 leading French candidates, the markets like Emmanuel Macron and Francois Fillon.

Josh Brown said he wouldn't be so sure what the market reaction will be to the various French candidates.

Kate Moore likes European stocks "from a fundamental perspective."

Jon Najarian said volatility was rising, indicating "people are nervous," after the latest France terror attack.

Steph Link predicted "better traffic trends" at COST. Josh Brown said buying a Costco membership "kind of obligates you" to like the store and questioned how many people would like it if Amazon bought BJ's.

Josh called MCD "not a difficult stock to hold," but Sully tossed Josh's France point back at him, questioning if everyone's on the same side of the trade.

Regarding the Bernstein short call on K, Doc said, "70 to me looks like a pretty interesting area," so he'd be interested in selling puts. Josh said he's on the other side, there's an "apocalypse" coming in the packaged-goods space.

Doc said HD June 155 calls were popular.

Doc said TMUS June 70 calls were popular.

Josh Brown admitted that GE is "like watching paint dry."

Sarat Sethi said HON is "the new GE, the GE of the '90s" and said you can hold it for 5-10 years.

Steph Link admitted she made a "terrible call" being long MAT, though she's been "trimming it."

Doc said he's in HAL on unusual activity.

Josh predicted SCHW will "get back into rally mode." Link trumpeted SWK. Sarat Sethi predicted rates will rise after the French vote, helping banks. Doc thinks people are "aggressively accumulating" BAC.

Sully says Celtics
are ‘up 2-nothing’

Dom Chu on Friday's Halftime made the case that AAPL, GOOGL, MSFT, AMZN and FB are carrying the market.

That prompted guest host Sully to turn to Doc, "a former professional football player," to handle Sully's analogy about NBA teams in which Sully said the Boston Celtics are "up 2-nothing" (sic).

Doc said he called the FB "gift" at 114, which doesn't really have anything to do with the subject. Then he dropped the head-scratcher:

"That team is like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the stocks we saw up there, back in the '80s, when they were just winning, you know, one for the thumb that they talked about because they had the 4 Super Bowl rings," Doc said. "I think you're gonna see more of that, uh, from those stocks."


Sadly, or maybe gloriously, the Steel Curtain peaked in January 1980 (actually slightly before) and, after that point, had exactly one month of decent football left before a sad crumbling that took decades to overcome.

Yes, in autumn of 1980, people talked about "one for the thumb," then they stopped talking about it by November. And the Curtain never won the one for the thumb; that was the Roethlisberger/Polamalu/Ward/Bettis gang.


What happened to Carl’s
Day of Reckoning? (cont’d)

Sully on Friday's Halftime said Paul Tudor Jones is saying that "central bankers should be terrified" about stock prices.

Jon Najarian said "there are reasons to be worried" because of "what has not happened with the administration."

Stephanie Link said the market as a whole isn't expensive, but there are "pockets."

Josh Brown said that back to 1926, the market drops 20% "roughly every 2½ years, so this is not really a bold prediction" by Jones.

Brown knocked the latest overvalued calculations. "There are always red flags," Brown said. "Most people won't see it coming."

Sarat Sethi said, "This is the most hated bull market rally we've had for 5 years."

Gene Todd told Sully, "I'm not really worried." Todd said it makes sense to have exposure to fixed income.

"I think Emmanuel Macron will win," Todd said, but he's probably "risk off" in Europe.

More from Friday's Halftime/Fast Money later.

[Thursday, April 20, 2017]

BWLD 450 (snicker)

We've kinda wondered what, exactly, is wrong at BWLD.

Apparently everything, according to Mick McGuire, who once again Thursday made his activist case on the Halftime Report.

The specific faults were these: "Traffic, comp store sales, restaurant-level operating margins, returns on capital, guest experience, technology implementations."

It seems like McGuire just wants the board to have an "ownership orientation."

And, based on his comments over multiple appearances, more franchise-owned restaurants.

McGuire said he thinks 4 new board members could work with other board members to find a new CEO.

Leslie Picker read off the company's response about how it's tried to appease Marcato. But McGuire, grasping to explain what exactly is going wrong, called that "window dressing around the edges that still fails to uh you know, really to address, uh, you know, the wide range of, of, of issues that, that need, that need to be focused on."

Guest host Sully asked a good question, why does McGuire think his team can succeed in the crowded restaurant space. McGuire said he's not a restaurant expert, but he's got 3 nominees who are. "I don't think that there's any one quick fix," McGuire admitted.

McGuire claims his criticism has been shared by "employees" among other parties. (Um, not sure the cooks are really debating the merits of Marcato's activist plan.)

Joe Terranova actually said McGuire makes a "very compelling argument" about what the company "can do going forward" (sic last 2 words redundant) and asked what the shares are worth. McGuire restated the question and came up with 450, but only if the company can hit the "value drivers," including margin improvement and the "highly franchised model" that was the signature call of the last appearance.

Steve Weiss told McGuire his target is "pretty hefty" and that the stock hasn't been cheap.

Weiss sounds like he negotiated the VIRT-KCG deal

In a choppy, statement-filled episode of the Halftime Report on Thursday, Steve Weiss made an even stronger case for the Virtu-KCG deal than Virtu chief Doug Cifu did.

Weiss said in this particular deal, "1 + 1 = closer to 3."

Cifu praised the KCG franchise and its "access to the marketplace." Joe Terranova asked about volatility. Cifu said, "The opportunity is, when margins are getting squeezed, it's a time to bring efficiency to the marketplace."

Weiss mentioned the "constant pressure" on active management and actually suggested Virtu might be putting "the big investment banks" at a disadvantage. Cifu admitted, "We need them as much as they need us."

The big question in signing steel orders is whether company execs or union chiefs get the pen

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Thursday's Halftime Report interviewed Wolfgang Schauble, who insisted Germany isn't sticking it to anyone.

Then viewers got a long saga about steel dumping. Wilbur Ross told Sully, "We don't contemplate absolutely prohibiting the imported steel," rather, they want to "change the arithmetic."

Steve Weiss told Mario Longhi that the unions have "driven up the cost of doing business," and even if Chinese steel is limited from entering the U.S., "they'll just dump it into the rest of the world and limit your ability to export."

Longhi said X takes a "Carnegie way approach to making our company more efficient" and said technology that can "track everything that moves around the world in a much more timely manner" can help identify the manipulation that's happening.

Jim Lebenthal said Thursday's steel action is "late in coming."

Jeff Kilburg said you have to "trade the range" in crude from 47 to 54. Anthony Grisanti said he doesn't think crude will break 50.

Joe Terranova said the stock market was making a "cyclical move" on Thursday.

Jon Najarian said HAL 48.50 calls were popular and that buyers were selling the 50.50 calls.

Joe touted PNC. Jim Lebenthal said he may add to GOOG after earnings. Weiss touted LULU and Doc touted VOYA for unusual activity.

[Wednesday, April 19, 2017]

Isn’t it a tautological truth that if there are no levers, doesn’t that mean they’ve been pulled and therefore there won’t be a recession?

Guest host Melissa Lee on Wednesday's Halftime clarified with Steve Liesman that Eric Rosengren is talking about reducing the Fed's balance sheet while the rate hikes are actually occurring.

(At least, that was the observation that was made and confirmed a few times.)

Stephen Weiss opined, "I think the market's saying, go ahead and do it."

Weiss said it's gotta be in the back of people's minds, "if we go into recession, there are no levers for the Fed to pull."

Jim Lebenthal said it's a "tautological truth" (we had to look that up) that it's easier for the Fed to tighten by reducing the balance sheet "politically" than by rising rates.

Guy Adami: GS is ‘major double top’ going back to 2007

Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he still owns LUK and BAC, though he "did pare back on Citi."

Weiss said banks are "swimming upstream" against rates.

Kari Firestone gushed about SCHW, calling it "really on a runway" for gaining market share.

Guest host Missy Lee sounded disheartened that GS wasn't rebounding on the MS report. Josh Brown suggested GS' quarter was "probably idiosyncratic."

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, in tricolor top, said she thinks there's more to go in the AXP price wars.

Guy Adami said there's a "major I think double-top now in Goldman Sachs, going back to Halloween of 2007 and the recent high of 253, so, technically, it does not bode well for the space."

Karen admitted, "I have big bank exposure. Um, hasn't been great the last month for sure, 6 weeks."

Kari Firestone on Halftime touted BX and mentioned the partnership overhang and the K-1s that nobody wants.

KO, IBM, exciting

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the Credit Suisse's analyst's $49 KO target, if realized, would be "exactly equal to the last 5 years' return in the stock price on Coca-Cola."

Jim said you can have the KO dividend, but he's not going to get excited about the stock.

Josh Brown though shrugged that KO's a decent stock; it's "going up and to the right."

Kari Firestone said if you're long KO, "you're buying a nice yield," but you're "really praying that they make it work for you."

Stephen Weiss said the KO analyst is only making a "relative value call" in the analyst's sphere.

The fact guests aren’t being asked if they’ll still fly United indicates all of them still will

In the best line of the day, Steve Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime said there should be a "premium" for IBM's "consistency" in posting falling revenue.

Weiss said he wouldn't buy the stock; it's "perennial cheap."

Josh Brown said the 200-day no longer holds in IBM.

Jim Lebenthal said IBM's "main" business is artificial intelligence (snicker), but "they can't make any money from it."

Kari Firestone said "part of the reason" IBM has been climbing in the last year is the buyback, and perhaps it should've bought CRM instead.

But Jon Najarian said he made "a nice chunk of money already" selling IBM puts.

Toni Sacconaghi, who's had IBM as a market perform for 6 years and has a 140-150 target (for those stock market thrill-seekers), said in some ways, IBM appears cheap, but there's debt, and "the cash flow has benefitted from a number of one-time items," so it's actually too expensive.

It was unclear if Sacconaghi will fly United; Mel didn't ask.

Josh Brown touted INTC and MU and called NVDA "such a great risk/reward."

Josh suggests making
FAST money

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he would "strongly recommend" against buying NAVI, though he said the company would make more money as the 10-year yield rises. (That kind of applies to a lot of names.)

Josh Brown endorsed FAST.

Steve Weiss said he owns CCI, calling it a "phenomenal story."

Kari Firestone said RARE is worth "at least a hundred dollars."

Jon Najarian likes Cowen's SWN call.

Doc said KSS May 42.50 calls were being bought "with abandon." Doc said he's probably going to be long LULU until the May options expire. Weiss said LULU has a great product that can't be "disintermediated" by the Internet.

Karen Finerman lamented GE's P.E. ratio. Phil LeBeau spent a week rattling off United Airlines press releases before being sent to China, where surely people have been asking him, "This Dao fellow — did he insult the party?"

Bill O’Reilly is the final trade on a CNBC program

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Brian Stutland told gorgeous Seema Mody in hunter green that profit taking and lower volatility are pushing gold lower.

Scott Nations said 1,260 and 1,300 are the key gold levels on either side; "we're in technical no-man's land."

Jim Lebenthal said the bullish HAL call "makes sense as a trade." Steve Weiss said RRC has been "an absolute pig." Jon Najarian said he's "not excited about the sector" but that you could take a shot with RRC with risk capital. (Or you could sell some IBM puts.)

Josh Brown said he's been long XLE for a while. (Zzzzzzz.)

Josh said EBAY is a "breakout in progress." Kari Firestone and Brown like V.

Weiss' final trade was ADC, "one of the best-managed REITs out there." Jim Lebenthal suggested INTC, Josh said NVDA, and Doc said SKX. Kari Firestone's final trade was for Fox to dump Bill O'Reilly for Steve Bannon.

[Tuesday, April 18, 2017]

Karen: Everyone was apologizing on United conference call

Guy Adami, apparently disheartened by his Goldman Sachs bullishness, predicted on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that GS touches 200.

David Seaburg said that until the 10-year turns around, banks can't go up. Seaburg said if GS gets to $200, buy it. He also said to buy JPM at $80.

Karen Finerman said she bought GS calls on Tuesday, because "I just thought this was sort of overdone," and "such a big penalty" seems too much.

Finerman listened to the United Airlines call. "Every time anyone answered a question, they would start with an apology over the incident of last week," Finerman said. "I thought the conference call coordinator was going to apologize for the incident last week."

Pete Najarian again said United has lousy management and wondered, "How many times do we have to hear 'em apologize."

Karen questioned the repetition we're getting not just from United Airlines, but the White House. "I think it's just talk, actually. I mean, I don't know, every day we see these things come out, we got a, you know, great tax plan just, just around the corner," Finerman said. "How many times can you say that."

Finerman also questioned the latest executive order. "Is this a policy? It's just a press release. What's the difference between an executive order and a press release," Finerman asked, finding no takers.

Pete: United Airlines management ‘is the worst there is potentially in the entire industry’

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report argued Warren Buffett's presence as a reason for being long UAL.

"I like the stock, I think you do buy it on these dips," Najarian said.

But at the end of the show, Najarian admitted he only took the bull case for the sake of taking the bull case and stated, "I don't own this stock at all."

Pete Najarian said Buffett bought other airlines too, and, "I think the United management team itself (sic redundant) is the worst there is potentially in the entire industry."

That may come as a surprise to Brad Gerstner, the Altimeter activist investor who told Judge on April 20, 2016, after his UAL board deal that "We think, you know, when you look back on this industry 5 years from now, uh, the Harvard Business School case studies are gonna have to be rewritten on how industries evolve and change."

Lesson 1: Don't drag a guy from flights to Louisville.

Pete likes DAL and LUV and HA (yep) and JBLU better than UAL.

Joe Terranova bluntly said to stay away from UAL "for a very long time."

Steph Link said UAL is a "battleground stock." She likes DAL better.

Guest host Melissa Lee, who looked dynamite in maroon top and new hairstyle and whose strength is stating reporters' names with a certain oomph better than other CNBC hosts ("Thanks very much. Jackie. DeAngelis. ... Aditi. Roy. ... "), said she used air quotes while stating Pete gets the "trophy" for winning the UAL argument even though the air quotes occurred offscreen and viewers didn't see them.

Mel is stunning in maroon but misses opportunity to ask Mark Mahaney if he’ll fly United; instead asks about ‘implications’ of Facebook Live murder

Mark Mahaney on Tuesday's Halftime, handling a satellite delay with Mel fairly well, said Reed Hastings made "surprising comments" about no longer evaluating NFLX on subscriber growth.

Mahaney said Netflix reported kind of a "push quarter" but that it has "momentum" in international subscriber growth.

Jon Najarian, somehow thinking Mahaney is tracking unusual activity, asked Mahaney about the stock moving $3 while options suggested it would be a $12 move. Mahaney said it "probably" means the market is looking long term.

Mahaney said he doubted FB would launch a new catalyst for the stock at Tuesday's meeting.

Regarding the Facebook Live murder, Mahaney said the Internet is the "regulatory Wild West," but at least in Facebook and Snapchat, users' friends serve as a "social censor," while anything goes on Youtube.

In a good slam (with professional courtesy), Doc said Michael Pachter (haven't seen him for a while) gave NFLX a 73 target. Doc encouraged Pachter, "Time to get off of this one and move on."

Joe Terranova said the average NFLX price target has "jumped $35 since January," which makes him skeptical of the stock.

GS trades almost as if they dragged someone off a plane

One of the Halftime/Fast Money refrains, basically since inception, is that Goldman Sachs is always just about to crush the next quarter.

That wasn't exactly the case on Tuesday's Halftime, as none of the panelists were plunging into GS.

"I think you gotta wait on Goldman" said Pete Najarian, adding the rest of the banks are a "good opportunity."

But Stephanie Link asserted, "I think the group will take a pause until rates can stabilize."

Wilfred Frost, who has emerged as CNBC's go-to host on the big banks, contended, "That doesn't have to mean it means an unwind in the banks trade more broadly" (sic grammar).

Frost said Morgan Stanley is Goldman Sachs' "nearest comparitor (sic)."

"Well I think it's Goldman's Fax- uh, Sachs, specifically obviously that is concerning," offered Joe Terranova. "And I don't think you buy Goldman Sachs right here. I think the franchise, you do have to question why is FICCs down again for a second consecutive 1st quarter."

"It's evolving into a very ugly tape," Joe added.

Jon Najarian said "a lot of what happened" with GS is that the big banks in general were "robbing from Peter to pay Paul," and it's unclear who might be grabbing some of Goldman's market share.

Erin Browne cited weak data and suggested, "I think we're at close to the bottom," but she nevertheless wants to wait on the French election.

Stephanie Link said she was buying WFC on Friday.

Joe Terranova doubted that certain protests will impair Congress' chances of a tax overhaul and sounded offended by the linkage. "Tax reform is, is, completely, has nothing to do with the president's tax returns," Joe said.

Erin Browne said the markets want to see a "clear budget plan" from the White House.

Grandpa Pete Najarian grumbled that "we are so consumed by everything, and every single news story now is bigger than the other one."

Consensus: CMG over MCD

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report said Bernstein's 160 MCD target seems "awfully high," though he likes the stock and the company's innovation.

Steph Link said she "totally" sees why CMG is moving but can't buy it. Everybody else said CMG's a better bet right now than MCD.

Joe Terranova scowled at the valuation note on KMB and halfheartedly suggested that longs maybe buy some puts or "sell half." Joe endorsed CVS and suggested looking at TSN.

Steph Link wouldn't add to to CL but said it could be an attractive target.

Jon Najarian shrugged that "everybody's kinda neutral" on CLX. (But not as "neutral" as he apparently is in UAL.)

Joe called UNH "a winner" while Pete trumpeted the name. Steph Link sees more upside in CI.

Limited availability
+ reduced shipments = ...

Brian Stutland on Tuesday's Halftime Report said 3 things are hurting the dollar's strength and suggested possible mid-90s.

Jim Iuorio predicted the dollar will find support at 98.50.

Erin Browne said the snap election is "probably the best-case scenario for the U.K." Joe Terranova praised Browne's analysis and said Theresa May views the opposition as "weak" now.

Steph Link said she thinks CAH is "bottoming," but buyers have time to wait.

Pete Najarian said "the squeeze is on" at GNC.

Jon Najarian said HOG curiously has "limited availability" and "reduced shipments" at the same time.

Joe Terranova said he likes COF on the CAB news.

Pete said someone was buying November 34 calls in WFM. Doc said FXI May 38 calls and May 39.50 calls were popular, apparently bought by someone selling the May 36 puts.

Erin Browne's final trade was EEM. Pete trumpeted V, Doc said LL and Steph Link said LRLCY and EL. Joe touted TXN past 80 and playoff hockey.

[Monday, April 17, 2017]

Guests not asked
if they’re flying United

Sully missed his chance.

One of the secrets to quality interviewing is getting subjects off the script into something they probably have an opinion about. (For example, Kevin Plank switching from "this company's been succeeding for 20 years" to someone being a real "asset" to the country in a recent chat with Judge.)

So guest host Brian Sullivan on Monday's Halftime Report should've asked Bill Nygren if Bill still plans to fly United in the wake of the embarrassing video.

Now, it's within the realm of possibility that Bill's answer to even this question would've been something like, "As long as it looks cheap" and "we don't care about one-time incidents but where a company's going to be in 5-7 years." But surely Nygren is at least an occasional business traveler; his off-the-cuff answer (yes/no) would help indicate the real depth of this problem for United.

But no.

On Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, who looked golden in new hairstyle and top, said if she were the United CEO, "I would be as conservative as I could coming, going into this call actually."

Tim Seymour bluntly declared, "I think people have mischaracterized this whole thing," adding the impact on United's business will be "almost nil."

Dan Nathan predicted S&P 2,300 "in the next month or so," then "panic" sometime this spring.

Joe calls Korean tensions bearish for crude

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime curiously told a skeptical Kevin O'Leary, "Anything in, in the Korean Peninsula as it relates to (yep) oil is bearish."

Like O'Leary, we weren't too sure about that; Josh Brown also suggested it "hastens demand."

Joe insisted, "It's impacting the demand."

Joe opened the show stating, "Trading the macro is very very difficult to do, nearly impossible" and adding we're in a "time correction."

"Technicals right now to me are the biggest risk," Joe said.

Stephen Weiss noted expectations for tax reform and an infrastructure bill are "muted," and the "generational move" from bonds to stocks "clearly hasn't happened."

Josh Brown said 43% of the S&P 500 is below its Election Day price.

Pete Najarian said "we're in a volatile market" and cited the VIX dropping from 16 to 15.

Kevin O'Leary said the "gift" of Q1 was the rest of the world.

Joe called energy earnings a "huge obstacle" to the market.

Still not sure what it all means for Tom Lee’s CRAP trade

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime invoked Kensho in pointing out that markets are typically weak in the 2 weeks prior to Tax Day, then they perform well in the 2 weeks after Tax Day.

Steve Weiss wasn't buying it, stating, "But it looked like the data says that it's still up more often than it's down."

"This is not launch a hedge fund and trade this each year!" Brown protested.

"It's interesting information," Weiss said, but, "It's not what I do."

Jonathan Krinsky said there's downside risk beyond 2,320, which he said would take us down to 2,275.

Krinsky cited recent ramped-up VIX and put/call activity as signals that complacency is fading a bit and suggested we're "more near a low than a, than a high at this point." Pete Najarian said he needs to know whether people are buying options or selling options.

Krinsky suggests DPS or KO rather than betting against the market.

First we’ve heard about Einhorn’s GM plan in weeks

On Monday's Halftime Report, Bill Nygren — always a fine guest but one who tends to rattle off 5 stocks with the same description, "it's cheap" — stated that there's an "enormous" list of things that figure to have crashed the market over the last 25 years, but the market's up 10-fold in that time, so "market timing's a fool's game."

Nygren actually suggested analyzing other stocks like Einhorn analyzed GM and stated that for several big stocks that yield about as much as the bonds, "you're getting growth for not very much today."

Nygren touted DLPH and said the argument about these stocks meriting a lower multiple is "pretty much a historical artifact" (sic).

Nygren said CHK's valuation ignores the "massive amount of property" that the company has.

Judge off; entire program takes place without discussion of the 10-year yield

Kevin O'Leary on Monday's Halftime Report said he hates the Barron's call on F; "the car story is over … the whole Detroit car story is very, very difficult."

O'Leary called F's chart "really ugly." Josh Brown said the stock has "always been too cheap."

O'Leary suggested a supplier instead, MGA.

Weiss started to suggest Jim Lebenthal is rolling over on his desk. Pete Najarian said, "I like the GM story much better than the Ford story."

Kevin O’Leary: 20% takeout premium in NFLX

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime said he's still long NFLX but isn't trading it around earnings. He said it would be a "far better" acquisition for AAPL than for DIS.

Kevin O'Leary, obviously taking Ross Levinsohn's comments to heart last week, said, "The problem with the stock is, the reason you own it is you think, this week, it's going to be Apple buying it. Last week, it was Disney buying it. All of a sudden, everybody gets out of this 'it's gonna be acquired' issue, this stock's down 20%."

But Weiss said he owns it because "everybody's cuttin' cords. And so, this is the future."

Josh Brown said if you're going to be long NFLX, you have to expect two 30% pullbacks a year.

