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TheStreet Open House

Fascinating Apple Debate Monday on CNBC With Doug Kass

Stocks in this article: AAPL AMZN

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's pretty funny. Quite a few Apple (AAPL - Get Report) bulls probably don't like Real Money's Doug Kass much, but they darn well better respect the guy.

I can't speak for Doug, but I bet he has made more money trading this stock than the longest long outside of AAPL insiders, random employees, a smattering of funds and Al Gore ( Wait, he's on the Board! And he also invented the Internet).

And I don't know Doug well enough yet to relay the type of heartfelt words TheStreet contributor Josh Brown ( The Reformed Broker) passed along Monday at his blog in response to Kass noting that he "won't be missing many steps" after successful cancer surgery:

... not only did he not miss a step, in many ways his commentary throughout the fall has been elevated. His short and then go-long calls on Apple, in particular, were exquisite. And to think, he's been running his fund, posting day in, day out, and making his media appearances while privately coping with something like this -- it's inspiring to me on many levels
.

Damn straight. And one more philanthropic shout-out to that piece of crap disease.

Exquisite. Good word. I'll go with nimble and seemingly prescient.

This hit Kass did on CNBC Monday wasn't half-bad either. It got pretty intense at times. And, by and by, it covered valuable ground.

You can pull lots of useful stuff out of that.

First and foremost -- and my focus here -- what Joe Terranova said:

Apple has become a casino. I think it's problematic. I think it's reflective of the way we think in the markets. I think algos are here to stay. The machines are faster than all of you, and you can't trade that fast anymore.

Terranova made two more crucial points.

First, do not try this at home. If you're Kass, you're sharp enough to trade this thing against the quants and machines. If you're not, you'll get eaten alive.

Second, Terranova said the company's capital allocation strategy stinks. By doing a special dividend and/or accelerating the pace of buybacks, Apple can help put it to rest -- its stock is not a trading vehicle; it's an investment.

I never bought the idea that it's the shareholder's money and if they want capital return, give it to them. Frankly, I want to see Apple bring its cash into the U.S. and attempt to put it to good use inside and outside of its business. However, given the realities this stock faces, it might not be a bad idea to throw your weight around aggressively on the dividend/buyback front.

There was more good stuff to come out of that exchange. I nodded my head in agreement quite a few times. Everybody on that CNBC panel made good points, particularly Kass and Terranova.

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