O'Leary said neither AAPL nor DIS can buy NFLX "on an accretive basis."

O’Leary: United should pay dragged doc $30 million to make this end (incredibly, CNBC doesn’t show the video)

Kevin O'Leary on Monday's Halftime said United Airlines should pay Dr. Dao $30 million; "I've never seen a brand get slaughtered like this."

Josh Brown said MCD has been "on fire" and said he agrees with Wells Fargo's bullish take on the first mover advantage of app ordering.

Steve Weiss said LLY is overvalued, "and I don't think Trump's done coming after 'em."

Pete Najarian said RBC's 157 target on AAPL is "a little bit low."

Josh Brown said he doesn't think the Facebook Live news over the weekend is "epidemic enough" to derail FB's march to 150.

Joe Terranova got to tolk about "Palo Alto" (yep) again; he said "I've avoided this one thankfully; the better name is Fortinet. FN," except "FN" is not the ticker symbol for Fortinet. (This writer is long PANW.)

Steve Weiss said he's not buying MNST.

Pete Najarian said the ARNC stock reaction "speaks for itself."

Kevin O'Leary said the music business is "the worst of the worst."

Joe touted V on the old 90-to-100 theory. Weiss said airlines have bottomed (but have they, if $30 million is on the table). Josh said he's staying long JPM. Pete said August 14 calls in RF were popular (even though Doc predicted last week that financials will trade sideways for months). O'Leary touted his own ONTL.

Guest host Brian Sullivan, who had a quiet show by Sully standards, said Judge is on vacation this week.

Sue Herera marked CNBC's 28th birthday Monday.

[Thursday, April 13, 2017]

Shocker of the day was Judge stating Ross Levinsohn is ‘our newest CNBC contributor’

Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime revealed that Lee Cooperman thinks stocks might not do anything through late summer but lift near the end of the year.

Jon Najarian hailed Lee Cooperman for selling upside calls to play a flat market.

Pete Najarian said Coop's NFLX stake is a "pretty interesting" trade.

Speaking of NFLX, Judge brought in Ross Levinsohn to discuss RBC's suggested "logical" AAPL-DIS combination.

Levinsohn said "it's good for headlines," but he's not sure it makes "all the sense in the world."

As for AAPL, "I'd rather see them go buy Netflix," Levinsohn said, plus Spotify for $10 billion, and even $27 billion for WPP, "and on top of it with a cherry go buy Hulu for 10 billion."

Levinsohn suggested AAPL is a distribution company and needs to be "somewhat Switzerland" rather than throwing in with 1 company, so "go get Netflix and Spotify."

"I think their competition down the line is more Amazon than anybody else," Levinsohn concluded.

Steve Schwarzman helped himself out by not saying Donald Trump’s business skills are a real asset to the country

Erin Browne on Thursday's Halftime Report theorized that "People are skittish into the French election" and said she would "just sit" for another week.

Unfazed, Jim Lebenthal noted, "We're right at the beginning of the earnings season."

Jim said he thinks the 10-year yield will climb from 2.25% but admitted under annoying pressure from Judge that he was wrong thinking it would go higher from 2.60%.

Pete Najarian found something to like about the banks (surprise, surprise), stating trading volumes are the "balancing act" offsetting loan growth.

Joe Terranova said banks are in a "consolidation range." He said he bought back into RF.

Jim Lebenthal said Donald Trump's agenda is "absolutely mired." But Judge claimed Steve Schwarzman "halved the losses in the stock market" the other day when he said "health care is not dead yet."

Joe protested that the stock market is "absolutely nowhere" in the last 6 weeks, so it's not like we're in the middle of a sudden crash.

Nevertheless, Judge said, "I think the biggest story in the market right now is rates."

Joe again pointed out that "the day after the State of the Union (sic not correct title)" was the stock market high.

"This is looking a lot like 2015," said Jim Lebenthal, explaining the market's being led by only a few juggernauts.

Rick Santelli said Donald Trump should "lay low" as far as speaking about foreign exchange.

Forgot where tech falls in Tom Lee’s CRAP trade

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said Guggenheim's 150 target on ADBE "seems like it is the right call."

Joe Terranova said that in a "decent marketplace," he can see ADBE 150 in 12 months.

Grandpa Judge wondered about "tech coming, coming back to earth."

But Jon Najarian noted that FB and AAPL have been knocked down "hardly at all."

And Pete said to look at AVGO, SWKS and CRUS.

How many touchdown passes did the owner throw?

CNBC on Thursday's Halftime Report rolled the clip (Drink) of the man being dragged off the United flight while Phil LeBeau reported the lawyer's press conference.

Pete Najarian said, "They've gotta get rid of this as fast as humanly possible."

Doc said UAL "hasn't corrected enough" for him to buy.

But Jim Lebenthal stated even though United is "gonna pay this poor, unfortunate gentleman a few million dollars … people are still gonna fly United."

Joe Terranova countered, "You don't buy United, because now, this is going to snowball" and become a "Washington, D.C., event."

Meanwhile, Jeff Kilburg said $1,300 is the "imminent test" for gold. Scott Nations said the "only concern" is that the RSI indicates gold is slightly overbought.

Noting the big bomb in Afghanistan, Jim Lebenthal told Judge the market is not prepared for a hawkish president.

Doc said May 190 calls in GD were popular. Pete said someone's selling July 80 puts in AXP.

Doc said someone bought a "ton" of VXX May 18 calls and sold September 24 calls.

Judge told Suzy Welch that the Patriots are a "remarkable partnership between the coach and the owner."

[Wednesday, April 12, 2017]

We just figured out — Halftime Portfolio contest apparently is defunct

It's quietly gone away.

This page just realized, to its own embarrassment, that we hadn't noticed that we haven't heard a word this year (nor could we find a web page) about the so-called Halftime Portfolio challenge, in which panelists pick a tiny portfolio and change it during the year (the rules changed every year of this concept) and vie to be the year's top trader.

The contest provided some interesting info during the year but couldn't get out of its own way, specifically with its rigid rules that had no relevance to actual stock buying and selling and the show's willingness to just excuse certain folks who posted ghastly returns by February as though bad numbers don't matter.

Oh well.


On Wednesday's Halftime, CNBC superfox Leslie Picker reported on ValueAct returning $1.25 billion to investors because Jeff Ubben is "skeptical" of higher returns.

Josh Brown said Ubben is "smart," but, "He's not supposed to be fully invested pretty much at any time."

Kevin O'Leary said there's nothing bullish at all to say about Ubben's move; "it's protectionist in every way."

Pete Najarian though said "there's always opportunities."

Kevin O'Leary claimed the 10-year yield "means a soft 36 months ahead." But Josh and the Najarians agreed "it was dead wrong last summer."

Things you can’t tell Jim Nantz on national television

Star guest of Wednesday's Halftime Report Stewart Hagestad said it was "a special moment" to join Sergio Garcia in Butler Cabin.

Hagestad, the low amateur at the Masters and an extremely classy bloke, actually said he plans to get his MBA and pursue a career in finance rather than try to make it on the PGA Tour.

Hagestad, who works for Oaktree Residential & Management according to the CNBC graphic, explained that he hasn't spent all of his recent time in the office. "I think there's been a little bit of a misconception here, but I wasn't gonna correct Jim Nantz on TV," Hagestad said. "Um, I took a leave of absence to prepare for the Masters."

O'Leary asked Hagestad, who pledged Sigma Chi at USC according to an L.A. Times profile, why he's pursuing an MBA rather than pro golf; "Are you kidding?"

Hagestad told "Mr. O'Leary" that regional banks aren't so bad he's an "avid watcher" of Shark Tank, and perhaps Kevin could make a counteroffer.

"You're wasting a hell of an opportunity," O'Leary said.

Doc makes a prediction based on Kensho rather than unusual activity

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime went first to Kevin O'Leary, who complains about regional banks on every show, and we're sick of writing it.

Mike Mayo was also present and countered that there's an important distinction between "Wall Street banks" and "Main Street banks," adding the latter are more challenged.

Jon Najarian predicted the banks will "trade sideways" for months based on Kensho data from the last 5 years that he researched with John Melloy.

Mike Mayo said he didn't see it reported, but in Jamie Dimon's CEO letter, Dimon said JPM would buy back stock at 2 times book.

Doc: LULU to 60

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime scoffed at the LULU upgrade, but Jon Najarian cheered it, stating, "It's goin' back to 60."

But Josh said, "Closing weekly basis, if this stock cannot hold 50, say good night."

Josh said LULU is trading where it was 6 years ago. Pete Najarian acknowledged previous "mismanagement" but pointed to menswear and children's wear.

Sarat Sethi, who had a very quiet show, said tech has been used as a "source of funds," and he's just waiting for a few stocks to come back.

Pete fails to answer
Josh’s question

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said someone was buying May 36 EBAY calls and selling May 38 calls.

Josh Brown said EBAY, for whatever reason, appears to be breaking out and questioned why a Chinese firm doesn't just buy it.

Pete said, "I can answer that," but he didn't, stating EBAY is tapping artificial intelligence (snicker) and has partnerships with India.

Jon Najarian said October 18 calls in MRO were getting bought. (This writer is long MRO.)

Brian Stutland predicted gold heads higher. Anthony Grisanti said the charts indicate gold is going higher, possibly $1,300 "in the next few sessions." Kevin O'Leary touted the GLD.

Josh Brown said he bought JBLU a day ago. Doc mentioned WLL. Pete touted WFM.

[Tuesday, April 11, 2017]

Karen concedes she has ‘evolved,’ sees animal spirits in the market

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Ylan Mui aired a short clip outside the White House of Jack Welch, who seemed a little out of breath, stating that Donald Trump is "pushing this job agenda … hard."

Grandpa Dan Nathan grumbled on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that the CEOs have had "numerous" meetings with Trump, "and they come out with nothing."

Karen Finerman validated what this page has said for months, stating she's "evolved" on the Trump rally, first thinking it was based on tax and policy expectations, "then I really started to think that there is something to it of animal spirits."

As Wade Garrett says, "Exxxxxxxxxxactly."

Put it this way: If participating in the stock market were like watching the Chicago Bears or New York Mets, this year would be 1985 or 1986.

So don't change the channel.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money helpfully pointed out that a lousy earnings season "will have a negative effect on the market."

Grandpa Dan also grumbled about when the "dossiers" from Russia come out.

Speaking with Kayla Tausche at Halftime, Steve Schwarzman chuckled about health care legislation: "Doing it in 17 days was perhaps not practical." (Hmmmm. Sounds like they should've done tax-reform first. Literally.)

Schwarzman begged off specifics of tax reform, stating there's "so many different ranges" of things that can be done. (Translation: Let's not tinker with carried interest.)

Joe Terranova complained "there's too many policy initiatives" (snicker) from this administration.

Enough already, CNBC (a/k/a Guy Adami actually says he wouldn’t buy UAL if he knew it was going to 150)

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime for the first time in months if not years actually brought up Dick Costolo, who apparently tweeted that the Monday night email from United is "one of the most tone-deaf corporate emails ever sent."

Wow. That's quite the condemnation.

Jon Najarian claimed that "every single traveler that I know" who's not at the "peak global level for United" but part of the "herd" who has to "ride at the back of the plane anyway, you're not gonna fly United."

"I don't think the stock has reacted enough yet," Doc said, predicting it goes lower on lower bookings.

Joe Terranova said he was perplexed by people Monday noting UAL stock hadn't moved on the bad news, "and that meant you go buy it." Joe said you have to wait for facts and details to emerge.

Steph Link said she's more nervous about UAL's comments on capacity and suggested the stock is subject to multiple contraction.

Pete Najarian said DAL has "already made a correction" and has upside.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Guy Adami claimed he wouldn't buy UAL even if someone told him it was going to 150. (Exhibit A for why BlackRock is turning to quants.)

Karen Finerman though predicted, "I think the public will be somewhat forgiving."

We're not going to add to the chorus about how much Sara Eisen thinks the leggings policy for employee passes is stupid how bad this looked, but we're sick of the video and the blond woman aghast stating "OH MY GOD!!!!," we get it and don't need to see this pathetic incident 5-6 times per hour anymore.

WFM gets ‘Meh’ reax from panel

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime with a report on Jana's goals for WFM, stating the activist just wants WFM "to put all of the options on the table."

Leslie Picker congratulated Judge for "great reporting."

Jon Najarian said "somebody had an inkling" that something was happening at WFM evidenced by the purchase of 28 calls weeks ago, but he's not seeing activity now.

Joe Terranova said he used to trade WFM, but there's huge competition in the space now, and management has been "very slow to react to the pressures." Joe said what's interesting is that Jana "knew when to be short the company."

Stephanie Link said WFM has a restructuring in progress, but it's just not enough. She called the stock "expensive" but said she'd follow Jana if she thought Jana could make a difference on execution.

Link said we're hearing about "less food deflation" in the sector.

"What about the board?" demanded Pete Najarian, calling for a shake-up.

But Karen Finerman likes the stock and made it her Final Trade on Fast Money.

Sounds like you can buy any chip company (but this is the year, for the first time in a long time, where you have to be stock-specific)

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime pounded the table for AAPL suppliers on the pullback. But Steph Link said it's good to take profits; "All of my semi names are up on average 20%."

Joe Terranova pronounced QRVO as "Cuervo" (which Judge flagged, in another impressive one-liner) and said he'd be "maybe nervous" about the name.

Doc endorsed STX because "storage is everything."

Pete said somebody on Monday bought 5,400 upside calls in WDC. Doc made that his final trade.

Pete's final trade was AMD.

Doc said "surprise, surprise," YELP rose after "huge upside call-buying."

Joe said, "Facebook is just gonna make everyone else disappear."

HES too scary for Steph

Bob Iaccino on Tuesday's Halftime said he doesn't know who in Saudi Arabia is talking to the WSJ. Jim Iuorio said "56.50's in the cards" for crude in the next couple of weeks.

Stephanie Link said she doesn't want the "beta" of HES.

Joe Terranova related another observation, stating it's very difficult to trade oil, and "that's a problem as it relates to Hess." (But he didn't say Hess is "tethered" to the price of oil.)

Jon Najarian predicted crude "bounces" between 48 and 58. Pete Najarian said 50-60.

Judge said "literally" that when you get a headline from the Saudis, "all bets are off."

Doc: Hertz hoppin’

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said he thinks the VIX will stay around 15 "for a little while."

Joe Terranova cited TOL as the 1 homebuilder name that will "work well" in the next 12 months (or as it relates to the next 12 months).

Stephanie Link would be "inclined" to buy DE on a pullback.

Link said PF is not cheap but has superior growth.

Pete said, "The cash flows at Disney are incredible." (Zzzzzzzz.)

Doc said May 20 HTZ calls were being bought. Pete said May 19 puts in ABX were bought as "protection" rather than a downward bet. Pete also said there was "massive" weekly call-buying in AAPL.

Joe offered DAR as a final trade. Link said CSX.

[Monday, April 10, 2017]

Syria strike not even discussed on either Halftime or Fast Money, just as we predicted Friday (see below)

Judge on Monday's Halftime showed that Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson made a 12-month, 2,700 S&P call.

That set off the panel on an interesting, forest-through-the-trees assessment of the 2017 market. (We'll summarize it better than they did: If you're outta this market, you're nuts. Or, alternate theme: Kevin O'Leary is clueless.)

Jim Lebenthal called Wilson's analysis a "bold call" but said the number seems more like a 24-month estimate.

"I'm a 6-8% guy," said Kevin O'Leary, who said his cash percentage is "exactly 17" and stated Wilson's "mistake" was the 12-month time frame because crude is going to be capped in the mid-50s, and energy names will struggle to get going.

Steve Weiss said he agrees with Wilson's argument that it's about the global economy, and if tax reform keeps getting pushed back, the market will still climb. "Yeah, I think it's upward trend," Weiss said.

Joe Terranova pointed out again that "the State of the Union" (sic not formal title) was the market high. He said there's "no reason" to exit, and if you're not in the market and it goes higher, "you're basically short the market."

Josh Brown said there's no correlation between GDP and stock-market returns. Josh said that if the bull market is entering euphoria, the last ride tends to be good; the average return in the last year of all bull markets since 1926 is 26%, according to Brown.

But Josh said there's no euphoria because Wall Streeters aren't sure they'll have a job in a couple years.

Joe Terranova said, "I don't understand why we're talking about euphoria in any context of this conversation."

"I do Joe think it's euphoria," insisted Jim Lebenthal, warning of a market ending in a game of "musical chairs."

Weiss disagreed with O'Leary's headwinds, stating the bond guys are only "sometimes" the smartest guys in the room and that buying Treasurys doesn't make you the smartest guy.

Thank goodness Sara Eisen wasn’t on to complain about United’s leggings policy for employee passes

CNBC's Phil LeBeau, in heavy demand all day because a man was removed from a flight, explained to viewers of Monday's Halftime that air-ticketing terms indicate that if your flight is overbooked and you're bumped, "you have to leave."

Judge protested that a flier who's going to be asked to leave shouldn't have been allowed on the flight in the first place. "How hard is that?!"

Phil responded that both he and Judge have been on flights where fliers are told on the plane that the flight is overbooked and that those who take a $600 offer will leave. Judge said he's heard those conversations at the gate, but "none that I can personally recall" on the plane.

Stephen Weiss brought up leggings and pointed out a big problem, that if you're flying, "You're sort of afraid to say something to anybody that works for an airline, because then they're gonna take you off as disruptive, and breaking federal laws and everything like that."

Judge noted that Gordon Bethune was taking heat for his CNBC comments suggesting the United passenger was "immature."

Judge said if you live in a major city, chances are you're "hamstrung by the hub system, so you really have no choice."

Weiss said he lives in New Jersey, and Newark is the closest airport, a United hub, so, "What am I gonna do, fly to, you know, drive to Kennedy?"

Josh Brown tried to point out how ejecting someone looks "so much worse" on a plane than, say, a steakhouse.

But, "This is just abject stupidity," Weiss said.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said she cares about the United incident as a human being, but, "As a stock owner, no, I don't really care." She said if you're an airline, "You want your flights to be full."

Another way to put it is that it’s typical human research just being done far faster by machine

Roy Niederhoffer impressively stood his ground with down-to-earth dialogue on Monday's Halftime Report, stating his firm's strategy is "completely automated" and that his computers are scanning and identifying "predictable, short-term moves."

Josh Brown pointed out "the human element" is writing Niederhoffer's programs.

Stephen Weiss told Niederhoffer that it's really a "relative value strategy." Niederhoffer said he'd call it more of a "directional strategy."

Niederhoffer told Judge he's running a "long-vol" strategy, which accounts for lagging performance in a low-vol environment.

Niederhoffer told Kevin O'Leary his fund was up 50-plus percent in 2000 and 2008; "We're not designed to outperform during the ups; we're designed to make your overall portfolio better over longer periods of time."

Weiss said hedge funds are too crowded, and maybe quant investing will be the same way.

Overbooked airplane succeeds in knocking Trump administration out of the news cycle for 1 day

Nili Gilbert joined Monday's Halftime Report to contend the market is being driven by "unsustainable winners" or "rocket stocks," which can "flare out and crash to the ground."

But Josh Brown said the bulls would say "70% of the S&P 500 is above its 200-day moving average."

Gilbert said there are "behavioral dislocations" in the market in which "the valuation can't keep up with the growth story at the end of the day" (actually probably meant growth story can't keep up with the valuation).

Joe Terranova hung a 120 on BABA. Stephen Weiss touted LULU. Josh noted UAL was up.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said of Tesla, "I can't make it work."

Guy Adami said at the end of the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "Melissa in person is far more beautiful than she is on air."

Judge uncorks his
best line in months

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime Report said Piper Jaffray's TSLA call is a "great argument" for technical analysis.

Kevin O'Leary said he's got "no problem" with Elon Musk or Tesla's cars; his 20-year-old son "beats me up every day to buy the new gull wing, you know, SUV version."

Judge impressively cut in, "Must be nice. My son beats me up to buy him a new Nerf football."

But O'Leary then declared, "The company is not generating cash flow."

Stephen Weiss observed, "Amazon is not that much distinguishable from this, right."

In an interesting analogy, Jim Lebenthal said Tesla reminds him of "Southwest Airlines 15 years ago," stating if you bought it then, it took 10 years to make money.

More from Monday's razor-sharp Halftime — one of the best episodes in months — later.

[Friday, April 7, 2017]

Nobody will be talking about Syria strike next week

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said he's not buying the defense trade based on the Syria strikes because Tomahawks are not the same as boots on the ground or B-52s.

But Josh Brown said the stocks are already rolling; there's no sign anyone's getting "bored" with these names.

Steve Weiss said he owns OA.

Jon Najarian said someone was buying January 70 calls in ICE and selling the January 60 puts.

Jim Lebenthal backed QRVO and SWKS. Josh Brown said to buy SCHW in a "false breakdown" in the 10-year yield. Steve Weiss said airlines are in an upside-down candle. Erin Browne said to buy the XLE.

Another Syria chemical attack would put pressure on Trump; otherwise it’s 1 and done

Once again, Judge tried to convince his panelists that the sinking 10-year yield might be a problem for stocks, to no avail.

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said the 10-year yield is in the bottom of its 5-month range. "2 and a quarter is the line in the sand," Jim said.

"I still think we're gonna hit that 2.25 number" before a bounce, said Jon Najarian, who gushed about selling at-the-money JPM calls and then watching the stock correct 4%. But "I still own JPMorgan!"

Josh Brown said he's "not impressed with the wisdom of the bond market," and, "The bond market is just as dumb as the stock market."

Josh insisted banks' stall is fine given the post-election rise and that anyone told in October that banks would skyrocket for a couple months after the election and then stall for 3 months would take it. Judge insisted that XLF is down 5% in the last month and that banks are giving reason to believe "there could be a retracement of all of the gains that you had."

Josh also "totally" disagrees with Judge's characterization of a "far worse" jobs report than what people expected. "We're at full employment. What do you people want?" Brown demanded.

Erin Browne said we're starting to see a "synchronized global recovery."

Browne said "tech has been 41% of the attribution of the S&P returns year to date." Judge asked, "Isn't that worrisome in and of itself?" (sic last 4 words redundant) (Drink).

Stephen Weiss, who had a quiet show, said he sold some of his C because it's now "swimming upstream."

"It's amazing to me that we're not leading off with Syria," said Weiss.

Doc said someone Friday bought a lot of 121 puts in the TLT.

Brown: WMT breaking out

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime referred to "Nordstroms" (sic plural) and JCP for their omnichannel approach. Jim pronounced retail "good for a trade."

Josh Brown suggested getting long WMT for a breakout with a 70 stop.

Jon Najarian touted LB again (that started in the upper 50s) and then his newfound favorite, RL, mentioning the NYC lease again (Drink).

Stephen Weiss predicted LULU will bounce because it can't be "disintermediated."

Erin Browne unloaded retail at the end of the month but is bullish over the longer term.

Jim O’Neill really disheartened that Trump has used China as punching bag

Jim O'Neill, from Lake Como, Italy, told Judge on Friday's Halftime he didn't know Trump had called U.S.-China relations "outstanding" but said that's a "relief."

O'Neill said he's not sure what Trump hoped to achieve with saber-rattling before the visits.

Judge asked O'Neill what he meant in stating the White House seems "stuck in the Dark Ages." O'Neill said he was referring to the "hostile approach about unfair China."

O'Neill said China has been letting the yuan rise since 2005 and intervening to keep it from falling.

Judge asked about steel dumping. O'Neill said China's had to deal with eliminating a "considerable number of jobs in their own steel industry," and they don't, "as far as I know, blame any other country."

O'Neill then asked the most interesting question of the day: "Are we really trying to suggest that the U.S. wants to become some kind of major producer in the global steel industry?"

We looked up some info readily available on the Internet (so take that for what it's worth); Japan, India and the European Union are all ahead of the U.S. in steel production, and China is enormously ahead of everyone.

Viewers told 3 times in a matter of minutes that Apple sells more iPads and iPhones in China than the U.S.

China watcher Richard Kang, who's apparently based in Canada, on Friday's Halftime said "Trump needs a win, uh, pretty badly, and he needs to make the Chinese a friend."

He said the average Chinese is "frankly a little bit scared" about what's going on in the U.S., but in terms of what they're accustomed to in leaders, "Donald Trump is actually their kind of guy."

Then he said what Jim O'Neill said, that Apple sells more iPhones and iPads in China than in the U.S.

Josh Brown said American investors are "not plugged in" to BABA, but it's now become "a giant company in a lot of categories that they were only talking about prior to the IPO." Josh said over 110, "the juice is loose" in BABA.

Steve Weiss for some reason said "a lot of the move in BABA is a credit to Facebook."

Josh said the FXI is up 12% this year.

[Thursday, April 6, 2017]

Doc suggests Larry Fink’s Europe exposure amounts to peanuts

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime Report claimed the U.S. "cyclically adjusted" P.E. ratio is 30.

Yes, 30.

"We've almost never been this high," Brown said.

He said Europe is 17, and emerging markets is 15.

And he said he believes in mean reversion, while Stephen Weiss appeared to grasp for a mike or some other equipment.

Much more straightforward and with far less dubious numbers, Weiss suggested the HEDJ is a "good way to go" and that the U.S. has "some issues."

Rich Saperstein said Europe is cheaper and that that's an "asset" to U.S. equities rather than a liability. He said Europe has a 15½ forward P.E. while the U.S. has a 17½ forward P.E. He told Weiss he's using the Stoxx600 for the European P.E.

Jim Lebenthal, the best voice here, correctly noted Europe is "always cheaper than the U.S."

But Josh said that's a "false statement."

Jim said, "Josh, I've been doing this for 20 years." Josh cut him off and said, "OK good so you can remember 15 years ago, in the oughts decade, when the euro was a stronger currency than the U.S. dollar and there were stock valuations across Europe that were higher than the U.S." (Sure, Europe has an AMZN, a GMCR, a CROX...)

Weiss said he'll acknowledge Brown on Europe valuation but that it's "not true" as Brown said that the U.S. tech valuation stems from "market performance" and a "look-ahead bias." Weiss said, "The makeup of the indices is dramatically different in Europe than here."

Jim correctly noted, "We should not have a discussion of the U.S. vs. the rest of the world." (But that doesn't stop Judge from doing it all the time.)

Jon Najarian said he's continuing to put customer money in the U.S. market and doesn't think it's expensive.

Doc noted the clip of Larry Fink talking about raising his European exposure, but Doc said he wants to know what Fink's allocation to Europe was prior to raising it. "'Cause I guarantee you, he didn't go from a 40% allocation to Europe to a 55% allocation," Doc said, suggesting perhaps 5-7%.

Melissa's hair on the 5 p.m. Fast Money was absolutely divine.

Whatever happened to that order about the travel ban?

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said STZ went from 170 to 145 after the election and gave JPM kudos for ugprading STZ a few weeks ago.

Josh Brown said it's the "amateurs that are reacting to Trump tweets, and the pros who are reacting to the reactions."

Judge said "tax" was mentioned 46 times in the STZ Jan. 5 earnings call. Stephen Weiss said that "everything Trump had promised to do early days, he did through executive orders."

Jim Lebenthal said there's a "fundamental problem" with the industry, that there's a "1,000-pound gorilla" known as Budweiser and that STZ is only a distributor and not a brewer. "BUD's the place to invest right now," Jim said.

Grisanti: 10-year yields rising

Stephen Weiss on Thursday's Halftime said Chinese President Xi has a "very tough balancing act" at home, and as far as the meeting with Trump, "I think basically nothing comes out of it at all."

Jon Najarian said as bad as Syria is, North Korea blowing up "is what the world's most worried about."

Doc said DVN May 43 calls were being bought in big numbers. "I think it goes considerably higher," Doc said.

Josh Brown said YUMC "looks good."

Weiss said BBBY's guidance was poor, but they beat. "I'd avoid it," he said.

Rich Saperstein said he likes COST.

Jim Lebenthal said LB has been "a disaster of a stock for a year," and it's got a "long way to go" before you can say retail is back.

Doc said RL "cratered" to 75 on word of that horrid NYC lease.

Scott Nations said 125.16 has been a "wall" for 10-year futures since November. Anthony Grisanti said he'd be a seller and predicted "yields are climbing in the next few months."

Judge noted JWN, KSS and GPS were doing well. Jim said the industry needs to "right size." (Unfortunately, he says that every show, along with buy CSCO/QCOM/GM.)

Josh Brown chuckled that "in the next recession … these stocks are dead. Like, everything's dead. But this is really, really, really dead."

Jim Lebenthal, who has waffled on TIF, said to get long. Steve Weiss said he thinks LULU has "bottomed out." Doc bought OLN on unusual activity. Rich Saperstein said to buy defense.

Evan Williams bailing

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime said Evan Williams lost the "civil war within Twitter" 3 years ago and is "not really material to what's going on at the company anymore."

Stephen Weiss said Williams is selling at specific points in time, which is better than making a price call; Jim Lebenthal said "we don't know what the limits are that he put in" and suggesting it could even be 25 (snicker).

But, "any way you cut it, it's negative," Weiss said.

Jon Najarian said Williams is "sending a message to the rest of the board" that things aren't going right at this company.

Josh sounds fine with AMD stumble

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime said he read the Goldman Sachs initiation of AMD, then he sought to downplay the significance.

"When an analyst initiates coverage, it's different than an upgrade or, or, or a downgrade," Brown said, explaining the analyst is trying to make a splash in some way and that 10% drops in the name are common and that he'd like to buy the dip.

"I like buying downgrades that are based on valuation," said Brown.

Jon Najarian said he likes AMD and recommended buying dips.

More from Thursday's Halftime later.

[Wednesday, April 5, 2017]

Karen talks about supermodels,
prom dating

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman addressed the PNRA buyout with a curious analogy.

"This is the thing, though. You know every spring, you hear about some kid, invites some supermodel to prom, and she actually goes with him? Well that was the one. The Panera one was the one who gets to go with the supermodel," Finerman said. "I don't think anybody of- any of these other restaurant chains are gonna get any suitor like that."

The funny thing is, take it on our good authority, there are quite a few dudes out there who would rather take Karen Finerman to prom than take a supermodel to prom.

Alas, that ship sailed a while back. (The usual disclaimer: Yes, we know Karen's got a husband; we're just trying to be nice and pay a compliment he's got a LOT more cash than we've got but he can't compete with us in watching football or "Road House.")

Later in the show, when Tim Seymour suggested sending Guy Adami into space, Karen quipped, "One way, or round trip?"


Here’s what Lee was about to say: The thing that bothers me most is that we’re doing a charity to help 100 kids, and with all the money this case is costing me, we could help 500 kids

In the last minute of Wednesday's Halftime Report, Judge finally got around to asking Lee Cooperman about the status of the SEC case.

Lee said he's up over 6% this year, then he said the SEC has "overreacted" and that he's "anxious" to go to court.

Then Lee's video/audio froze; Pete Najarian joked "the window closed at 1."

Trump thinks his wife is better looking than Queen Rania

Eamon Javers on Wednesday's Halftime Report noted the wives were at the Trump-Abdullah meeting in the Oval Office; that's because Rania was one of the wives, and our president thinks he competes at that level.

Lee Cooperman said he was most concerned about the traffic in Palm Beach while Trump hosts Xi.

Lee said he's "very selective" in the oil space, believing the price of oil will be higher a year from now, possibly in the 60s next year. He said he's long HES and WPX.

Lee said UAL is benefitting from industry consolidation and better pricing power, and also, Buffett likes it.

He said he likes GOOGL for valuation and "fortress balance sheet." And he likes FB for all the fundamentals.

Lee said his son owned PNRA a long time ago when it wasn't worth that much.

Lee said he has a "very large position" in MSFT but "outtraded ourselves" on AAPL and got out too early.

Lee Cooperman thinks stocks are reasonably priced

If we had a dollar for every time Lee Cooperman said "reasonably priced" or "fully priced" or "normalization" on Wednesday's Halftime, we could launch a hedge fund.

Cooperman said of the rally, "We're not in the early innings," though he didn't opine on whether it's the 9th inning.

He thinks the market is reasonably priced and not "euphorically priced." He said the market is a "very gradual slope" upwards, and "We're heading back to normalization."

Lee said nominal GDP is reaching 4%, thus, the Fed funds rate should be more likely at 2% than 0.65%.

As for the 10-year yield, which panelists struggled with a day ago, "I don't know what it's telling us," Lee said.

He pointed out the 10-year bottomed around 1.40 or 1.50 about a year and a half ago.

Lee hung a 2,414 valuation on the S&P 500.

He mentioned attending a conference about artificial intelligence (snicker) and income inequality and said the conclusion seems to be the Fed is trying to reduce social stress.

Lee said people he talks to think "no way" the tax package happens by August.

He said the market will end the year "modestly higher than it is now."

Josh squandered his moment with Lee with a statement rather than a question

Halftime Report panelists who basically whiffed a day ago on the interest-rate question presumably got a full hour's pay Wednesday just for floating a couple questions Lee Cooperman's way.

Lee told Jon Najarian he agrees that if tax reform is pushed back, the market can take stair steps higher; he even said he was playing it with options.

Lee had to listen to a long speech by Josh Brown about how tech, and not the perceived "Trump trade," is the only thing working. "I think it's about growth," Lee said several times in response.

Jim Lebenthal asked about "overbuilding" in the aircraft industry and how that pertains to AER. Lee said the book value of AER is "well over 50," and he doesn't see "signs of overcapacity."

Pete Najarian asked why MGM as opposed to WYNN. Lee said he can't own everything or "kiss all the ladies"; he just finds MGM a more attractive stock.

Jim: AAPL’s upgrade story might be a sell-in-May event

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime said the summer iPhone rally has been brought forward; he sees another 10% gain but thinks it may be a sell-in-May story.

Jon Najarian said YELP May 37 calls were popular as the stock rose on Chinese takeout rumors.

Pete Najarian said "a bunch" of HAL April 51.50 calls were bought.

Judge congratulated Pete for his TECK call this week; Pete said it's doing great but you could also trim.

Scott Nations said crude could rise another 10%, we're "continuing to continue upwards" (sic grammar). Brian Stutland suggested there's resistance at 53.50; he sees maybe 5% to the upside.

Lee Cooperman said that in money management, "You cannot charge a premium fee and deliver a subpar performance." But he cited an article in January of 1970 (not clear if Laszlo Birinyi keeps that one in the scrapbook) about the demise of hedge funds and suggested they've survived tough times.

"The golden period for hedge funds was 2000 to 2007," Lee explained.

Lee boasted that he didn't get to this level of wealth by buying an index.

[Tuesday, April 4, 2017]

Halftime gang actually insists with a straight face that rates don’t matter for banks

Well, this was a head-scratcher.

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report actually claimed that none of his fellow panelists last year "were buying financials because they were making a call on where rates were going."

We gotta think, if we went through the tapes, we'd find countless soundbites of people trumpeting banks citing rising rates. But, we unfortunately don't have the time.

Judge at least told Joe it was "part of the equation, without question."

Pete Najarian conceded lower rates aren't good for banks, which was about the only comment of the startlingly long opening session suggesting today's banks aren't the greatest thing of all time.

Oh, Stephanie Link said you want to "respect" the bond market.

Joe Terranova traced BAC's move and insisted financials are trading "at the upper end of their range." He also claimed BAC will "monetize" the Merrill Lynch franchise "at some point," an argument we stopped hearing around 2011.

Kourtney Gibson actually claimed banks are driven by "fundamental business decisions" and that rates are just "icing on the cake."

Jon Najarian tripped over "Jeffrey" vs. "Jeff" Gundlach, then said, "You cannot dismiss the anchor that Europe is to these rates" before gloating that people said rates were going higher at 2.60 and now say they're going lower at 2.30, which sounds to him like buying the top and selling the bottom.

Doc bellowed that he doesn't care about "one little sector" — the banks — while he really cares about the S&P 500.

Rick Santelli suggested a range of 1.87-2.25 if the 10-year continues to fall.

Judge, to his credit, tried in vain to convince Tuesday's crew that sliding 10-year rates really would be a problem for bank stocks.

Pete basically said not to listen to the Citi analyst who downgraded BAC.

Mel: Dynamite chic

Stephanie Link on Tuesday's Halftime said she's tempted to buy retail as a contrarian because it's been hit so hard.

Joe Terranova actually claimed, "Retail in the last 5 days is, is clearly coming back strongly."

Judge questioned that, but Joe insisted it's true, citing JWN, DRI (snicker), M and KSS.

But Joe said to take profits (if any) in SPLS "and run."

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said that if the BAT dies, retail stocks will rip higher for a short time.

On Halftime, Kourtney Gibson said XOM is a good long-term name and will be good if oil holds 50.

Doc said August 85 CL calls were popular. Pete said there was "huge call buying" in FB April 146 calls that expire on the 28th.

Jim Iuorio said the prospect of currency wars is good for gold. Jeff Kilburg agreed that with a close over 1,260, it could "grab" 1,300.

Steph Link likes CAT and is "undeterred" by the feds' investigation, which she called a "one-time event."

Link likes FDX. Pete Najarian hailed UNP.

Kourtney Gibson is taking a "really hard look" at ETSY.

Judge promised Lee Cooperman on Wednesday. Hopefully this time, Judge will ask Lee what Lee meant last time by being ready to "cooperate."

It’s either a sell or it isn’t; it doesn’t matter who’s done the ‘homework’

Pete Najarian, who only follows Katy Huberty the analysts who have been right, said on Tuesday's Halftime the most interesting part of the Pacific Crest note on NVDA was the praise for SWKS, CRUS.

Kourtney Gibson hailed "Betsy's" bull call on NVDA and said longs should do their "homework" before selling.

Joe Terranova grimaced that NVDA is "just a trading stock."

Jon Najarian said a lot of people "switched horses" from NVDA to AMD; he hung a 16 on the latter.

Pete Najarian gushed about CRM and said it's going higher, as he always does.

Steph Link said AMZN is moving because of "ad momentum."

Joe Terranova endorsed SYMC.

Doc said he'd buy CRUS with options and said to buy GOOGL on any "significant dip."

[Monday, April 3, 2017]

Technical analyst tells Judge he evaluates stocks on … technicals

Jonathan Krinsky on Monday's Halftime Report said the MKM all-star stock list represents the "best stock in each sector."

Judge concluded, "So you're specifically looking at the technicals."

Krinsky chuckled, "Well, uh, we're- I'm a technical analyst Scott, so yes."

Josh Brown asked Krinsky about KO vs. the XLP. Krinsky said KO is getting above its 200-day and likened it to MSFT's longtime pause. Jim Cramer said the new KO CEO is being handed the company on a "silver platter," which coincidentally is the name of one of TV's most famous rock groups.

Kevin O'Leary asked Krinsky why Krinsky likes NOV. Krinsky said it's "just starting to break above an 18-month base."

Krinsky said a C breakout over 63 would be powerful. Cramer said that's book value. Pete Najarian said his favorite stock on the MKM list is SMG.

Kevin O'Leary said he actually owns IR.

Without LeBron James, the Cavaliers would be a down franchise

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime Report pointed out the market high was the morning after the State of the Union (sic not technically a State of the Union address). We found the intraday S&P high on March 1 was 2,400.98, and the close was 2,395.96.

Out of curiosity, we checked out the action post-Inauguration Day. Stocks fell the following Monday, but then it was off to the races.

In any case, 2,400 seems the current ceiling/next floor.

Judge predicted "stocks are going to move from faith to fundamentals."

Claiming there was heavy volume late last week as people scooped up AMD into Friday's afterhours, Jim Cramer suggested there's a "little quicksand" in the stock market.

Pete Najarian said stocks' run into the end of the quarter was "huge," and he thinks Monday's selloff could persist until earnings.

Invoking a rival TV channel, Cramer suggested that Trump won't start talking about tax reform until he sees it on "Fox & Friends."

Kevin O'Leary predicted energy and his least-favorite sector will miss in this quarter.

Josh Brown said "what's really going on" is that global stocks are beating the U.S.

Susan Li said PNRA was spiking on reports of possible sale. Judge mentioned "animal spirits."

Joe said "as it relates to" during the Panera discussions.

Pete said the big banks are killin' it right now. But Kevin O'Leary shrugged that this is a "not-yet market."

We didn't even know the president of Egypt's name until Judge aired the clip of Trump's remarks.

The goofiest comment of the show came from Josh Brown, who stated, "Without the Nasdaq, this would be a down quarter."

Uh oh — Don’t tell Chip Wilson that UA looks like LULU

Jim Cramer, who sorta grabbed the reins of Monday's Halftime while Judge promoted Mad Money for an hour (the text under Cramer's name reminded viewers he's "HOST OF MAD MONEY, 6PM ET"), said NKE doesn't like Kevin Plank and vows to "eviscerate" him.

Kevin O'Leary said he's worried the sector is turning into "fashion" and pointed to LULU.

Judge scoffed at the "fashion" label, claiming, "We referred to Under Armour for years as a technology company."

But O'Leary said, "It looks like a Lululemon to me."

Cramer referred to Mike Curtis decking the fan who ran on the field.

Josh Brown claimed there are enough "underpinnings" of an Under Armour sentiment shift that it may be near the bottom.

Joe Terranova said there's a "tremendous inventory glut" in the NKE-UA space and touted adidas.

‘Really gotta be careful in your stock selection’

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime said getting the public to forget about fast-food debacles usually takes about 18 months and that CMG is in month 17.

Kevin O'Leary actually claimed people are talking about high "salt" levels in CMG food. Cramer said people want "fresh."

Josh Brown said the lines are no longer out the door at CMG, and the company is spending lots on advertising. "This is not ever gonna sell at the multiple that it used to," Brown said.

CNBC scheduling: 1 hour, 2 hosts

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime said the SBUX changeover reminds him of when Patrick Doyle took over DPZ.

Pete Najarian said TECK August 26 calls were popular.

Pete said there could be 20% more in LOW, especially after more call-buying last week.

Pete pointed out the 52-week high in LL and said to play it in options, not stocks.

Josh Brown said CAT will trade on global growth, and he's "not terribly" worried about the investigation.

Joe Terranova said to wait for earnings on JILL.

Joe touted FMC. Josh cited "fundamental catalysts" in MCD. Jim Cramer touted GOOGL.

Kevin O'Leary talked about his new ETF, ONTL.

Judge said it was a "great hour" with Cramer.

[Friday, March 31, 2017]

Weiss implies Democrats would be willing to make deals with Donald

A week of crisp stock assessments sorta ended with a thud on Friday's Halftime Report as the panel tried to put forward an everything-but-our-favorite-tech-stocks-reverts-to-the-mean prediction.

Stephen Weiss said the market's "OK" but in a "narrow trading range," then tried to drop this dubious pearl of wisdom that we only hear about, oh, once a week on this program since its inception: "You've really gotta be careful in your stock selection moreso now I think than at any time over the last 5 or 6 years." (Translation: Invest only with Tepper or the really elite pros who are friends of Weiss, who incidentally golfed with Tepper on Sunday.)

Jim Lebenthal said financials will regain their "mojo" but agreed "one has to be disciplined." (Wrong. It's an animal spirits market, and almost everything goes up.)

Josh Brown, to his credit, acknowledged the forest ahead of the trees and noted, "We've barely seen any pre-announcements."

The howler came from Steve Weiss, who actually said of Trump, "He could switch to the middle and bring the Democrats into the fold, and I think that would be the smart move."

Weiss said when he was rising through the ranks of Wall Street, Bernstein was the "quintessential research house" and now wants to go only partly into the quant space.

Weiss even bored Judge discussing qualitative and quantitative strategies.

Jim does a fine job, but making the same long-term value-stock calls on every program gets old

Neither Judge nor the panel seemed terribly excited on Friday's Halftime about the new Snapchat feature, but Jim Lebenthal actually said with a straight face, "Artificial intelligence is a wave for the next 10 years."

Stephen Weiss said, despite Jim's claim, that he's not sure IBM is at the "vanguard" of artificial intelligence.

Josh Brown hailed AMD again and made it his Final Trade, while Jim offered INTC.

Sarat Sethi said he remains all aboard FB, up 13% since his Jan. 13 bull call. Josh Brown called 150 a "magnet" for the name.

Josh insisted he knows nothing about IBM beyond what everyone knows, but he's sure it's going up.

Jim Lebenthal pounded the table for QCOM. He was still standing behind his long-forgotten bad bull call on VZ from January.

Karen: Buy EEM

Josh Duitz of Alpine Funds on Friday's Halftime told Judge he likes AMT and CP as solid plays on the slow-developing infrastructure story; he mentioned the spectrum auction.

But another stock he likes is TMO, and Stephen Weiss said he doesn't get how the spectrum auction factors into Duitz's AMT call. Duitz didn't really answer the question except to say he's looking for opportunities today rather than waiting for longer-term opportunities. Weiss said he still doesn't know how TMO fits into this.

Weiss said the rental-car companies have struggled to raise prices and that he can't remember the last time he rented a car when traveling; he always uses Uber.

Jim Lebenthal doubted Judge's suggestion that maybe CAR and HTZ are due for a pop, decrying "all these things they slip in" to the bill.

Sarat Sethi said to "keep on buying" AAL.

Kevin O'Leary reiterated that he sold all his regional banks and cut his financials exposure to 9%. And, if we have to hear that one more time, we're going to stop watching the program. Not because we have any strong feelings about it, but because we're sick of hearing it.

O'Leary cited Wilbur Ross' comments as motivation for some kind of rebalancing he did.

Weiss trumpeted TBF at the end of the show.

Karen Finerman, in dynamite new hairstyle, touted EEM of all things on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

[Thursday, March 30, 2017]

Chip Wilson: Under Armour ‘built on a deck of cards’

By the end of the conversation, we weren't sure whether UA or LULU was supposed to be worse.

Chip Wilson chatted with Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report and said LULU's numbers were actually "quite good."

However, Wilson faulted the purported lack of vision and the "archaic, staggered board system that Lululemon has."

Judge mentioned Wilson's "very public fight" with the LULU board; Wilson said the company "worked perfectly" through 2010, but into 2013, he thought the CEO was taking the legs out from under the company by "artificially making the stock high."

Judge said the company's had 33 straight quarters of revenue growth and 12 straight quarters of double-digit revenue growth and wonders how it's not performing as Wilson claims.

"Well I think you just have to look at the stock," Wilson said, adding the company's missing a "vision" that can elevate it above a commodity product.

Judge mentioned Wilson taking out bus-stop ads suggesting LULU should buy UA and questioned if LULU shouldn't be bought by someone. Wilson said, "I think you missed the picture," stating the ads were a "joke" about LULU vs. the "inferior wholesale model" of UA.

Judge questioned Wilson's assertion of UA as a "weak company." Wilson said "it was built on a deck of cards," or a "wholesale model," and a couple times cited the demise of Sports Authority.

Steve Weiss said UA would've "sunk the stock" had it bought LULU but wouldn't take a stand on whether Wilson is right about UA. Joe Terranova said he doesn't believe UA "was built on a deck of cards."

Weiss tries to blame color choices for LULU’s stumble

Making excuses for a bad call, Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said Jim Cramer said everyone was "bushwhacked" on LULU.

Insisting the results were fine; "Every part of the problem really was the guidance," Pete said.

Stephen Weiss actually started to say with a straight face that color might be part of LULU's problems. Judge said "there's gotta be more to it than that." Weiss agreed and said Nike and others are creeping into the space.

Weiss said you wait to buy LULU.

Joe Terranova questioned the buzz about LULU (even though the 1-year chart isn't so great) and said, "I'm not sure where I see the excitement." He called it just a "trading stock."

Jim Lebenthal, who made it to NYC for a remote but not Englewood Cliffs, asserted, "I think the stock's going lower here."

He added, "This is a very dangerous stock right here."

Pete Najarian said LULU is not a buy today or tomorrow; he wants to see it get through 54 first.

Joe said maybe athleisure has lost pricing power, pointing to LULU's "online warehouse sale."

Analyst Oliver Chen said he's still on board with LULU because of the "new looks fabric" and the "align pant."

Chen also mentioned the "naked sensation" and "sports bras."

"We see this as temporary," Chen said, but he nevertheless put the stock in the "penalty box" (Drink).

He said it's not as much of a demand problem as a "supply-chain problem." (At least he didn't blame colors.)

Judge asked Chen why he doesn't downgrade to neutral. Chen said there's great international opportunity, and he doesn't think athleisure is dead.

Joe suggested LULU could be an activist target.

Weiss said it's "tough" for activists "because they've been burned on retail a lot."

Pete said maybe the website needs to "be more functional." But Weiss called the website "great."

Ackman personally gave Weiss his best tip

Addressing Bill Ackman's apologetic letter on Thursday's Halftime, Judge welcomed not Ackman nor Carl but author William Cohan.

Cohan said the VRX loss is "potentially devastating" for Pershing Square, though "it's nice" that Ackman is apologizing.

Cohan called Ackman "a high-beta investor."

"If I were a Bill Ackman investor right now, I'd be really p----d off about Valeant," Cohan said.

Stephen Weiss said Ackman had a "really good long-term record before this occurred," however, he should probably stay away from retail.

But Weiss said CP was a "phenomenal" investment for Ackman and that Ackman "personally" told him to buy GGP at 50 cents.

Cohan said Ackman "completely lost his way" on VRX but that Bill is an "incredible optimist."

Scoring points with the home team for sure, Cohan said Judge "oversaw one of the most incredible moments in business television ever."

Analyst actually claims bad Congress could sink stocks 30%

Judge on Thursday's Halftime made a point of Oppenheimer's 3 risks to financials (euro dissolution, incapable Congress and trade war) that could send the whole market down 30% and banks down 40%.

The panel chuckled.

"We're all in Back of America," shrugged Joe Terranova, adding that debt offerings get "gobbled up" immediately and that he's back into RF.

Steve Weiss mentioned LUK again while praising the refreshing "tunnel vision" of analyst Chris Kotowski (who says an incapable Congress could sink banks 40%) (snicker).

Pete Najarian mentioned that the White House tackled health care first (Drink), "the most difficult of them all."

Judge gives panel break from having to deal with the BlackRock active-management issue

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime noticed he was wearing the same shirt as in the January Quicker than the Ticker call on MRVL.

Pete said he just took it off (the stock, not the shirt and tie).

Stephen Weiss predicted CAVM keeps going. Joe Terranova said to stay with SYK, and he touted MCK and PKI.

Weiss got Fast Fired for SXL; he said he's "long gone" from the name with a "minor loss." Pete got Fast Fired for COST; he said he still likes the company.

Anthony Grisanti said crude seems to have a little bit of legs. Scott Nations said crude has a bit more room to the upside.

Pete said 6,000 April 14.5 calls in AMD were bought and that someone sold 17,000 downside puts.

Joe said Adidas goes above 100, though the graphic showed the German shares trading at 177. (Actually we think Joe's referring to ADDYY, which traded around 95.)

Weiss touted the TBF, citing the 10-year trading range from 2.3% to 2.6%. Pete mentioned WDC; the stock took off shortly afterwards.

[Wednesday, March 29, 2017]

Rob Sechan fails to convince Judge that BlackRock’s move isn’t a big win for passive investing

CNBC superfox Leslie Picker on Wednesday's Halftime Report explained BlackRock's new "active/passive hybrid" and said analysts expect competitors to follow suit.

Rob Sechan asserted, "This is not a move from active to passive. This is incorporating technology … to focus on artificial intelligence factors (snicker) and identifying things that value managers and active managers have traditionally used to pick stocks."

Sechan insisted to Judge that the move, "at the end of the day," is merely "creating efficiency" and is not a "repudiation" of active stock-picking as Judge suggested.

Josh Brown, like Sechan, twisted semantics into San Francisco's Lombard Street (that's a nod to Sully), stating "the media has completely missed" the story, it's not active vs. passive nor factor vs. market cap, "it's systematic vs. faith-based investing."

"Faith-based investing." Hmmmm.

Sensing the mounting pile of b.s., Judge blurted that if the BlackRock active funds were doing well, "we wouldn't be having this conversation!"

Sechan concluded that the problem with models is "they work until they don't," and the advisor provides the "subjective component" of figuring out what works "prospectively."

Nobody mentioned the best argument of the other side, that a fund of funds run by a recent guest on the program recently sold for a much higher than average multiple.

Whew — Halftime Report unlike the rest of CNBC spares viewers from another day of hearing pundit state, ‘They should’ve done tax reform before health care’

Wednesday's Halftime Report unfortunately opened flat, with praise for the tech sector; Jim Lebenthal said "there's something for everyone" in the space.

Rob Sechan said the "main message" is that "technology is changing the world more than people think."

Euphoria for AMZN once again bubbled over (even though no one but Steph Link owns it), which is fine, although nobody noted that a year ago, when it fell from upper 600s to upper 400s, people couldn't unload it fast enough, and it was down for the year in calendar 2014.

Stephanie Link struggled to make a serious comment about GOOGL amid chuckles from the rest of the panel about Josh Brown being overweight; Link said she'd be "cautious" about the quarter.

Judge said EBAY doesn't get enough "convo" on the program. Pete Najarian said he owns it.

Jim Lebenthal said it's been a "totally quiet pre-announcement season," which bodes well for stocks.

Iuorio: Oil could reach high 50s

Judge wondered on Wednesday's Halftime Report why no one talks about SBUX's leadership transition the way they do DIS. (See, if they could get Sheryl Sandberg, that'd be soooo awesome.)

Steph Link said the presence of Howard Schultz will remain "very instrumental" in driving the growth. Judge questioned if Schultz just has to be "physically in the building." Link insisted Schultz is "still part of the leadership." Josh Brown said it's not like Eric Trump is running the Trump organization.

Link said she hasn't been involved in SBUX for a long time, but she likes it now on a pullback for China exposure and digital innovation. (And if Howard is "physically in the building.")

Judge said Goldman Sachs cut DNKN to a sell. Josh Brown said that's a "reasonable call" and that the company's results have been "spotty."

Pete Najarian said he likes MCD and YUM.

Josh Brown was rightly hailed for his great call a couple months ago on AMD. He said he owns it and will stick with it.

Jim Lebenthal said NKE fell to 53.92, and "stupid me," he had an order in at 53.50 and missed it.

Stephanie Link likes EL and said she has been adding ETFC.

Pete Najarian said he still wants to own DIS, stating the focus has come off of ESPN.

Anthony Grisanti said crude needs a lot more than extended OPEC cuts to get beyond 50. Jim Iuorio said he thinks technicals are more important than fundamentals now, and it could get to the "high 50s."

Mel apparently getting rich in real estate, trading up ‘all the way’

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime was forced to defend his JCP long but admitted the stock is "hugely volatile."

Josh Brown warned that if JCP hits 5, 4 might be likely. Jim said he doesn't think it's going to 5.

Pete Najarian said he likes LULU into earnings on China and men's and children's growth. But Jim Lebenthal pointed to NKE and predicted a bad quarter.

Rob Sechan advised buying XLF and XLE. (But not because of the "artificial intelligence factors" (snicker).)

Jim Lebenthal reiterated TIF is at the top of his sell list, "but not until it stops goin' higher."

Stephanie Link added to PH.

Josh Brown touted SCHW.

Pete Najarian said TPX May 50 calls were popular; "this thing's going higher."

The most intriguing comment of the afternoon came from Melissa Lee on Power Lunch, talking to the guy on CNBC's new "The Deed: Chicago" show about house flipping and revealing, "I've always looked at the home I bought as an investment and have traded up all the way."

[Tuesday, March 28, 2017]

David Einhorn never once mentions an actual GM product

Who in the world wants to buy a General Motors capital-appreciation stock?

No one, of course. But that didn't stop David Einhorn from trumpeting the idea on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

Einhorn said he's got the "right plan" for GM because the stock is "confronting a very unusual dynamic." That being, it trades at the lowest multiple in the S&P 500 despite a yield over 4%.

So he thinks some investors care about the dividend and not about the earnings, and vice versa, and there should be a stock class for each.

Judge said GM rejected the idea as "unprecedented" and "untested" and claimed it would lead to a credit rating cut. Einhorn said his move would better optimize the cost of capital and called the credit rating claim a "red herring." He said the company appears to have asked agencies about this with the enthusiasm of a 7-year-old boy looking at a plate of raw oysters.

Einhorn said that for his plan not to increase value, "the P.E. would have to contract dramatically on the capital appreciation shares." Um, yep. There's the problem.

Jim Lebenthal said he's "still pounding the table" on GM and pointed out how GM resisted Sergio Marchionne a while back. Jim said he "would" vote for Einhorn's plan, "but I'm not gonna lose sleep if it doesn't pass."

Jim said the problem is, "People don't believe the stock is growing. That's the problem right there." (What about: Nobody ever talks about the products this company makes, so why should anyone get excited about owning it?)

Jim, unfortunately, stated, "It is, I've said this before, the Rodney Dangerfield of stocks. Nobody gives it respect." (Last 4 words, no no no. Please not again.)

Josh Brown said that Einhorn's argument is that if the lack of respect continues with the capital-appreciation security, it can be bought back as almost a private equity play by the company itself. But Jim said, "This shouldn't be what moves the stock higher," suggesting "more buybacks" instead. (What should be moving the stock higher are new products that people are buzzing about. Not sure that's happening.)

Joe Terranova asked if GM can increase its buyback while issuing "upwards of $3 billion" in debt for GM Europe.

"I just don't see how it dramatically increases the, the multiple on the growth side because it's still a car company, it's still got the same issues that it had before," said Stephen Weiss. Weiss said he also isn't sure about the argument that the cost of capital would come down.

Weiss said it's much easier for Einhorn to propose this idea than for GM to accept it. If it doesn't work, "He can move on to the next stock," Weiss said, adding GM can do a buyback or a convert instead.

Pete Najarian like everyone else didn't want to talk about GM cars, but he hailed Einhorn's "view on the economy itself."

Pete nevertheless said he'd be a buyer of Einhorn's plan, citing the "enthusiasm" behind the idea. Joe said he likes the plan; Weiss said he'd buy it because it's a "free option." Kari Firestone said it wouldn't be one of her top names but would be OK, but you'd have to be "patient."

Jim insisted GM hasn't underperformed over the last year including dividends. Judge said "most of that gain is from the election until now."

Einhorn's analogy of swirled ice cream should've noted that the capital appreciation flavor isn't vanilla, but raw oysters. He's a smart guy with a lot more money than we've got, but this idea's downright loopy and pointless. Instead of recommending financial engineering, he should be pointing out how GM can build better and more exciting cars. Then his shares will take off.

4 years? Assuming John Kerry loses 388-150, consider 8

Jim Iuorio on Tuesday's Halftime Report said "a little bounce would be appropriate" in crude, and a sliding dollar would give it a boost.

Jeff Kilburg said if crude settles over 48.60, it might reach 51.03 "in 2 shakes of a lamb's tail."

Pete Najarian said June 150 calls in AAP (that's correct, AAP and not AAPL) were popular. Pete said he's in the stock and selling calls against it and will probably be in the name through June.

Kari Firestone said you can wait for a better price to buy TSLA.

Steve Weiss said there's "pent-up demand" (Drink) for tech spending and he thinks "you've gotta buy" AMZN.

Weiss said biotech will come back.

Joe Terranova still likes GT (even if Pete doesn't like the short-interest strategy).

Kari Firestone likes SHW.

Mel opened Power Lunch with another "tale of 2" (groan) teaser.

Steve Grasso and Dan Nathan haggled for the 2nd day in a row on the 5 p.m. Fast Money over whether the administration is going to sink the market. Nathan on Tuesday predicted "a full-blown political scandal in Washington in the not-too-distant future."

"It's gonna be a long 4 years for you," Grasso told Nathan.

Josh: EEM ‘just getting started’

In a show impressively chock-ful of stock calls, Steve Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said he was in the "minority" last Thursday when he predicted the market wouldn't sell off if health care fizzled.

"Everybody was so poised to buy the dip that the dip never occurred," Weiss said.

Weiss said NFLX is still a great story.

Jim Lebenthal said TIF is "at the top of my sell list," he's just waiting for 2 down days in a row.

Jim also would sell MKC. Chef Judge thought he was being cool talking about spices.

Joe Terranova thanked INTC for listening to his call on MBLY; he said his pro-MBLY call was "lucky" but that it's an appealing company.

Joe got flagged for THC; he said it just can't get out of its own way, adding, "Run for cover, get out, penalty box (Drink)."

Joe said to take off some DRI but he likes the name.

Josh Brown said he thinks EEM strength is "just getting started," a "massive mean-reversion situation happening."

Brown got flagged for HBAN; he said "the intermediate-term trend looks great."

Brown said FB is making things "very, very competitive" for SNAP.

Josh hung a $100 on JPM if the bull market continues.

‘We’re gonna have a flat curve’

Chris Whalen on Tuesday's Halftime Report called financials a "tough story" to justify the valuations; he predicts another 10-15% giveback given where they were in October.

Whalen also said Yellen and her colleagues "don't understand the bond market," and he predicted "we're gonna have a flat curve."

But Pete Najarian said "the fundamentals and the facts" justify strength in banks, and the fundamentals don't suggest JPM is "way overpriced."

Whalen said "cost-cutting was the biggest part of the story" for JPM's last quarter.

Whalen contended the pricing of loans "is as tight as I've ever seen it."

Steve Weiss said if pricing is tight, that means the economy will pick up with more loan growth. Whalen shrugged that Yellen has simply "goosed" the asset class. Weiss said Whalen should be worried about "all the direct-lending companies." Whalen said he totally agrees on those.

Whalen said New York City is "so overbuilt."

We can definitely buy the notion of a stall in banks, but not the 10-15% pullback that Whalen suggests; this is an animal spirits market hell-bent on going higher.

Judge showed a sector chart while Whalen spoke listing "Industirlals" (sic).

More from Tuesday's Halftime, including the David Einhorn interview, later.

[Monday, March 27, 2017]

Kevin O’Leary: Regional banks
are ‘radioactive waste’

Monday's Halftime Report produced an impressive array of divergent opinions about the stock market.

Kevin O'Leary raised the most eyebrows calling regional banks "radioactive waste" that will tumble at least another 10%, then kept saying 15%.

Jim Lebenthal on the other hand said he completely disagrees with O'Leary's forecast, stating "it's hard to see downside from here."

Ian Winer said there's still a "ton of money" looking to buy financials.

Josh Brown suggested rates and deregulation are to blame for banks' slide, but he said sell momentum is slowing and GS is starting to form a "beautiful hammer."

Joe Terranova, who regained momentum with a crisp show, said he agrees that regionals have "lost momentum," but he doesn't agree they're "toxic waste."

Joe said banks haven't recovered from Tuesday's wipeout and because S&P companies are in the "blackout window," he doesn't think now's the time to buy.

"At the end of the day (Drink)," O'Leary said, it's about earnings and deregulation and tax relief.

But late in the program, Josh said O'Leary's comments on regional banks "might represent the bottom."

Ross Levinsohn wouldn’t be surprised to see SNAP $160 a year from now but would be surprised to see SNAP $5 a year from now

Scott Devitt on Monday's Halftime said SNAP, which he initiated at 24 hold, is a "great franchise" with a lot of potential.

"We're a fan; we just think being patient is the right approach to take right now," Devitt said.

(It seems to us that SNAP started to catch a bid last week once both Najarians started gloating about getting out of it.)

Judge wondered if Devitt's view is "colored" by Twitter's struggles. Devitt said Twitter played a role "not at all" and that SNAP has focused on product while Twitter grasped at monetization.

Josh Brown wondered about appealing and troubling metrics for SNAP. "I do think that users are the key," said Devitt, citing user growth and time spent as drivers for the franchise.

Ian Winer said he thinks SNAP could run to 30. Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't know what metrics to look at but said it'll be a "heckuva short before too long."

In $81 million settlement, Gross gets room named after him

Ian Winer on Monday's Halftime Report said we're in the 7th inning of the rally, and the problem with the health care legislative bungle is that we're somehow "a lot less likely" to get tax reform now.

Winer insisted to Jim Lebenthal that if the tax reform is not revenue-neutral, which now appears the case, it'll need 60 votes in the Senate.

Nevertheless, Jim's bullish, even predicting an S&P surge out of the red during the program. "I'll bet you by the end of the show, it's green," Jim said.

Josh Brown dismissed Judge's warning about rate moves. "Rates are inherently (sic useless isn't nearly as important as it's supposed to sound) volatile," Josh told Judge.

"Oil is a problem right now," said Joe Terranova.

Joe said "sometimes the best trade is no trade," and that's where we're at now.

Later in the program, Jim said to buy stocks because people are worried about missing the rally.

Sully delivered breaking news about Gross settling with Pimco for $75-$100 million, all going to charity apparently. (In the category of Lawsuits You Didn't Know Still Existed But At Least The Lawyers Got Paid.)

Najarians take a day off, someone knocks AAPL services

Rod Hall of JPMorgan on Monday's Halftime said AAPL is still "underappreciated," and he finds Street numbers "significantly too low."

He said there's "a lot of evidence" that the new iPhone is good.

Hall told Ian Winer that services isn't driving AAPL, stating people "still have a lot of questions around it."

Jim Lebenthal said it's "easy to see" AAPL reaching a $1 trillion market cap. But Judge said Hall's take on services is one of the most "sobering" we've heard.

NFLX is in ‘buckets,’ and one of those is HBO (or something like that)

Carping about a Barron's call, Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime complained there's a "long road to go" in VIAB before making a 40% move.

He said if you want that kind of move, play options and "buy" (sic) the Najarians' book. (Someone pointed out it's free to the first 300 callers.)

As Judge began a curious series of quarterly updates on panelist calls, starting with Joe and ADBE, Joe admitted he "sold the stock too soon" but said the takeout factor has diminished given the growing market cap. (Still a great call being bullish regardless.)

Josh Brown said it's "weird" that producers are judging his DE call since Jan. 24 when he's been bullish on the stock for at least a year. He said he's still long.

Jim Lebenthal still likes MSG.

Jim said DOW and DD are both fully priced in; he likes CC and CE instead.

Josh Brown said SBUX isn't interesting until it gets over 60.

Ian Winer predicted AMZN can hit $1,000 this year.

Joe said he likes ALL. Ian Winer said to short KMX.

[Friday, March 24, 2017]

Wait’ll they find out tax reform isn’t so easy either

Sully took the helm of Friday's Halftime Report as D.C. sausage-making continued to run off the rails. (This review was posted after the market close.)

Jim Lebenthal shrugged off the possibility of a health care legislative bungle. "You'll get a selloff; it'll be short-lived," Jim said.

Josh Brown said he sometimes feels like he's in an "alternate universe," suggesting there was a big down day this week and White House people being investigated for possible treason and yet stocks were hanging in there; this could be "the strongest, most resilient market I have ever heard of."

Dubravko Lakos said the health care vote only has "marginal" impact on the stock market. John "thousand-point drop" Harwood said there's "zero enthusiasm" for Trump's health care bill but there's "tons of enthusiasm" for tax reform. (Yeah, sure. Right now.)

Jim Lebenthal and Sully tangled over what kind of infrastructure "proposals" are actually out there.

Pete Najarian said that even though Needham downgraded AAPL, "they went from 150 to 165 on the price target (sic last 4 words kinda redundant)."

Jim said MU's "upturn" cycle should continue.

Josh Brown said, "I'll pay you $20 a month to use Tweetdeck."

Lakos called financials the "best sector to own at this point in time" (sic last 7 words kinda redundant), and he'd be adding on the weakness.

Showing off his geography, Sully mentioned "Lombard Street in San Francisco."

Sully introduced Gene Todd, then constantly interrupted Todd as Todd was trying to make a point about health care, which eventually was, "at the end of the day (Drink), it's not gonna matter."

Todd, who did a great job in his first performance, said "a couple days ago," the Atlanta Fed came out with a Q1 growth model that calls for "less than 1%." If that happens, he said, stocks will go down.

Dubravko Lakos said the "biggest value" globally is actually EM and Europe. Lakos backed India, China and Brazil, but Todd is "nervous about China."

Kari Firestone said that aside from the stuff in Washington, GDP is most important for stocks.

Pete said there was aggressive buying in April 37 ETP calls. He also said May calls in ETE were popular.

Jim Lebenthal said to wait for UA to bottom rather than catch a falling knife, "you don't need to be a hero here."

Pete praised PVH, but Josh said he'd rather take a shot at UA, saying the stock's been cut in half on "nothing terrible."

Pete said he gets "hassled" on Twitter for not bringing up SKX, but he likes the margins.

Dubravko Lakos doesn't like retail and thinks the headwinds persist.

Anthony Grisanti actually told Courtney Reagan (in very cute striped top), "I think the health care plan gets done."

Jim Lebenthal backed TRN, suggesting it will have a negative lawsuit verdict overturned (that sounds like Bud Fox and BlueStar Airlines).

Dubravko Lakos touted energy services. Pete Najarian touted CRUS. Jim likes QRVO.

[Thursday, March 23, 2017]

Judge needs to get to the point: There’s nothing to do

Legislation wasn't in the mix, but howling was, on Thursday's Halftime Report, courtesy of CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood.

Harwood said that according to one congressional veteran, it's not September 2008, but (hee hee hee), "Members are thinking of it that way."

"This member said to me, 'If this goes down, we could lose a thousand points off the Dow,'" Harwood actually claimed with a straight face.

Weiss said he doesn't believe the thousand-point thing; "that was said solely to scare people into uh, his fellow, uh, members of the House, into voting for the bill." (Yes. And thanks to Mr. Harwood for being the messenger.)

Weiss said if the market does sell on this, it's a "major buying opportunity" because they'll "double down" on tax reform.

Jim Lebenthal for once told Weiss, "I agree with you completely."

Judge needs to cut through the b.s. and tell viewers the facts: There's nothing to do, and this fellow was certainly not elected to pass legislation; he's there to entertain us.

Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Joe says ‘Carl Icahn’ 4 times in 1 soundbite

Judge on Thursday's Halftime said Elizabeth Warren's reported concerns about Carl Icahn are "not unexpected."

Joe Terranova then proceeded to uncork a doozie, making sure everyone knows whom he's talking about: "Has she ever met with Carl Icahn about her concerns. Before you publicly criticize Carl Icahn, why don't you set up a meeting with Carl Icahn, have a conversation with Carl Icahn about the EPA, about the regulations, then make a determination that you're gonna go public and vilify the man," Joe wondered.

Jim Lebenthal opined, "Senator Warren has done damage to our economy. Our economy would've grown a lot faster without her specific regulations that hindered bank lending. Period."

"But she's so much fun," snickered Steve Weiss, maybe the best line of the day (if you don't count what Joe cooked up), cracking up the panel.

Joe says ‘macro’ 3 times in about 10 seconds as Pete sends mixed messages about whether the market’s going higher or lower

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said he doesn't know that the markets "absolutely implode" if there's no health care legislation. (Translation: According to Pete's body language and manner of speaking, he finds this whole thing irrelevant.)

Joe Terranova said, without a great deal of certainty, "I don't believe Pete is a macro trader, and that's probably to his benefit, but I think if you are a macro trader, this is your first macro event that you get to trade around."

Joe said he was "incredibly surprised" at how well technology held up a day earlier.

Erin Browne said "a lot of guys" consider the Obamacare vote as a "barometer" for whether Trump can do tax reform.

But John Harwood said, "You can write it in Sharpie: Rates — business rates are not going down to 20%." (Is that before or after the Dow falls 1,000 points?)

Harwood said the border tax is "going nowhere" in the Senate (that's one we agree with).

Stephen Weiss noted how X has fallen and claimed the Trump trade has "unwound to a very large extent."

Joe Terranova questioned why government leaders would schedule an embarrassing legislative defeat on a Friday. "You wanna have this vote, if you think it's gonna be a no, on a Monday or Tuesday," Joe explained.

Weiss brought up the 35-40% cash thing again (Drink) to Pete; Pete said last week he took off a "huge number of positions." But "not because I'm negative" (snicker).

Wow — airlines are selling gobs of extra miles to banks and don’t even want the Street to know they’re making good money

In what quite frankly proved a head-scratcher for us, Joe Denardi, who has a 95 on AAL, claimed on Thursday's Halftime Report that AAL has a "marketing company within, within itself" that is "fundamentally misunderstood by the market."

Apparently Denardi believes that American has a lucrative side business selling seats to banks as opposed to flying customers.

He told Joe Terranova (careful, Joe might say the same term 500 times in the course of a question) that the pessimistic Morgan Stanley airline analyst "probably isn't aware that American Airlines is earning roughly 2 billion dollars from selling miles to Citi and Barclays."

Hmmm. Guess bankers are doing a lot of traveling these days. (Or they're just selling/distributing the miles to fliers who otherwise would be buying them from American directly.)

Denardi said there's an "information disconnect" because airlines don't "properly disclose" these revenues.

Hmmm. Even more interesting. Airlines making gobs of extra revenue selling miles to banks … but don't want the Street to know about this revenue stream.

Denardi insisted airlines are "intrinsically (sic unnecessary and always a red flag in stock opinions) mispriced" right now.

Steve Weiss said Denardi's argument "overstates it," because in some ways American is just taking share from other airlines.

Joe briefly runs into a brick wall trying to chide Pete for not endorsing his short-interest strategy last week

Jim Lebenthal on Thursday's Halftime Report said automakers are the "Rodney Dangerfield of sectors."

Even though that's a very tired cliche, we'd be OK for it, except Jim followed with, "I mean, these stocks just can't get any respect."

(No, Jim. No, Jim, no.)

Jim said automakers are cheap because of the perception of being beyond peak auto. But Steve Weiss said the stocks haven't done anything in 2 years since people started talking about peak auto. Then Weiss and Jim haggled over GM's performance of the last 2 years; Weiss concluded it's down and has lagged the market, though not down as much as Ford.

Weiss said the only time GM sold at a high multiple was 10 years ago when it was going under.

Pete Najarian trumpeted GT.

Joe Terranova took note and said he was talking about GT last week and its short interest and that his "Armenian giant" (Pete) didn't agree as it relates to short interest.

"That wasn't me," Pete insisted, shaking his head before realizing, "Oh, I did disagree on that. I hate that strategy," then insisting GT's gain "has nothing to do with that strategy."

Erin: ‘Great time’ for retail

Gorjus Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime said Eric Mindich made the "difficult decision" to return investor capital.

Joe Terranova asked Weiss about Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. about the "macro," the "macro" if hedge funds have struggled for not employing quants. Weiss said they're either quants or they're not.

Pete Najarian gushed that DIS' free cash flow "almost covers" all the buybacks and dividends each year. (Oh joy.)

Joe retraced the PVH chart but didn't really make a call, until he finally said it's a buy at $98.

Erin Browne suggested now's a "great time" to buy retail with the border tax fading away and recommended XRT.

Weiss credited Goldman Sachs for its sell on FEYE that has now become a buy.

Pete said someone was buying CSX April 46 calls and selling twice as many at 50.

Joe asked Pete about Carl Icahn. if the buildout of oil pipelines will hurt rails. Pete said that's a valid point for the future, but this options trade is only through April.

Jim Iuorio said the move lower in oil is "real" and is all about supply. Anthony Grisanti said oil could be "a lot lower" if gasoline wasn't so strong.

Pete and Judge shared a final trade of MAR. Weiss said buy the airlines. Jim touted TIF and Joe touted V.

[Wednesday, March 22, 2017]

Judge helms coverage
of Parliament attack

Wednesday's Halftime Report was preempted by developing news of the attack on British Parliament. Stocks were generally flat midday.

[Tuesday, March 21, 2017]

Rich Greenfield throws in the towel as far as waiting for FB pullback

Rich Greenfield, who on Nov. 3 sought a better entry point in FB (and Feb. 9 touted TWTR), on Tuesday's Halftime Report said FB seemed to have "incredibly high expectations" last year but "is still crushing it."

So now he has a 175 target.

Judge "Duke hater" Wapner asked how closely Facebook is priced to perfection. Greenfield contended "it's not an expensive stock" and with Instagram Stories has a "meaningful new growth leg."

Jon Najarian said "Snapchat has already rolled over in terms of engagement."

Still nothing about the iPad subscription plan that supposedly needs to happen

Toni Sacconaghi told Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report that AAPL is still "very inexpensive" and has a "significant" iPhone 8 cycle ahead, so he upgraded his price target to 160 (that's correct, not as high as Rich Greenfield's FB target).

Jim Lebenthal suggested AAPL longs might be "borrowing those gains" ahead of time in the iPhone upgrade cycle.

Sacconaghi told Josh Brown that Augmented Reality (snicker) "presents a revenue opportunity in and of itself (sic last 4 words redundant) (Drink) for Apple."

Josh notes his cost basis

Jonathan Krinsky, like all the other analysts making upgrades on Tuesday's Halftime, really had no catalyst but just seemed to think his stock (NKE) was doing well and will keep doing so.

Krinsky said NKE is still down 18% from its highs, and "the trend has now finally turned."

Krinsky said "there's a lot of bifurcation (Drink) among the whole retail and consumer discretionary space."

Instead of just saying he's interested in guidance, Joe Terranova said, "Fundamentally Scott, I want to listen very closely to this call and see what their guidance is going to look like as it relates to not only North America but globally, future orders."

Jim Lebenthal said this quarter isn't the most important quarter for NKE. He said he wants to see a miss, because "I don't own enough of it frankly."

Josh Brown used air quotes to show he got long NKE at 50 the last time it "disappointed."

Judge rounds out his routine, catalyst-free round of upgrades with Anthony DiClemente on DIS

Anthony DiClemente was on Tuesday's Halftime Report in a grand slam of analysts (sic not the Denny's Grand Slam®), and whaddaya know, he hung a 125 on DIS … basically because things seemed to be going well.

Josh Brown asked if DiClemente was forced to be "drifting your multiple higher" along with the market. DiClemente conceded the market multiple is "important."

DiClemente told Joe Terranova, "I think we're out of the woods on traditional cord-cutting," but he's "incrementally concerned about" ESPN (Drink) advertising because "SportsCenter" ratings have "really rolled over."

Doc said "very smart traders" were selling ARNC 26 puts. He also said people were selling 9 puts in VALE.

Scott Nations said the euro's move suggests Europe "is about ready to start increasing rates themselves," also he said it speaks to inflation. Brian Stutland indicated he'd much rather buy than sell the euro now.

Jim Lebenthal said he just sold BA and might buy LMT.

Judge said he takes a "beating" for being a Washington Capitals fan, then asked Ted Leonsis about Adam Silver's letter to "all league owners" (sic "league" redundant) about resting players. Leonsis said he responded immediately to Silver, telling him to put the Wizards on TV.

Leonsis said he's "disappointed" in Twitter, and "I'm concerned for the company right now."

Leonsis said the most valuable company in the world is "Apple Computer" (sic).

Doc said he's looking at TSCO. Jim Lebenthal endorsed WGO, Josh backed JPM under 90 and Joe backed WYNN.

‘SportsCenter’ ratings rolling over

Addressing Tuesday's stock-market meltdown, Josh Brown said there were "a lot of overbought charts," but he said the VIX is still a "total snooze."

Jon Najarian pointed out that regional banks were getting killed.

Joe Terranova, who had a quiet show, said, "For traders, for money managers, for hedge fund managers (sic that's just about everyone), today's move is a little bit more consequential as it relates to a possible correction."

Jim Lebenthal said, "I don't think that this is the big selloff correction."

(Sigh) We totally agree; there are still animal spirits running rampant in this market.

"Yes it's Washington, but it's a lot of other things as well," Jim said.

Judge threw in an "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink).

Joe noted, "Oil should be rallying as the dollar is falling."

Paul Richards said there's "disappointment" about the Fed; he said "half of the dollar's fall" is related to Thursday's health care showdown.

[Monday, March 20, 2017]

Judge ‘hates’ Duke,
cheers tourney exit

There was some congressional hearing of some kind taking place around the noon Eastern hour; CNBC opted to knock out the entire Halftime Report.

But CNBC viewers learned early Monday morning that Judge apparently enjoyed a big night Sunday.

Joe Terranova, visiting with the Squawk Box crew, explained that Judge is a "very good friend of mine" and, "He also loves that Duke is knocked out of the tournament. He hates Duke. Hates Duke. He just doesn't like Duke."

Got it. Judge is no fan of Duke.

Becky Quick said, "Joe Terranova made the mistake of showing up in his jacket."

[Friday, March 17, 2017]

SNAP $160 wouldn’t surprise,
but SNAP $5 would

Ross Levinsohn, star guest of Friday's Halftime Report, said the "loser" in the evolving television landscape "is the cable channel today, I won't name one, that has a prime-time audience of 0.0. That's their prime-time audience. And that company today makes $30 million in EBITDA. And you go, 'How is that possible?' Well, they're part of the bundle, and they get paid 3 cents a sub, and there are 80 million subs, and you just go, like, 'That can't go on.'"

It's a great point about the system. But as far as we can see (and as Levinsohn sort of indicated), there are always going to be bundles, whether skinny or not.

Levinsohn said he sees NFLX in "buckets" and thinks of NFLX as HBO.

He also said Snapchat has 31% of social media users and 2% of the ad dollars. (Which tells us that it's never going to monetize, but Levinsohn seems optimistic about this disparity.)

Jon Najarian questioned if advertisers will embrace SNAP. Levinsohn said, "100%."

Levinsohn credited SNAP for "flawless execution" in the IPO and twice mentioned that Facebook's IPO had troubles.

Levinsohn pointed out that NBC Universal is an investor in SNAP and said he "wouldn't be surprised" if SNAP was 160 a year from now, but he would be surprised if it's $5.

Nevertheless, Steve Weiss said at the end of the program that he'd be short the name.

Meanwhile, Levinsohn said Jack Dorsey needs to pick a home; "I just don't think you can run 2 companies."

He said Donald Trump has "really provided an incredible boost to the newspaper industry."

Judge asked Levinsohn a bunch of questions about TRCO; Levinsohn said "it's been reported" that Sinclair has approached Tribune Media; "I don't want to end up in jail, or the SEC calling me," he told Judge.

He didn't answer Judge's question as to whether TRCO would be "open" to a transaction, rather, he said reports that entities are interested in the business are "accurate."

Levinsohn told Judge that the TRCO board has "responded" to Jeff Smith, it's in the public filings.

Judge wonders if someone is ‘wavering’ about calling a 5% gain in the S&P

Jonathan Golub on Friday's Halftime said Europe looks even better than the U.S. right now.

Erin Browne agreed Europe's the place to be, but she thinks it's all about timing, and "you're gonna get a better entry point."

That sounds good, but it reminds us of Karen Finerman's recent comment about the whole better entry point thing, that you need to correctly call both the time to be out and the time to get back in.

And Josh Brown asked Erin if maybe a Le Pen win, like Brexit and Trump, would actually be a "buy the news" event, which is frankly quite possible given how crowded the sell-the-Le-Pen-win notion seems to be.

Erin insisted it wouldn't, because it would disrupt "the entire sanctity of the European construct."

Doc made a good point, that Erin's situational trade would have more oomph if the Dutch elections hadn't turned out the way they did.

Judge asked Golub if he's "wavering" on his 2,500 S&P target. Golub said if he's wavering at all, it's that the number isn't even bigger.

Golub suggested Trumpcare is "probably dead on arrival."

Steve Weiss said he wouldn't be in VRX and offered reasons for why Ackman might've sold.

Josh Brown said FAST is experiencing higher lows and said there really aren't sellers over 52.

Doc said there was an aggressive put buyer in ADBE; he thinks maybe that buyer was just hedging a long into earnings. Josh Brown was touting ADBE at the top of the show. Doc said he's going to stay long LB while holding his August 45 puts.

Doc said someone was buying April 40 CFG calls "with abandon"; he got in and plans to hold for a couple weeks.

Doc likes NVDA; Josh backed the VGK.

Josh: AMZN ‘coiled’

In a tepid opening to Friday's Halftime, Josh Brown said the "supreme irony" of the rally is that it's being led by tech, not by "Trump trades."

Judge referred to the SMH, "in and of itself" (sic redundant).

Stephen Weiss said he's not sure that tech is the "anti-Trump trade," that repatriation and a better consumer help.

Weiss touted AAPL and CAVM.

Josh Brown said AMZN is "coiled."

[Thursday, March 16, 2017]

Klaus Kleinfeld, ‘use if needed’
(isn’t it Arconic?)

Klaus Kleinfeld has been a regular CNBC guest, but he couldn't have been too thrilled with the graphics gremlins on Thursday's Halftime Report. (Looks like someone confused the description box with the caption box.)

Judge mentioned the Elliot fight against Arconic and tossed in an "in and of itself" (Drink). In a clumsy exchange with the Najarians about both AA and ARNC options activity as well as Paul Singer's initiative, Pete said AA 36 calls expiring April 7 were being bought in the morning, so he jumped in.

Meanwhile, in a curious bullish rationale, Doc suggested buyers of August puts in LB were simply hedging a long position.

Kevin O'Leary said there are "3 forces in play" in the market, including deregulation, tax reform and protectionism. O'Leary reaffirmed he dislikes regional banks. Kari Firestone made a case for regional banks. (Zzzzzzzzzzz.)

Joe Terranova brought up the SPR and said pipelines are the opportunity in energy, because of "corroding" storage; he said that's a problem for names such as HES, "highly sensitive (sic not 'tethered' this time) to the price of oil."

Joe said DG "still has not recovered from the August selloff," when he "lost a bunch of money."

Kari Firestone said ORCL was "much hated" on the Street; now it's a "love affair" and the chart has broken out. Pete said he had to take off his position because of the gain.

Pete also said he had to take off his LOW stake.

Doc said the short interest in GPRO is "massive," but he doesn't think job cuts are enough and doubts the stock gets much over $9.

In some kind of theme-stock-picking, Pete mentioned the builders including BZH. Kari Firestone mentioned CHTR and Doc touted C and BAC.

Pete praised Elon Musk for getting ahead of the money-raising story.

Jeff Kilburg said he's still bullish on gold; "there's more room to run." Scott Nations said over 1,260 would be "very bullish."

Doc touted NTAP. Kari Firestone endorsed TJX. Joe said he likes LUV on Trump's plan to privative air traffic control.

Joe defines ‘trading’ for Judge

It seemed Thursday's Halftime crew was missing the forest through the trees, as this market seems to be in no-man's land.

No question, this is raging animal spirits, but right now, we're in pause mode, and there's nothing to buy, evidenced by the lukewarm commentary on the Halftime Report.

Mohamed El-Erian on Thursday said there was a "technical reaction" to the Fed's move, and "there's an ongoing transition in Fed policy"; he even claimed it's a "more confident Fed" that will "lead markets rather than follow them."

Richard Fisher said there's an "orange swan" effect, but Yellen has taken "just the right tone."

Mike Farr was also on the show.

Joe Terranova told Judge, "You have to have a strategy," which is, finding stocks with "negative sentiment, strong outperformance relative to the S&P, and then high short interest." He suggested WYNN, GT, TIF, IRM, DLR.

Pete Najarian said you don't have to look at short interest, but "fundamentals" and "growth."

Eventually, Judge told Joe, "You were short, uh, S&Ps!"

Joe responded, "No, what- what I had was probably a 4-5-day period that I talked about it, where I thought the market was gonna correct. It did. And that's called trading."

Kari Firestone said the market's been driven by a small number of large stocks, and there is "catch-up" opportunity in small- and mid-caps.

Richard Fisher pointed out the dollar hasn't taken off since the Fed began hiking.

Mike Farr asked Richard Fisher if the Fed is behind the curve. Fisher said "it doesn't matter," that's a "theoretical argument" (snicker).

Doc said people were "aggressively selling" March SPY 239 calls and buying IWM puts, but they only want "2 days of coverage."

[Wednesday, March 15, 2017]

Tom Lee is still promoting the dumbest stock acronym of all time

Wall Street analysts and strategists are always looking for a hook to make their research stand out.

Fair enough; that's competition.

But few ideas are as loopy or tiresome as Tom Lee's CRAP trade, which gets about a weekly airing on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Not only is it a dumb choice for an acronym, but it doesn't even stand for the sectors Lee is recommending.

He said on Wednesday's Fast Money, "The C is tel- technology, computers, right, which is old tech, which would be an example like Oracle, Microsoft, Intel, automation."

Interesting. None of those 3 stocks even begins with a "C."

"R is for resources, which is energy and basic materials," Lee continued.

A bit of a reach, but better than the "C."

Then there was, "A is American-based banks."

So think "American," but buy something actually beginning with a "B."

"And the P is for telecom carriers, phone carriers."

Really. The "P" apparently stands for phone, but not iPhones.

We hardly know anything, but when it comes to stuff like this, these Wall Street hotshots are actually the amateurs and should turn to experts for how to do this right.

So basically, Lee recommends categories he calls "Computers" and "Phones," but he doesn't recommend AAPL.

Lee should've recommended Semis, Housing, Infrastructure and Telecom and called it a day.

This is when knuckleheads sitting at home can listen to Lee's CRAP and watch Ackman take VRX from 250 to 10 and say, with actually some degree of truth, "I can do as well as these guys."

Gundlach: Carter does a great job

In a series of eloquent comments on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Jeffrey Gundlach touted a regular on the 5 p.m. Fast Money/Options Action.

Gundlach said "everybody loves the dollar," but "There was a good tech- technical, uh, case made on Fast Money, uh, yesterday, that technical guy, I think his name is Carter, I might have it wrong, I apologize if I do … he does- he does a great job, I like watching him, and he pointed out, that it's just not true, historically, when the Fed hikes, that financials outperform."

Gundlach said you'd have to be on "Mars" to think the Fed wasn't going to hike on Wednesday. He said we may be looking at "sequential rate increases" and asserted that talk of a steepening yield curve is "just dead wrong."

He said the bond market is "set up for a rally" in weeks ahead, stating there's a "massive short position" against the bond market. He called 2.60, 2.65, if it holds, "a great technical spot for a rally."

"We just don't see a recession coming at all," Gundlach said. But he said the U.S. is "very expensive" based on Robert Shiller's CAPE ratio, so take the opportunity to diversify globally.

Gundlach told Josh Brown he's not interested in REITs. Gundlach told Doc that any negative-yielding bonds such as the 2-year bunds will eventually be seen as a "historical mutant."

"I continue to think Chipotle's a good short," Gundlach said, adding he's "made a fortune on it."

TWTR: the worst tech stock

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the market's "begging" for a hike.

Stephen Weiss said the market is ready for "firmer language."

Rick Rieder said the inflation description will be "interesting."

Josh said he bought SCHW and JPM in the morning.

Diana Olick said homebuilder sentiment surged to a 12-year high. Josh said "we called these breakouts in the builders in real time on this show, about 3 weeks ago," pointing to ITB and saying the XHB is just breaking out now.

Bob Iaccino said he's going to sell rallies in crude around 49 or 50. But Anthony Grisanti is "gonna buy the dips."

The Najarians gushed about AAPL services and potential repatriation. Weiss said repatriation isn't a catalyst for buying AAPL, because "they issued as much paper as they want at 25 bps, so bringing it back here means nothing to them essentially."

Josh Brown said the AAPL RSI is 76 after being 90.

Weiss said he agrees with the notion that TWTR's the worst stock in tech, "and SNAP may be behind it at some point, by the way."

[Tuesday, March 14, 2017]

‘Thesis creep’

On Tuesday's weather-impaired Halftime Report, Josh Brown, on the phone, assured "the market gods" that he wasn't taking joy from Bill Ackman's VRX disaster.

Jon Najarian, from Chicago, told Judge, "I'm not gonna rip on Ackman, um, I feel bad for him."

But then David Maris dialed in, gloating that VRX was "a big fat pitch. It was easy to see … people just didn't have the courage to call it for what it was."


Maris bluntly said he disagrees with panelists' comments, apparently because they failed to say Ackman didn't take enough "responsibility" for the investment.

Maris said Ackman's VRX debacle stems from "thesis creep."

Judge said Ackman thinks VRX might double. Maris scoffed that those who would "script" such remarks would probably say exactly that, pointing out that if Ackman really thought it would double, he would just sit on it. (Of course, Judge pointed out, as he had for about the last 20 hours, that Ackman exclusively told him the VRX position was simply "taking too much time.")

Doc explained that Ackman could've hedged his position and eased the pain, then curiously stated that Carl Icahn in HLF did "exactly the opposite" of what Doc was just suggesting for Ackman. (Sort of like a different point within the point one's trying to make.)

Josh Brown admitted, "It is, a really really bad loss. It is a debacle of a stock."

Karen Finerman said on the 5 p.m. show that Ackman can't be "wildly optimistic" about the stock.

Book is called Even the Odds, can read excerpts here

CNBC superfox Leslie Picker on Tuesday's Halftime Report said some see Ackman's VRX gambit as "kind of a deja vu of JCPenney," even though the dollar amount this time is much worse.

Pete Najarian asserted that at the Najarian shop in Minneapolis, they avoid disasters like this because "5% allocation is the biggest that we will go."

Kari Firestone trumpeted Bill Ackman's record, asserting, "This is one trade among mony." Firestone added, "I wrote a book about risk-taking," which apparently Bill didn't heed during this experience.

Kourtney Gibson, who peppers her comments with "at the end of the day" (Drink) and did so 4 times (sic Quadruple Drink) on Tuesday within about 90 seconds, said the message is, "Be disciplined."

Sensing a trend, Leslie Picker even threw in her own "at the end of the day" (Drink).

Josh Brown said it wasn't just Ackman in VRX, that it was one of the most crowded hedge-fund hotels he's ever seen, stating Sequoia was in it too and pointing out this wasn't an overnight collapse but one that took years.

David Maris said VRX stock on Tuesday was feeling the effects of the market recognizing that an important insider is walking away. He said the fair value of VRX is $10-$13, but you'd want to buy it below that to give yourself a "pretty big margin of safety."

Probably overstating things a bit, Bethany McLean on Power Lunch said that when Ackman came on CNBC and said Jim Chanos' VRX analysis was wrong, it was a "great moment in, in, in history and a great moment in TV."

Seema makes it to Englewood Cliffs, wears royal blue

Michael Morris on Tuesday's Halftime said "sure," he feels a little late on his DIS call; now he's "incrementally enthusiastic" on the stock.

Morris said investors haven't gotten over the "ESPN overhang" (Drink), which is what makes the stock appealing.

Jon Najarian called DIS a buy, even mentioning Zika (first time we've heard that on the show in many months).

"Free agent" Mike Mayo, offering some goofy "pi" theory (but at least he made it to Englewood Cliffs unlike everyone else), had mike trouble; Judge deftly filled airtime before Mayo could make the case for rising net interest margin.

But Mayo said there could be a "speedbump with the Trump bump" in bank stocks.

Pete Najarian, from Minnesota, asked Mayo if C has "the most torque" now. Mayo said it's still trading below tangible book, but "I don't think Citigroup is moving fast enough."

Kourtney Gibson said JPM "has a tremendous way to go still."

Judge brought in weatherfox Angle Lassman, who was a volleyball recruit at Florida Institute of Technology and enjoys the beach and fashion in her spare time, for an update on the big Northeastern storm.

Doc said April 6 calls in WFT were popular; he speculated that the buyers were "betting on a quick pop out of crude." Pete Najarian said DAL has pulled back from the Buffett Bump, but the June 50 calls were being bought.

Brian Stutland said oil's plunge figures to have shaken some people out, but it has to hold $46 to maintain the uptrend. Jim Iuorio said he's looking for a short-term bounce to 49 or 50.

Doc said you might get a chance to buy FDX at 185.

"Nike, the marketing machine is back," declared Kourtney Gibson.

Pete Najarian agrees with Bank of America's pro-WMT call, citing ecommerce.

Doc's Final Trade was DLPH. Pete said JPM even though he doesn't own it. Kourtney Gibson said she bought XOM just before the show.

[Monday, March 13, 2017]

Josh: 50 ‘easy’ for SCHW

On the Feb. 24 Halftime Report, when the stock was 47, Andrew Left announced a short of MBLY.


Judge of course never mentioned that on Monday's Halftime, preferring to sleep while his panelists haggled over whether there's a mean reversion with non-U.S. markets.

Pete Najarian called MBLY a "great fit for Intel." Sarat Sethi said to watch Delphi.

Judge questioned if MBLY got a high enough price. Stephen Weiss said he's looking into it. Sarat Sethi suggested the price reflects a "peaking" auto cycle.

Everyone being asleep at the switch, the forest was missed through the trees, specifically 1) how this deal reflects the animal spirits of this market and 2) this deal might account for Doc's unusual call-buying in INTC recently. (Note: The announcement didn't do much for INTC.)

Meanwhile, Meg Tirrell explained why people like the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to run the FDA.

Weiss said he's heard Gottlieb on the air, "he cuts right to it, he's very commercial, and no politics when he talks."

Pete Najarian suggested Gottlieb might be good for big pharma. Weiss joked that people should buy the Russian XBI, actually one of the show's best lines in months.

Weiss said if the Fed doesn't hike in March, the 10-year yield will "collapse."

"Anything with banks would get killed," said Sarat Sethi.

Josh Brown said 50 is "easy" for SCHW.

Joe Terranova said NAV has "stabilized the rate of decline."

"Boeing's just a market stock at this point," Weiss said.

Sarat Sethi said to own MSFT and keep owning it.

Pete said October 11 calls in ECA were popular while people were selling April 10 puts. (No one said a word about the all-important oil plunge.)

Joe likes the buy-MRVL call. Sarat Sethi said to look at the macro situation as well as the stock. Josh Brown said the stock is at resistance, so it might take a pause, but the longer it consolidates here, the better it looks.

Joe touted BX and said Judge didn't like his tie.

Weiss likes XBI. Brown likes AMD, and Sethi likes semis, specifically QCOM, INTC and NVDA. (This writer is long NVDA.) Joe likes V over MA. Josh likes both. Sarat Sethi has been selling MMM as it hits all-time highs.

The show would've been a disaster (see below) if not for the double-presence of Seema Mody in cream/beige slacks combo, including hand in pocket.

Someone persuaded Judge on MBLY deal day to spend 20 minutes on EM catch-up scenarios


The only positive was that this didn't happen in the presence of Tim Seymour.

In authorizing an uninteresting, pointless and quagmire of a conversation about non-U.S. equities, Judge demolished the always-crucial opening 20 minutes of Monday's Halftime.

At the end of the program, he admitted he let the panel "go unabated for like 6 (sic) straight minutes at the top of the show."

Joe Terranova curiously said, "I think everyone's kinda behind the curve here on these geographic allocations."

Sarat Sethi said you can get "huge emerging markets" and international exposure from companies such as Nestle, Novartis, Diageo.

Josh Brown was the one who got carried away, stating Europe stocks have had a "lost decade," fair enough, but contending that ultimately, laggards such as Europe will outperform, and S&P players should prepare for that.

But Stephen Weiss said it takes catalysts to move stocks, pointing out Italy and Spain haven't grown for a decade. Josh said earnings are accelerating. Weiss the reflation trade hasn't happened in Europe yet and won't happen until Draghi takes his foot off the gas pedal.

Sarat Sethi said, "If Europe goes up, so do we."

Josh said "there's no right way" to gain emerging market exposure and pointed out that over time, a lot of the returns stem from currency, and it'd be a shame to get the stocks right but the hedging wrong.

Joe insisted there's been a "monumental shift in fiscal policy initiatives in India."

Josh haggled with others multiple times over stocks vs. "revenues."

[Friday, March 10, 2017]

Richards: A year without
big corrections

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said he thinks we'll get a correction, because of the 10-year, but not more than 7%.

Tony Dwyer, who's been defying Karen Finerman's logic in trying to call a correction, noted a lot of enthusiasm but said not to abandon long positions; if you're "levered long," come back to a normal position; he actually claimed he wants the VIX to be over 20 before buying.

Nevertheless, "The animal spirits are alive," Dwyer admitted.

On the other hand, Paul Richards stated, "I really love big corrections in markets. This is a year we're not gonna get them."

Richards added, "As long as we can get through France in May, we should be absolutely fine."

Richards also suggested now's a good time to buy Europe.

Josh Brown said one of the worst things you could've done in the last couple years is getting out in anticipation of corrections.

Brown said MAN is having a "flawless uptrend."

Jon Najarian explained why the rate hike is "priced in," which makes him think yields aren't breaking out to 3.0%.

Seema Mody electrified the program in new black ensemble with a Kensho Stats update.

‘This is a buy in oil’

Sounds like Friday's Halftime gang wasn't having John Kilduff's $42 crude prediction nor Joe "40 is 'where it possibly is headed'" Terranova's warning from a day earlier.

"This is a buy in oil," Paul Richards said Friday, suggesting the Saudis won't allow a crash.

Doug Terreson told Judge we're "pretty close" to a short-term crude low and said he'd put "real money" into Shell and CVX as well as COP.

In a curious presentation that sorta suggested oil's plunging and that oil might've bottomed at the same time, Jon Najarian said April 45 puts in WTI "were just exploding," but then the volatility cooled off on Friday.

Even Tony Dwyer said he's getting "warmer, not colder," to energy as oil falls.

On Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman pointed to the Saudi Aramco deal and suggested a "concerted, huge effort" to maintain "some sort of floor on oil."

Josh Brown nonetheless said WTI is "what's bothering the market." Doug Terreson agreed with Jim Lebenthal's suggestion that refiners, some with high valuations, are being priced with "more of a hybrid-type valution."

Liesman: 55 ‘perfect’ for oil

Steve Liesman on Friday's Halftime said the jobs report would've had to be a lot weaker to derail a Fed hike.

Liesman said the market and Fed are actually "pretty much on the same page" for a change in rate-hike outlook.

He also stated 55 crude is a "perfect number" and suggested the Fed won't be too concerned around 49.

Josh Brown said he's been waiting for YUM to take off; maybe Evercore's Friday upgrade will do the trick.

Jim Lebenthal completely disagrees with the WGO downgrade.

Jon Najarian said MTN's strategy of buying up smaller resorts is working.

Josh Brown said he still likes NVDA "for all the original reasons." He suggested setting a stop just below 95. Doc said what NVDA is doing with MSFT is just "amazing." He likes NVDA but likes MSFT "even more." (This writer is long NVDA.)

Brown also touted AMD.

Judge suggested again that Tepper's comments have kept SNAP afloat.

Jim Lebenthal retouted GM.

Doc touted CSCO on the strength of July 36 calls.

[Thursday, March 9, 2017]

If oil’s going to 40, shouldn’t we be buying airlines?

The monstrous week (actually just a couple days) of crude oil was front and center on Thursday's Halftime Report.

Unfortunately, things got off to a sluggish start when Joe Terranova spent minutes explaining why it shouldn't be a surprise before finally addressing Judge's question as to whether it affects the stock market: "Yes it does if you get below $40," said Joe.

Actually, we're just the amateurs, but if oil slides to 41 over the next few weeks, the stock market isn't going anywhere.

Jim Lebenthal backed Joe's comments about this not being a surprise. Sarat Sethi said "the band of 40 to 60 still works."

Stephen Weiss seemed to think crude and growth are not tied at the hip, stating you'd have to be living in a cave for the last 6 months or a year to believe the U.S. economy is not improving.

Then came CNBC longtime oil expert John Kilduff, who said crude's slide is "confirmatory" (sic) that long speculators have "thrown in the towel," and we'll see the November lows of $42. (Actually, if they've already "thrown" it (past tense), it's probably a buy.)

Jon Najarian, who along with Steph Link was rattling off oil plays a couple days ago, said oil's slide will be a "catalyst" for some of the smaller names to get rolled up.

Judge asked one of the best questions but didn't ask it well enough, whether we're going to have more of those high-yield concerns like when oil began to slide in 2015. Weiss said the high-yield markets are familiar at dealing with this, so no. (Judge didn't ask whether Texas banks or other Texas plays will take a hit if crude reaches Kilduff's level.) (Or whether some dictator might create a "geopolitical incident" to goose the price.) (Or whatever happened to the $250 "supershock.")

Sarat Sethi touted refiners, but Joe and Jim suggested that in the short term, they might not be so great.

Joe said he "wouldn't get too excited" about natural gas' climb. But Kilduff says he likes it now.

Curiously, you'd think that if crude is falling to Kilduff's level or Joe's possible 40 while Weiss' great economy is still intact, you'd think airlines would be a screaming buy. Sarat Sethi said he'd buy AAL at these levels but predicted upside in the sector only starting in the 2nd quarter.

Anthony Grisanti, who just a week ago predicted crude will hit 60 by early summer, said people bought gold when Trump was elected fearing a bad economy, but that's not happening, and he doesn't see a reason to own gold. Jeff Kilburg noted the technicals but warned of tension with China over South Korea.

Panelists would rather talk to Toni about AAPL than TSLA

Toni Sacconaghi, who initiated TSLA with a $250 target, joined Thursday's Halftime to talk about that name rather than his staple, AAPL, and said he likes the electric-car market long term but thinks a lot has been priced in to TSLA. (But he didn't mention a subscription model.)

Toni said SCTY adds "incremental risk" to Tesla but then said with a straight face that Tesla "wants to build an integrated environmentally friendly home where you'll have Tesla solar panels, you'll have Tesla energy storage that will- will capture that, uh, the energy from that storage, and it'll charge your car. And you can return that energy back to the grid. That's a compelling vision."

Ah. The stock is discounting everyone building solar-panel homes and using the energy collected from them to charge their electric cars. (Remember when Steve Cortes used to call the solar space a joke?)

Steve Weiss shrugged off TSLA as "too expensive" and said it'll take years to grow into its valuation. It didn't sound like anyone on the panel owns it or wants to own it.

Jim: Beware ‘point of no return’ of rising rates

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime affirmed, "I stand by what I said the other day" about "plenty" of hedge fund managers being "uniquely qualified" for this market a social media correction. He said FB is the one name he'd buy on a pullback.

Stephen Weiss knocked the UBS analyst for putting only 10% upside on REGN. He said most of the recommendations were "generic," but he'd "dig into" the BIIB sell recommendation a bit more.

Jon Najarian said there was a "huge surge" in HIG March 49 calls. He said they bought April 55s too.

He said SPLS was "not an exciting stock" on Thursday.

Jim Lebenthal said the SIG-TIF story, "a tale of 2 companies," has "absolutely reversed" in the last year and a half, and SIG is now "very cheap."

Jim said he likes QCOM rather than MU.

Weiss mentioned CAVM.

Joe Terranova endorsed the TBT. Weiss (again) (Drink) mentioned OA. Jim said he's going to buy MSG because he doesn't think he owns enough of it. Doc said he likes WFM April 30 calls.

Jim Lebenthal suggested "there's gonna come a point of no return" (sic different than Day of Reckoning apparently) if rates keep rising to 3%.

[Wednesday, March 8, 2017]

Best calls of the 2017 market (besides Seema’s scorching olive green)

On Wednesday's Halftime, Judge reported that Carl Icahn reckons the market might have "run ahead of itself."


Judge didn't explain whether Carl is as hedged now as he was in August … when he really thought the market was ahead of itself.

Judge also reported David Tepper's comments from Squawk Box about not liking bonds but liking stocks at least to some degree.

Stephen Weiss said that what Tepper and Icahn said is not "terribly dissimilar." But the question, unasked by Judge, is why Carl's forecast is any more relevant than Marc Faber's.

"Financials I still think have a lot of room to go," said Weiss.

Jim Lebenthal insisted a rate hike doesn't matter and assured viewers they shouldn't try to time a correction, which brings us to an important observation: The 3 (or 4) most relevant comments about the 2017 stock market.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money just recently cross-examined Tim Seymour's over-commentary on preparing for a pullback, with Karen noting that to play a pullback, you have to guess right on the timing of both the pullback and the time to re-enter, which seems very hard to do.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money has repeatedly stated the old axiom, "The market doesn't give you this long to sell the top." That's been absolutely true since the election, and when some folks have panicked on the few bad days, there's actually been no reason to exit … anything.

Around the inauguration, Steve Grasso pointed out that everyone was talking about the buy-the-election-sell-the-inaugural trade, and stocks' performance on Inauguration Day confirmed the market was only going higher.

Finally … most importantly of all … it's been said by a few people from time to time, including Kevin O'Leary, but not as well as Jon Najarian said it on Wednesday's Halftime, asserting Mark Cuban is "so wrong, because the animal spirits that were bottled up for 8 years are loose."

Like Wade Garrett put it in "Road House," exxxxxxxxxxxxxxactly.

There's a level of giddiness about the stock market not seen in this century, people excited about doing ANYTHING in this market, chasing the leaders, the laggards, the longs, the shorts, it's like if Cincinnati Reds fans were seeing a redux of the 1976 season.

Things will go up and things will go down, but the stock market is going to be the place to be for a while.

Kilburg: Crude’s $50 backstop

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime dismissed Judge's notion that David Tepper might have "reset the narrative" in SNAP, stating the stock has temporarily run out of sellers and it still has to deal with decelerating growth.

Jon Najarian said SNAP is making the "same kind of claim" as GoPro did about becoming a media company. Doc said Tepper bought SNAP "because it's defensible because nobody can sell for a year. I mean of the insiders."

Steve Weiss said Tepper bought it "for the reason he buys everything, OK. Because he thought it was going up." But Weiss said SNAP can't possibly move the needle for Tepper given the size of his stake.

In the day's major development, Jeff Kilburg said crude's move is a "big deal thing" and said the move is "flushing a lot of weak longs."

But he thinks the range is intact. "I think they protect $50," Kilburg said.

Brian Stutland said 51 crude is time to "maybe step in."

Jesse Drucker of the New York Times eloquently explained how a professor believes that Caterpillar intentionally has been repatriating cash and avoiding taxes to boost its stock price.

Josh Brown made a good funny about CAT; "spoiler alert, they'll pay a fine, no one'll really have any serious problem. The stock price maybe hiccups back into that gap."

Doc said INTC May 39 calls were being bought in big numbers.

Josh Brown pointed out the XLV is having a good year.

Josh said to watch the IYR ahead of a Fed hike; he'd be buying at a 4% yield.

Jim Lebenthal said AAPL is becoming "more of a market stock." He owns it and won't sell it but can't call it cheap.

ADDYY watcher Erinn Murphy said the company has "resurging brand momentum"; she likes it better than NKE and has a 51 target on the latter.

Murphy said the presence of NKE and ADDYY "crowds out" potential growth for UAA.

Jon Najarian said he loves ADDYY. Jim Lebenthal said he has a half-position in NKE and wouldn't mind a 10% discount to pick up the other half; he said a 21 P.E. for the name is cheap.

Doc said he's not in SWKS despite its big year. Weiss mentioned ESLT, "an under-the-radar name." Doc said to watch BCRX, "exploding to the upside."

Judge referred to the push-pull of the Trump presidency "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink).

Jim Lebenthal said he's selling his firm, Lebenthal Asset Management, to South Street Securities. Congrats to Jim. Judge didn't ask if the multiple is higher than what SkyBridge got.

[Tuesday, March 7, 2017]

Joe says ‘plenty’ of hedge fund managers are ‘uniquely qualified’ for the current no-vol, straight-up market

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Leslie Picker noted, "It's fun to hate hedge funds these days."

Agreed. Which is why SkyBridge Capital's sale at 7.2 times normalized EBITDA when the going rate is 3-5 times earnings is all the more impressive, but somehow the numbers haven't even been mentioned in nearly 60 minutes of Halftime Report interviews over the last 2 months.

But whatever.

Picker on Tuesday reported on how a Delaware judge wrote about not liking activist funds.

"It's probably more gray than it is black or white," said Josh Brown, who called the article "extraordinarily one-sided" and said it "probably is not backed up with data."

Joe Terranova then proceeded to wade into a hornets nest, trying to defend the "plenty" of hedge fund managers who are "uniquely qualified" for today's market.

Brown was having none of it. "There's probably a couple of hundred out of 11,000," shrugged Josh, asking if Joe can identify those in advance and is it worth the cost to identify them and can people even get in to the ones that are identified.

Josh said for a $3 million household to set aside $500,000 to find the next David Einhorn is "laughably hilarious." Joe said he's talking about folks with $20 million or $25 million. "The data says they can't do this either," Josh said.

But both agreed that Carl Icahn can do it.

But neither explained what's happened to the "Day of Reckoning."

Joe suggests social-media rollover is on the horizon

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime the way he's opened most of them since late November, stating there are "some" people (sic unclear who, perhaps Day of Reckoning types) "calling for a bigger pullback in the weeks ahead."

Jon Najarian said he thinks we'll just get a "softening."

Joe Terranova said the rallies that used to extend late in the day aren't doing that anymore and are no longer taking us to new highs, "we haven't seen that in a while" (sic actually occurred Wednesday). He said the rate hike would be OK, though it's possible the Friday print could make the market "really, really uncomfortable" with it.

Joe suggested the big pullback could come unannounced, based on something overseas, where people "wake up in the morning" and the plunge has already happened. (Sounds like a Day of Reckoning.)

Doc said he's "completely out" of SNAP and knocked the company's paltry revenue. In another eyebrow-raiser, Joe offered, "I think the bigger question is, at what point do all these social media companies begin to roll over." (LNKD can't roll over; it already got bought for $26 billion.) (This is what the hedge fund managers of $20-$25 million households earn their money for.)

No takers for PBR

Jim Iuorio on Tuesday's Halftime Report said he thinks crude goes "probably higher." Scott Nations said oil's in the middle of a "gently upward channel."

Sully spoke with the Petrobras chief, Pedro Parente, who said the company's implementing its strategic plan. (Zzzzzzzzzz.) Parente said the company's working on a 50-60 crude range for 3 years (unless he said 2 years; we're not totally sure).

Josh Brown said PBR is "not a well-run company" and attributed its gains to finally no sellers being left.

Stephanie Link, who said at one point she's looking at energy for "laggards" and that this is the seasonal time for energy, suggested CVX and APC and EOG and CXO and WFT with its "game-changer" CEO.

Joe Terranova said he'd rather try CHK than PBR.

Doc noted WFT's big day (Judge rightly noted Doc calling this one weeks ago) and said he likes COG and ESV; he made COG his Final Trade.

Doc: This BUD’s for a trade

Sam Isaly on Tuesday's Halftime Report began his remarks stating that health care is a big part of the U.S. economy and then suggested investors should be looking worldwide.

Isaly likes ILMN and REGN.

Stephanie Link likes MYL.

Joe Terranova said he's been talking about life sciences for 6 months. He called PKI a "solid company" and mentioned TMO (again, though it's been a few weeks). (He didn't mention "Palo Alto.")

Stephanie Link said you'll have to be patient in DKS.

Joe Terranova said he'd consider buying CSX because it could get to 55.

Josh Brown said the shorts have "absolutely nailed" the SIG story.

Jon Najarian said DISH upgrades were a case of "great timing."

Doc reported that BUD May 110 and 115 calls were popular.

CNBC superfox Jane Wells made a welcome re-appearance, reporting from Vegas that DE is chasing CAT. Steph Link argued that CAT's end markets are troughing. Longtime DE fan Josh Brown, who has made a great call in the name, credited DE management for navigating the weak market, and now things are looking up.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was CRM, another name Doc called just a day ago before an afternoon pop (Doc said he's out of the stock now but into the calls); Steph Link said CL.

[Monday, March 6, 2017]

From ‘most presidential he’s been so far’ to ‘a little insane’ in 4 days

On the heels of the president of the United States' strange eavesdropping allegations, the S&P 500 on Monday tumbled down to a level not seen in … 3 days.

Nevertheless, Judge was asking at the top of Monday's Halftime, "How much longer the Trump rally can last." (Which basically is the question for every minute of every program until there's a bona fide correction, but whatever.)

Jim Cramer said there's a "lull" in earnings and suggested the market thinks "the tweets are a little insane."

"I don't think the market's going down 35%," said Joe Terranova, who contended Thursday was a "very euphoric type of day" even though last Thursday he said it didn't look like new money was entering the market on Wednesday's big climb.

Stephen Weiss on Monday said it's a "Damn Yankees" type of market. "We're seeing that remorse," Weiss opined, stating the tweets suggest people are wondering about how long the GOP "coalition" can hold together.

Jim Cramer cringed over the thought of "Nixon"-like allegations.

Former CNBCer Kate Kelly, now with the NYT and lookin' great, joined the program to interview Jeff Currie to say 9 out of 10 hedge funds are "skeptical" about the rally (perhaps except for the "very euphoric" Thursday), given that all the legislative headwinds appear stalled. "We don't have any details" of tax or other plans, Kelly noted.

Kevin O'Leary said the tweets are merely Trump "style." Josh Brown asked O'Leary if it's really "style" to tweet about Barack Obama conducting supposedly illegal spying. (But Josh didn't ask about the status of the special prosecutor for Hillary's emails that previously shocked the stock market.)

Brown said there's virtually a "1 to 1" correlation between the S&P and Donald Trump's weekly approval ratings. Which apparently means all that he has to do is skip the tweets and meet CEOs to drive the S&P higher.

"Where is that tax plan," Brown asked, stating it's 2 weeks past due.

"Tweeting is now a policy tool," said Kate Kelly.

"We shouldn't say it's just a tweet," Josh insisted.

In the show's most startling call, Jim Lebenthal asserted, "The presidency is losing its relevancy under this administration."

Given that, "Today's move is just noise," Jim said.

What about tweets that sank the pharma sector for 18 months?

He certainly doesn't need this page to fight his battles for him.

But we're getting tired of Weiss and Judge needling Jim Lebenthal and are looking forward to Jim hopefully dispensing some verbal forearm shivers.

Weiss again on Monday's Halftime hectored Jim before he could enunciate a point about presidential tweets, with Jim finally stating that if George Bush did the same tweet, the market would be down 5, 6, 7%.

"I don't care anymore," Jim said.

Pressed by Weiss, who claimed Jim is always gonna be long, Jim said he's been 50% cash "sometime in the last 6 years" and said he sold BA on Friday.

In one of the best observations of the day, Jim Cramer pointed out other countries' stock markets have been better than ours recently.

Mike Santoli touted his CNBC Pro article asserting that investors are OK with market multiples because $131 earnings seem doable. Jim asked Santoli where the marginal buyer is given the sentiment levels. Santoli agreed there's "fluff" but doesn't think sentiment is at a "climactic peak."

Jim Cramer bluntly said a 3% pullback would be a "gift."

Joe Terranova said the algorithms "could (sic) care less" about sentiment.

"You guys were talking about a half percent down today like it's the end of the world," Jim Lebenthal scoffed at select colleagues.

Joe said that NVDA has fallen about 20% in a month without a single fundamental change and warned the whole market could do the same. (This writer is long NVDA.)

Kevin O'Leary said nobody wants to buy bonds. Joe twice demanded to know what that has to do with NVDA.

"What's he talking about? Fixed income's seeing inflows," Joe scoffed.

Josh Brown said there's a "graveyard" of analysts who were timing the S&P on valuation.

Cramer on ‘buy side’ of DB

Judge on Monday's Halftime brought in Mike Mayo as a "free agent" analyst.

In a weak go-round on European banks or something to do with Europe, Mayo said "better late than never" for DB to raise capital; U.S. banks did it 7 years ago (but right now they've NEVER been this strong before and LeBron James is the JPM of basketball yada yada yada).

"My incinlation is to be on the buy side of Deutsche Bank," said Jim Cramer.

Kevin O'Leary demanded a royalty from every use of "easy peasy." "Think about what's going on in France," O'Leary said, suggesting Marine Le Pen has a 50/50 chance of winning. "I'm going long Europe."

Mayo said there could be a "bump in the road" over the next 2 months.

Jim Cramer touted KEY, insisting it won't go back to 12.

"Sure it goes back to 12," said Kevin O'Leary, adding, "I don't care what Trump tweets anymore."

Cramer said O'Leary previously called for a sell on banks under the notion that Elizabeth Warren would be running them.

But nobody explained whether ESPN is already priced in

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime Report said the NFLX upgrader needs to explain why he's missed so much of the run.

Joe Terranova said if you're long NFLX, this call doesn't have to shake you out of it.

Josh Brown said the NFLX chart is a "really ugly candle" right now. "This is a very extended run," Josh asserted.

Kevin O'Leary said NFLX has always had an "artificial" bid that DIS will buy it.

"If Disney tries to buy this company, I'm shorting Disney," said Jim Lebenthal, forgetting that the company is always going to make more money than analysts think with "Star Wars" and Marvel franchises.

"I don't think there's a chance Disney buys 'em," said Stephen Weiss, pointing to "cable cord-cutting" and lots of good content. Weiss said it was a "b.s. upgrade," and the analyst is compelled to do the highest price target.

Weiss stated AAPL is "the only likely buyer" of NFLX.

Cramer said you have to buy the notion of SNAP as MTV to justify the valuation. "Crummy place for ads," Cramer agreed with Josh Brown.

But Josh said if "somebody big" wants into SNAP, the stock will go a lot higher.

"No one likes Twitter at all here," Cramer observed.

Joe mentions Palo Alto

Jon Najarian on Monday's Halftime Report said there was someone buying CRM May 90 calls and selling 75 puts. He also said someone's buying big AAPL 145 calls. "I'm in both," Doc said.

Jim Cramer said Alphabet "needs" Salesforce to get into enterprise.

Jim Lebenthal questioned if GRMN has the "moat" anymore.

Josh Brown touted FAST. "There aren't any natural sellers," Brown said.

Jim Lebenthal said GM is a "perfect" price. Stephen Weiss, who had a quiet show, touted airlines. Joe Terranova mentioned a onetime favorite he used to mention all the time, "Palo Alto" (Drink).

[Friday, March 3, 2017]

Entire show takes place without reference to AAPL

The star guest of Friday's Halftime was Andy Chase (for performance), the Barron's legend who once remarked that even the folks at Stanford couldn't explain negative interest rates.

Chase opined that the market has room to run. "My guess over the next couple, 3 years is another 50% or something like that. … I think there's a long way to go," he said.

But that didn't rankle anyone like Chase's suggestion of a 25 market multiple.

Steve Weiss said "it's kinda ludicrous" to talk 25 P.E. given that stocks couldn't do that with rates at 1%. Chase said we last saw a 25 P.E. around 2000 but said the 10-year then was 6%.

Kevin O'Leary scoffed at the idea of a 25 P.E. while the Fed is raising rates, "not on this planet."

Jim Lebenthal grumbled that there's "such a dispersion" among stocks in any sector; he can find ones to sell and ones to buy on any given day.

Josh Brown though said "there's never been a bull market in history that's stopped because we've reached a certain P.E., uh, level," nor has a bear market ended for the same reason.

Judge for whatever reason mentioned the negative guest who was on Thursday but isn't worth mentioning or even having on the show. Chase said it's not a Trump rally but something that's been "pent-up."

Chase said Yellen could throw speed bumps into Trump's goal of revving the economy by hiking rates, in fact, it "could be kinda fun to watch."

Kevin O'Leary said Trump's speech was "the most presidential he's ever sounded." (Judge said the other day it might be a "turning point.") But O'Leary said he didn't hear about a Dodd-Frank repeal in the speech and thinks it has lost momentum; also he senses that even tax reform is getting pushed back, which makes him not like the financials as Chase does.

Regional banks are "toxic waste," O'Leary said.

Chase said bank valuations aren't scary and twice said they've been in the "penalty box" (Drink), and he also mentioned "penalty box" (Double Drink) for health care.

Weiss disagreed with Chase as to whether "everybody's so negative … that's not true."

But Chase said over time, people panic about things. "My grandfather built a bomb shelter in the '60s," Chase said.

Regardless, "I think the euro's gonna go lower. I think the yen's gonna go lower," Chase said.

Doc indicated it's far more likely that regulation will be rolled back in the U.S. rather than in Europe, so like Chase, he likes banks.

Jim Lebenthal touted VZ and GOOGL.

Carl Icahn works with a guy who was awarded a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

Regarding the stock of the week, Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime said he sold his SNAP Friday after Pete Najarian sold Thursday.

Doc suggested it might not cost much to short SNAP starting Tuesday; Stephen Weiss suggested you can't even short it now.

Pointing to SHAK, Josh Brown said the "artificial scarcity" can drive stocks to dizzying short-term heights.

Kevin O'Leary said he didn't want to own SNAP with a 90-day lockup.

Jim Lebenthal said he's getting calls from people to buy SNAP. Weiss said it was "well-managed" by the Morgan Stanley syndicate desk.

Meanwhile, Jim Lebenthal quibbled with Phil LeBeau over whether GM was throwing in the towel on Opel. Jim said they were actually throwing in the towel on "politics in Europe" and asserted that Opel was "right on the cusp of making money." Phil said he's heard that a lot in the last 20 years.

Jim insisted the notion of peak auto is "off the table."

Doc said if the Fed doesn't hike now, "it's a mistake."

Doc said ESV March 10 calls were being aggressively bought; he'll hold "for at least a week."

Josh Brown said MCD is addressing technology, which is fine, but "they're not doing enough about the quality of the food." Steve Weiss said "you don't go there for quality; you go there for convenience."

Judge finally acknowledged the death of the original Judge Wapner and tried to make an excuse for not mentioning it Monday.

Judge said Joseph Wapner was "no relation, by the way."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera unleashed a dynamite outfit as guest host of Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but despite her best efforts, the show was flat. MCC said on Options Action that "women wore jackets in the '80s."

[Thursday, March 2, 2017]

Before we move on to some dude’s regular gloom prediction, shouldn’t we deal with Carl’s ‘Day of Reckoning’?

Joe Terranova bluntly declared on Thursday's Halftime Report that SNAP is "indicative of some of the euphoria that we're seeing in the market."

Josh Brown cautioned that what SNAP does on its IPO day has no relevance to what it will do afterward. He said he uses the product, but it's "convoluted."

Jon Najarian said 88% in his Twitter poll said to "dump" SNAP, but he's going to keep it.

Pete Najarian though said the SNAP valuation is "ridiculous" and "ludicrous" and announced at the end of the show that he ditched his stake.

Meanwhile, Joe Terranova said Wednesday's rally didn't look like "fresh money" coming into the market; "to me that looked like institutions" and those who "bet against" some of the economic fundamentals and Trump's growth prospects.

Steve Liesman said, "I think they're gonna hike rates in March if that uh February jobs report is solid."

Liesman said Wednesday's rally was like a running back who's not only fast but tough. He also said the market "could (sic actually meant "couldn't") care less" about whatever kinds of headwinds are out there.

CNBC's Morgan Brennan showed pictures of automobiles in front of the Caterpillar building in Peoria, Ill.

Joe said of CAT, "Anything below 90, I'd get out of it."

Addressing KR, Joe said food prices have declined for 14 straight quarters, something that hasn't happened since the '50s.

Doc said there was big buying in ANF 12 calls late Wednesday.

Josh Brown predicted easier comps ahead for SHAK.

Pete Najarian hailed AVGO and the others in the AAPL chip space. Pete thinks there's "upside" in MU and it could hit 30 but he thinks there are "better names." Josh Brown likes the MU chart though.

Josh said to ignore Thursday's volatility in AMD.

Doc said XLV (Zzzzzzzz) June 72 puts were being aggressively bought. Pete said he likes XLF (Zzzzzz) April 26 calls.

Judge held up sheets of paper of the Pimco note about getting out of banks (snicker). Pete said GS could "easily" get to $300. Doc said he doesn't agree with the note because rolling back regulation is much easier for the administration than something like repealing Obamacare.

Anthony Grisanti said he's "still betting" that crude hits 60 by early summer. Brian Stutland said he'd be a buyer below 53.

Joe said viewers should have a "sell discipline." Doc said there might be a "washout" in gold stocks.

Judge brought in a CNBC staple to predict another stock-market crash and gave him far more time than most guests get, but this individual's forecasts are so worthless, we don't report on him anymore.

[Wednesday, March 1, 2017]

Stalled Presidential Initiatives (cont’d) (a/k/a Judge asks if Scaramucci will have role in the administration but doesn’t clarify extent of Scaramucci being a Trump ‘confidant’)

Given that he enjoys the hedge fund world and asserts himself as the industry's spokesman on the Halftime Report, you'd think Steve Weiss would've been interested in asking Anthony Scaramucci on Wednesday's Halftime how Scaramucci managed to get 7.2 times normalized EBITDA for SkyBridge's fund-of-funds business model when the going rate is 3-5 times earnings and the industry isn't exactly without critics.

But no. Neither Weiss nor "Judge" Scott Wapner was interested in that.

Weiss did ask Scaramucci if Trump's Tuesday speech will mark an end to all of Trump's Twitter ranting that is "detracting" for many. (See, there are questions in which the asker already knows the answer and knows the listener is not going to provide that answer but asks anyway.)

Scaramucci said it may be "detracting" for Weiss but maybe not the "disaffected" people that Trump is "messaging" (sic verb) to.

Scaramucci — it wasn't made clear if he was speaking in any kind of semi-official capacity even though he spoke of hoping to land a position in the administration — predicted a "crystalization" (snicker) of Donald Trump's policies in 90 days.

Weiss pointed out that the previous president marched into office vowing to close Guantanamo, and it's still open. "We had no economic policy; we had no foreign policy," Weiss grumbled.

But the Moochmeister asserted, "We kicked the can down the road 3 times during the Obama administration" on taxes.

Weiss admitted, "Pete and I were sittin' on a lot of cash." (Yes. Either 35% or 40%, depending on which broadcast one's referring to.)

Scaramucci called Trump a "communications czar" and said Trump's bodyguard Keith has actually seen Trump "sink 10-foot putts" and that Trump even makes free-throw shots with a "full trench coat on."

Someone tells Judge the market might be getting a little bit overheated

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report actually suggested Donald Trump's speech might even have been a "turning point" for the administration.

But the greatest hyperbole was reserved for Pete "35 or 40% cash" Najarian, who said of Trump's management team, "I don't know how you could've assembled a better one than what he has done so far."

Pete said it's "probably some of the smartest minds financially ever to be involved in a presidency."

Actually, we can't disagree with that because we really don't know, but we do know that the 2 previous administrations claim Paul Volcker, Lawrence Summers, Hank Paulson, Larry Lindsey and Dick Cheney, so there are plenty of egos staking claim to this particular throne.

Anthony Scaramucci claimed Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn are in "harmony" with Paul Ryan but more modestly than Pete, likened the Trump team to the "Rubin-Summers era." But Scaramucci conceded Trump is a "polarizing figure."

Meanwhile, assessing Tuesday's performance, Jon Najarian offered, "The tone was terrific … exactly what the market wanted to hear."

Scaramucci said Trump is a "statesman" that we're gonna see over the next 4 years.

Grandpa Eddie Perkin, who likes dividend-paying stocks now, said we're still waiting for "evidence" that these policies really will happen. But Stephen "40% cash" Weiss said there was no "expectation" of details last night, so it was a "perfect speech," and "even the New York Times had problems picking a fight with it; that's how good it was."

Jim Lebenthal tangled with Judge over whether it's "easy" to push through a $100-billion-a-year infrastructure package for 10 years; then Judge decided to pick on Jim for the hour, even carping about his own failure to ask Scaramucci about the sale of his firm over whether there was a "debate" about rates on Monday.

Judge said someone (unnamed) told him we're "starting to knock on the door of euphoria" in the stock market, which means "someone" is catching up with this page from weeks ago.

But Jeremy Siegel said he was "blown away" by Trump's speech; "it was a thousand times better than I expected."

Siegel said he thought the rally was on "real thin ice," but after the speech, he doesn't think so.

"The Democrats (were) even standing up and clapping," Siegel claimed.

Judge mentioned the tribute to the Navy SEAL and said "in and of itself" (sic redundant).

2-&-20 vs. S&P up 32 in a day (cont’d)

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Ylan Mui reported that the Labor Dept. wants to delay the onset of the fiduciary rule by 60 days.

Judge pointed out that Anthony Scaramucci, who was still in the guest chair at that point, wrote an op-ed about the fiduciary rule. "That was a high-risk op-ed because it was 4 days before the election," Scaramucci chuckled, noting there were apparently "a lot of sore people on the other side of that." (But at least he didn't bring it up with some guy from Russia.)

"That rule is a disaster," Scaramucci continued, echoing an occasional if infrequent unanimous beef from Halftime Report regulars.

Steve Weiss chimed in, "That's one of the dumbest rules I've ever seen by the way."

Not sure lacking genius-grant associates has hurt Carl over the years (but we are wondering whatever happened to the ‘Day of Reckoning’)

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report was enlisted to cross-promote Sidney Torres' new CNBC show, "The Deed."

The most interesting thing Torres, who wore shades for the interview, said was that he got canned as Lenny Kravitz's personal assistant. "He fired me back in 1996," Torres said.

Meanwhile, Jim Lebenthal said he disagrees with the INTC downgrade because of not just PCs but data centers and cellphones. He said it's fine not to want to own it, but to sell it is "crazy."

Judge said the analyst note's headline is, "The first stage is always denial."

Jim admitted, "You can draw that conclusion" but insisted he gave a "cogent" explanation for owning the shares.

Pete Najarian said data centers are sluggish, and INTC is spending to get into autonomous cars.

Meg Tirrell said "a lot of people have been trying to parse" Trump's comments on drug pricing.

Tirrell said Richard Mulligan is "probably one of the only folks to work with Carl Icahn who has won a MacArthur genius grant."

Pete said the LOW report and guidance was a "home run," but he said the stock is "ahead of itself."

Jim Lebenthal said BBY is at a "safe price" to start buying.

Steve Weiss said WTW guidance lifted the stock, but he called the stock "way too volatile" to play, and he doubts the takeout angle.

Jon Najarian, who had a quiet show, said Macau results were robust.

Jim Iuorio said it seems like the market "granted permission" for the Fed to hike in March. Scott Nations said we've violated the downtrend in 10-year futures. "The Treasury market does not look good," Nations said.

Doc said he "sold a lot of puts" in SCHW, ETFC, AMTD, "all of 'em big winners today."

Pete said there was "huge activity" in ROST calls. Doc said KR too.

Weiss mentioned OA and Jim mentioned GM.

Scaramucci returns, and bygones are bygones — including the stuff they talked about in January

Wel … come … back … (You'll have to hum the opening notes of that sensational television ditty.)

About 6 weeks after a chat in D.C. that broke the 2-year ice, Judge hosted onetime CNBC contributor Anthony Scaramucci at Englewood Cliffs for half of Wednesday's Halftime Report.

Judge even labeled Scaramucci on Wednesday as a "confidant of President Donald Trump."

The funny thing is, one of the subjects of the last chat, on Jan. 18, was Scaramucci's apparent new title, "Assistant to the president, director, office of the public liaison."

The inauguration hadn't even happened yet. And days later, according to The New York Times, "Mr. Scaramucci was left out of the group of about two dozen White House aides who were sworn in on Jan. 22."

Within 2 weeks, the title and post were apparently dropped.

This went virtually unmentioned on Wednesday's Halftime until Judge asked Scaramucci, "Are we going to see you in a, in a role within the White House?"

"Time will tell," said Scaramucci, explaining, "Unfortunately I got a very complicated business called SkyBridge Capital, uh, which I've sold, uh, unfortunately it takes about 90 days to get that transaction to wind down, but I've had terrific conversations with chief of staff Priebus and Steve Bannon, both of which (sic) I've known for many years, and I'm extremely confident that there will potentially be a role for me within the administration."

The issue, as Scaramucci hinted, was said to be the sale of SkyBridge, but for a reason he didn't mention, that it was bought by a Chinese conglomerate with ties to the party and might well be interested in cultivating White House influence.

However, it also came out that Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn't exactly happy about Scaramucci's performance at Davos in January (talk about a busy month).

Instead of asking Scaramucci how "presidential" Donald Trump appeared Tuesday night, Judge could've asked Scaramucci about a far more relevant topic to the show's viewers: Why a fund-of-funds asset manager in today's hyper-competitive passive-vs.-active environment could get $230 million, or 7.2 times normalized EBITA, in a sale, "a rich valuation for a fund-of-funds transaction" according to one observer quoted by Bloomberg who says buyers typically pay 3-5 times earnings.

But … Judge evidently didn't find those details newsworthy.

Nor the fact that in the last 24 hours, Scaramucci is taking flak for mentioning Democrats in a tweet about anti-Jewish hate crimes.

One of the curious angles of the Scaramucci-CNBC split is that it all started when Scaramucci a few years ago bought the rights to "Wall Street Week" and announced it during the SALT Conference, supposedly angering CNBC brass who weren't happy about a contributor delving into the TV business.

Now, Scaramucci, as with SkyBridge, is recused from "Wall Street Week," which is on Fox Business, where a series of anchors talk far more about politics than profits … and Scaramucci is back in the CNBC guest fold.

He may be in White House limbo.

But he's a headline machine.

More from Wednesday's Halftime later.

[Tuesday, February 28, 2017]

Still wondering how one ‘subscribes’ to an iPad

Toni Sacconaghi on Tuesday's Halftime Report said AAPL tends to outperform the market on average by 1,600 basis points in the 6 months before a product launch.

Judge mentioned Buffett's large AAPL position "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink).

Sacconaghi continued to harp on his curious notion of subscribing to iPads, something Judge never questions; Toni told Judge the risk to AAPL is that replacement cycles get pushed farther out because the products are not "true subscriptions."

Nothing to do here, move along

Steve Grasso and Dan Nathan on Tuesday's dud of a 5 p.m. Fast Money clashed over Donald Trump and Obamacare.

Both made quality points, honestly. (You can basically figure out which side each is on.)

But they buried the lede.

The current office-holder of the presidency of the United States is there because someone has to win. But there's nothing for him to do; no mandate for utterly anything. Same as with the last guy.

See, this is actually a good thing. It fits the Republican ideal nicely, keeping government restrained from screwing up everyone's life.

The problem is when national leaders get bored and decide to take on projects that no one is calling for, such as sending American boys to Asian jungles or Middle Eastern deserts.

There are things on the longtime Republican wish list that figure to be addressed. That's politics; that's fine. But those are all partisan measures unlikely to attain anywhere near the broad-based backing required to make anything happen in federal government. John Harwood accurately indicated as much on Tuesday's Halftime.

If Hillary Clinton had won with the same Democratic congressional advantages, that previous paragraph would still apply.

If the current occupant of the White House wants to discharge his political capital on a border tax, or building a wall, as the previous occupant did on health insurance, OK, not our favorite idea, not sure why it's so important suddenly, but whatever.

If instead he discharges it playing chess games of American troops — which might well be the case with this mysterious Yemen raid — then he should be run out of office by the time the next balloting comes around.

Tuesday night, he insisted to the world, "I just spoke to our great General Mattis just now who reconfirmed that, and I quote, 'Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy.'"

Some of us will be keeping a scorecard.

CNBC promoted the Target interview as though they had found Bigfoot

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said the TGT guidance was "awful."

Joe Terranova predicted THC will have longer-term "resistance" to selling.

Josh Brown said AMD will be volatile, but he wants to use the selling as an opportunity to buy more.

Jon Najarian said VRX sellers started in immediately when the numbers came out.

Sarat Sethi said PCLN bodes well for airlines and the travel stocks.

Steph Link said the Fidelity news shouldn't be that surprising and said she likes the online brokers anyway because fee pricing is not the bread and butter of the industry.

Jeff Kilburg predicted an upside breakout in crude. But Jim Iuorio, who doesn't need the man-fur this winter, predicted crude will find the lower end of its range again, 51½.

Judge suggested President Trump, or at least "someone" in the White House, is aware that Sen. Rand Paul is not a "her" of the Consumer Reports auto picks; Phil LeBeau wasn't really buying it.

Josh Brown said to keep homebuilder stocks on your radar screen.

Joe Terranova reiterated his BAC 25 calls and hung $100 on V.

Judge refers to Sen. Rand Paul as ‘her’ (snicker)

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime asking for thoughts about Donald Trump's big speech.

Jon Najarian offered, citing options activity in companies with a lot of overseas cash, "I think he's gonna hit repatriation hard."

Joe Terranova said the key is for financials and tech not to roll over.

Sarat Sethi said it'll be an "issue" if Trump starts complaining about Congress or the media. (But not about the Oscars or city of Chicago.)

Josh Brown said he's better at analyzing reactions than making predictions; he said if Trump gives the market everything it wants but the market still sells off Wednesday, that's a risk.

John Harwood reported, "President Trump's agenda is in deep trouble across the board." (Translation: There's really nothing to do.)

Then Judge brought in Orrin Hatch, who wouldn't take a stand on the border tax but admitted he has "some real reservations about it." (Further translation: There's really nothing to do.)

Hatch said Democrats oppose everything Trump and haven't even given him a "period of goodwill."

Hatch did suggest the State Department might be a little bloated. "There's a lot of dead wood over at the State Department that really hasn't been doing the job for our, for our nation," Hatch said.

Hectored by Judge repeatedly on whether Obamacare can be repealed without a replacement plan, Hatch repeatedly insisted they just need to keep the "monies flowing."

Hatch also said they need a "bipartisan solution" (snicker).

Joe Terranova said the problem with the interview is that it seemed we're not getting a narrative of "civility" and getting things done ahead of the speech.

Pete Najarian said with a straight face he buys Sen. Hatch's notion of keeping the "monies" in place during an Obamacare repeal process before a solution is reached, and people shouldn't expect an "instantaneous" solution from our government.

Judge declared, "There's no way the Republicans are going to, to, to repeal Obamacare and, and risk breaking it and owning it."

Josh grumbled about word games, stating, "If you repeal it and keep funding it, you didn't repeal it."

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Monday, February 27, 2017]

Judge sinks show from the outset with old news (according to Weiss) about Tepper

Flatter than a pancake.

Judge led Monday's Halftime into a 20-minute quagmire on bonds, panelists finding nothing to talk about.

The hook was Judge's off-the-air chat with Dave Tepper, who apparently told Judge that stocks and bonds might be representing "2 different economies" (sic not to be confused with John Edwards' 2 Americas).

Weiss said Warren Buffett and Tepper are saying the same thing about bonds not looking great, then chiding Judge, said Tepper has "been saying it for a while; I'm glad you finally got to it today."

Jim Lebenthal said what's happening in the bond market "doesn't make sense."

Joe Terranova pointed out that the 10-year yield is a lot higher than on Election Day, then, in a Faye Dunaway type of moment, stated that Jeffrey Gundlach was predicting sub-2.0% 10-year.

Erin Browne said there's a "disconnect" between stocks and bonds, which makes her more cautious on stocks.

"Bonds are in a bear market," Weiss said.

Jon Najarian said Weiss is "nice enough" to report regularly on Tepper's thoughts but where Doc thinks Tepper is wrong is Tepper's opinion on catalysts from European rate policy, which Doc insists hasn't changed. Judge said Tepper is merely observing that it's "still" a loose policy around the world.

Joe asserted, "2 and 20 does not work. There are way too- too many managers."

Buying LMT, not just because of fighter jets but nuke missiles

Ike Boruchow on Monday's Halftime Report suggested there might be a light at the end of the retail tunnel; "February's meaningless," he asserted, and tax refunds are being delayed and there's also a late Easter (which we think has never been a catalyst even though people always talk about it).

Boruchow mentioned some discount retailers. Judge suggested Boruchow's outlook is disproportionately bright; "He doesn't have to worry about the department stores because he doesn't cover them."

Doc said he thinks LB is still "way too cheap." He thinks RL is still cheap, but he sold out of his RH.

Grasping for an opening to mention JCP, Jim Lebenthal said retailers are doing what a troubled sector does, downsizing/right-sizing.

Steve Weiss said the phone subsidies for iPhones aren't going away for at least a few years.

Joe Terranova said he owns NOC "because it screens well when you look at it from a technical capacity," and then there's the balance sheet and management strategies.

Doc said he likes RTN for the "cloaking" of radar, which is "the closest thing you'll see Judge to something like 'Star Trek.'" Weiss touted OA. Josh Brown hailed WWD, which has a "breakout in progress." Jim Lebenthal singled out LMT, pointing out LMT's Trident is "the newest and most sophisticated of our nuclear missiles."

Meg Tirrell pointed out how JNJ is trying to get ahead of the drug-pricing story. Tirrell acknowledged to Josh Brown that pharmaceuticals are "hoping" that all they have to do is announce new jobs at Mar-a-Lago, and no one will care about the prices of their drugs.

Jeff Kilburg said crude seems "destined" to 57. Scott Nations said 55.24 is the next key level.

Joe hung a 25 on BAC. Jim Lebenthal seemed to recommend AVGO. Erin Browne is short the XME.

[Friday, February 24, 2017]

There’s ‘a lot of volatility,’ and apparently a correction next Wednesday

In the category of Loopy Pessimism That Only Drives This Market Higher, we can now include Jon Najarian.

Doc on Friday's Halftime halfheartedly protested "I am still bullish" (actually, he generally is, and rightly so, which makes this call even stranger) but suggested a correction might be due next week, citing … Donald Trump's speech to Congress.

Judge asked Doc what there is to fear from that speech.

Doc actually said, "If he forgets that it's CPAC (sic meant "not CPAC") that he's speaking to." But then he said, "I don't think he's gonna forget."

But apparently it's going to cause a selloff regardless.

Meanwhile, Judge told Kate Moore there's "some people" who see an "overoptimism" in the market. (And how's Carl's "Day of Reckoning" working out?)

At least some weren't buyin' it. Jim Lebenthal said at some point, a correction will occur, but he admitted, "I don't know when … I don't think you can figure that out."

That matches Karen Finerman the other night on Fast Money, challenging Tim Seymour to call both the top and the re-entry point of the short-term market correctly.

Another skeptic was Pete Najarian. "Today's big pullback is 47 points. FORTY-SEVEN POINTS!" gushed Pete.

Stephanie Link actually claimed, "There's a lot of uncertainty; there's a lot of volatility."

"I also think the European elections are very important," said Link.

Honestly, this market feels like 1998 or even 1995, there's a level of giddiness over finally having a pro-stock market presidency that probably hasn't occurred this century, coincidentally while rates and unemployment are highly favorable and there's no unwind of anything in progress that must be completed first. Nobody believes stocks will keep going up week after week even though they basically are, which is why the peak is nowhere in sight; every dip is gonna get bought and at some point we're going to see some really wacky speculation, at which point it'll be time to call Meredith Whitney.

But we ain't there yet.

Along those lines, Robert Buckland on Friday's Halftime cited for bullishness the percentage of "global market capital that's taken out," stating it was around 9-10% in 2000 and around 9% in 2007 and currently is around 6%, so companies haven't gone whole hog into this market yet. His year-end target is 2,425; we'll take the over on that bet.

Pete Najarian said he doesn't know that you can be a "raging bull" right now. But Stephanie Link said you can make the case that "companies are more confident." Link, who thinks there's "a lot of volatility," said the rally was broadening out into health care, staples and utilities.

Jim Lebenthal said "there's no indication" of a recession in the U.S. or elsewhere, "hence no bear market."

One permanent bull market happens to be Karen Finerman (above), who's celebrating a new number on Saturday.

‘Obama would always show up late, lecture ’em and leave’

Updating his short situation, Andrew Left on Friday's Halftime said that in December, he thought NVDA would eventually fall to 90; on Friday, he saw it near 96 and figured he wouldn't be exactly right, so he closed the short and said he turned his focus to MBLY, a "one-trick pony."

Left said Mobileye is no longer a front-runner, "everyone has caught up to them," and that it's not just him but the insiders who are selling.

"When the CEO sells more stock in a year than the company invests in R&D, investors should be wary," Left said.

Left told Pete Najarian that in the future, "They are not even close to being the leader in autonomous."

Doc said he has "no interest" in NVDA. (This writer is long NVDA, even though the story's all over now according to Guy Adami because the Nomura guy wrote a "thoughtful" note the other day.) Pete said he got "a little bit fortunate" in MBLY but missed the big run.

Left may well be right about MBLY, but we didn't detect enough of a catalyst from his comments.

Consumers are ‘gravitating towards the big-box stores’

Dangling some red meat for the bears, Eric Chemi on Friday's Halftime Report said 28 companies in the S&P 500 have been losers since the election and since the inauguration. (There wasn't any mention of Jeffrey Gundlach's call that the top would be in by Inauguration Day.)

It's worth noting that Ron Johnson, who rightly took a lot of ribbing on Fast Money/Halftime during his monstrous tenure at JCPenney (just change the name; the stores will do a lot better), gave a great interview on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and suggested the problem with retail stocks isn't so much the internet, but Amazon, and that the survivors/winners will be the ones who can cope.

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime, perhaps in denial, said JCP "didn't miss by much," and he thought they "guided very well." Jim said "there's no good answer" for the "nonsense" selloff; he thinks it's a great buy.

Pete Najarian pushed back at Stephanie Link that JWN is growing the Rack and online, but Link said the store comps are down 7%.

Jon Najarian said FL had a "phenomenal" quarter.

Doc hailed the RH gain that this page mocked a day ago. Gotta admit, it was a great call. Also gotta admit, Doc suggested a few days ago "why not" plunge into LB ahead of earnings, which wasn't exactly the greatest call.

Stephanie Link questioned why Berenberg was picking on GS when it's actually not the best-performing big bank. Pete Najarian mocked the downgrade and said the analyst went from a neutral to a sell but a price target from 140 to 190. Pete suggested C might play catchup (Drink) (snicker). Link likes STI.

Link said you've got time to buy HPE (Zzzzzzz) if you want it.

Doc said he likes the new biography of Elon Musk, and Musk is why he likes TSLA. Jim Lebenthal pointed out that in terms of market cap per car, TSLA is 60 times the valuation of GM.

Scott Nations said OPEC production cuts are "finally turning the tide." Brian Stutland said he'd probably be a crude seller over 55 and would look to buy around 52.

Pete Najarian said someone was interested in the GLD September 127 calls. Doc said NUS June 50 puts were popular; "I followed 'em."

Link likes LLY. Jim touted big pharma. Doc said to watch LB based on its recovery Friday. Kate Moore, who had a quiet show, touted emerging markets.

[Thursday, February 23, 2017]

Halftime and Fast Money:
Chock-ful of guys calling the end of the bull market (date above was Aug. 17, 2016)

If it weren't for the "manufacturing" CEOs, the highlight of Thursday's Halftime Report would've been newest CNBC superfox Leslie Picker's report on ValueAct's Jeff Ubben.

Picker said Ubben is calling this market "bad stuff" and warned of inflation. But Picker said he made a double on MS from last summer.

Stephen Weiss said Ubben is only 20% in cash, so it's a case of playing stocks, not playing the market, an observation that brought a parade of agreement as panelists suggested with a straight face that single stocks will work but averages won't.

Jon Najarian said "broad-market participation … is exactly what I don't want. I want stock-specific exposure." He mentioned RL and RH (snicker). And then later in the show, he said he likes 84 calls in SMH, even though he says he wants "stock-specific exposure."

Jim Lebenthal said, "What Jon was saying is absolutely right — don't throw money at the market overall but buy the cheap stocks and sell the expensive ones." But then he indicated he's going to keep holding BA, which has a P.E. of 23.

Weiss said Ubben is a deep-value investor, that's why he's not impressed by this market.

Weiss pointed to X's doubling and insisted "there's no basis for that."

Pete Najarian predicted tech stocks "hit a pause for a while," then take the "next leg up."

The 5 p.m. Fast Money momentum traders were already bailing on NVDA (this writer is long NVDA) while Carter Worth predicted an 8-10% drop in semiconductors. We'll take the other side of both shows' momentum guys who don't seem to get it on any day when Judge isn't waving pages of 52-week highs (or believe their own comments about animal spirits) and predict a correction every other day and don't realize this market's giddy about the end of the Obama years and on autopilot for at least the near future. By the way, how's Carl's "Day of Reckoning" working out (funny you don't hear about that anymore since he started advising the president).

Pete Najarian also knocked Ubben for mentioning volatility even though that wasn't heard on the show. Weiss argued volatility isn't as useful as it once was; Pete disagreed.

Karen’s birthday Saturday

On Thursday's Halftime, CNBC's Eamon Javers turned in a yeoman performance of chasing down "manufacturing" CEOs who were leaving the White House (even though it was fairly clear he recognized hardly any of them besides Immelt and Fields) and even showing a side view of the White House grounds that viewers don't often get.

Javers elicited upbeat remarks from Jeff Immelt and Mark Fields until Javers asked Fields, "What'd you tell the president about immigration?"

Fields responded, "Sorry we gotta go."

Jeff Immelt said they actually talked about "education" with Trump. (During Squawk Alley while the meeting was occurring, Immelt was prompted by Donald Trump to tell a story about Donald Trump hitting a hole in one, only to have Trump say that Immelt misquoted him.)

Jim Lebenthal said that, based on Mario Longhi's comments later, Trump is going to take on the Chinese "head on."

No question, the most successful element of the Trump presidency has been CEO meetings. The techies might've been rolling their eyes, but the rest of them all sound more legitimately enthusiastic than folks did under the last 2 administrations.

Elsewhere, Jeff Kilburg and Jim Iuorio suggested possible $1,300 for gold; Jim cited "worry" about the French election. (Um, we're sorta thinking the selling-the-upset-protectionist-election-victory trade is kinda dead.)

Doc said someone bought a "huge put spread" in the IWM, apparently to get a little hedged. Steve Weiss said he bought the 135 puts recently "and lost a lot of money on 'em." (But now he says you should just play stocks and not the market.)

Pete Najarian predicted an ORCL breakout at Halftime and 5 p.m. Weiss touted SXL.

Halftime gang: Obama ‘actively anti-business,’ would ‘lecture’ CEOs and leave without listening

2017: The Year of Euphoria continued or even hit overdrive on Thursday's Halftime as Judge's panel unleashed 8 (or more) years of pent-up political frustration on … Barack Obama.

After some crackerjack reporting by CNBC's Eamon Javers on the White House grounds as CEOs exited Donald Trump's manufacturing meeting, the Halftime gang noted the glee coming from Andrew Liveris and certain others.

Jon Najarian mentioned Liveris' statement and said, "It'll be interesting to see how many media outlets cover that statement Scott," adding that those CEOs are saying something "diametrically opposed to what we're fed a daily dose of."

Scott responded, "We're not talking about other media organizations here, OK. We're only talking about the way that we frame the conversation."

Doc said it's fine for Donald Trump to use the Dow as a scorecard; Doc said Barack Obama, in his last press conference, "was pounding his chest" about the stock market and mentioned it "at least 3 times."

Jim Lebenthal said Doc was being "charitable" to say that the previous administration "didn't know what it was doing." Rather, "I think it was actively anti-business."

Steve Weiss said that he heard "directly" from a CEO of a large company that when this person had meetings with President Barack Obama, "Obama would always show up late, that's OK, president's got a lot to do, but would lecture 'em and leave. … That's one story, but I've heard others."

Pete gushed about Andrew Liveris' Founding Fathers comments. Judge brought in Mario Longhi, but Longhi's answers could barely be heard over some other fellow talking near him.

More from Thursday's Halftime later.

[Wednesday, February 22, 2017]

Someone’s birthday
is Saturday

It's perhaps our favorite week of the Fast Money year — the week when we get to announce, with plenty of advance notice, the birthday of a Fast Money VIP.

That birthday occurs this Saturday.

That doesn't make it a sure thing for a program celebration; presumably/hopefully, if this person is on the Friday panel, there will be a cake with candles.

In case you don't know who it is, here's a tip: "She" on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money heartily endorsed GOOGL.

On that program, Tim Seymour declared, "We haven't been this overbought since 2010."

But Karen Finerman wasn't buying Seymour's once-again-scattershot notions of maybe trading around the peaks and valleys of this market, stating it seems "very very hard" to correctly time both the exit and re-entry of a stock position.

"I don't see overbought," shrugged Pete Najarian, pointing to earnings. Pete said he still likes CSCO even though he took his options off. He also said there was "huge upside buying" in NKE.

Pete made an extended bull case for CRM. (This writer is long CRM.) Karen Finerman questioned if CRM might be an acquisition target. Pete said there's no reason it couldn't be, but "that would be a pretty big one to swallow right now." (Why? It's only about double the size of mighty LinkedIn.)

Guy Adami said JACK is in "no-man's land." Susan Li said LB's guidance was "much worse than expected." Karen Finerman said it's a company "in flux," and "I wouldn't jump in right away," though ultimately she thinks the management team will figure it out.

At the end of the show, Karen said that while gentlemen want to rescue "damsels in distress," don't buy LB just yet.

CAVM analyst a dollar or two short of extra publicity

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report hailed the bullish MKM chip call, but Kourtney Gibson said Loop Capital was bullish in December when its analyst, Betsy, moved the sector "8 or 9%" by initiating coverage.

Jon Najarian spent a lot of time pointing out how Samsung's struggles could be an easing headwind and agreed "these stocks have a lot more room."

Joe Terranova said the chip run started with the 2016 CES emphasis on AI. He touted TXN and said he bought NVDA last week, which he's "holding onto for a trade."

But someone was actually selling not for where the stock is going but because of where the stock came from. Steve Weiss said he bought CAVM in the 40s (Brag Trade) and "actually sold a little bit of it the other day" because of the gain.

Judge told Weiss the MKM analyst thinks CAVM can get to 77. Weiss suggested that when it's an analyst initiating coverage, sometimes he or she reaches high in terms of price targets to get attention. But Gibson said the Loop analyst is a dollar higher.

Gibson called INTC the "sleeper name" in the space.

Joe mentioned NXPI and said it has "further roomside (sic) to the upside."

Judge suggests activists have been in ‘risk-off’ mode

In a choppy, clumsy, forced beginning to Wednesday's Halftime, Judge struggled to explain what Carl Icahn's interest in BMY means for … anything else in the world.

Meg Tirrell reported there's only a "small number" of companies that could buy BMY.

But Jon Najarian said a price over $100 billion isn't off-limits to some potential buyers.

Stephen Weiss said he got in the stock because it used to be a very crowded trade, and then everyone got out, so the risk was minimal.

CNBC's gorjus Leslie Picker, who's on all the time now, said that in the activist space, "It feels really busy."

Ken Squire said activist investors took only a "very small bit of a hiatus."

But Judge actually claimed to Picker and Squire that maybe it's been a "risk-off environment for some period of time."

Squire noted Valeant was "a bad advertisement" for activism for 6 months.

As to what this means for folks watching this on TV, Weiss said, "By definition, you can't just cherry-pick the ones to follow."

By definition?

Weiss at least shot down Judge's persistent argument that activists such as Icahn haven't done anything recently, rattling off investments in HLF and HTZ. Weiss predicted a "massive pickup" in M&A from private equity.

Pete: WMT ‘killing it’ online

Playing Kensho, Kourtney Gibson on Wednesday's Halftime said the S&P 500 yesterday passed 90 days without a daily decline worse than 1%.

Asking fellow panelists for guesses (none really wanted to play along), Gibson said it hasn't happened since 2006.

Jon Najarian said there's been a "shoveling" of "bad news" in various forms of media telling us how bad things are, but look at the market.

Joe "big-box" Terranova somehow contended that "everyone seems dismissive of earnings." Judge snapped, "No one's dismissive of earnings." Joe said the European recovery is faster than anyone imagined.

Doc said the regulation rollback is a "certainty." But he said the tax plan will "unleash" further animal spirits" even though "we don't know" what'll be in it.

Steve Weiss said DD is well-positioned for a global recovery.

Doc said TOL is performing great.

Pete Najarian said WMT is "killing it" in e-commerce and said it's going higher. Joe said WMT is called a "big-box" store.

Joe lamented buying the top tick of TJX in August and thought Tuesday morning's guidance "pretty weak."

Kourtney Gibson said FB has no competition. Doc said WhatsApp is going to kill whatever Snap is going to do.

Doc said February 27.50 CREE calls were being bought in "big numbers." He said he's "in there with 'em."

Pete said there was "extremely aggressive" buying in QVCA April 22 calls.

Kari "pent-up demand for SBUX coffee" Firestone said SCHW is her newest financial pick. One of her arguments was that the stock has "no problem with border adjustment taxes." Doc said he likes the stock but that SCHW threw a "grenade" at online brokerage pricing.

Judge read a tweet that served as another ad for Interactive Brokers. Pete endorsed E-Trade because it bought OptionMonster.

Weiss said he likes and still owns LUK.

Scott Nations said the market expects inflation to be much more tame than the dollar rise indicates. Jeff Kilburg said the 10-year yield's in a range and that the Fed isn't as hawkish as maybe some think.

[Tuesday, February 21, 2017]

[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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