General Electric ( GE) weighed on the markets, which ended mixed on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 45.24, or 0.56%, to 8,077.56, while the S&P 500 added 4.45, or 0.54%, to 831.95. The Nasdaq rose 11.80, or 0.81%, to 1,477.29.
Dylan Ratigan, the moderator of CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show asked the panel to comment on GE's big hit on earnings in the last quarter. He wondered whether the company is at a crossroads where it is going to meet its dividend and hold on to its Triple-A credit rating or not. Guy Adami said the market is treating it like a bank because 52% of its revenue comes from GE Capital, which saw its profits decline 67% for the quarter. Still, he said he saw value in the non-financial side of the company such as its energy infrastructure business, where profits were up 11%. Jeff Macke said he wasn't comfortable with the lack of transparency in its financial side of the business. Karen Finerman said it wouldn't be shocking to her if the company accessed a government program on the condition that the dividend is cut or reduced. In an idea that appealed to Finerman, Adami said the company might be better off targeting a dividend yield of 5 to 6% and allowing the dollar amount to float. Ratigan shifted the discussion to the battered banking sector. Macke said he bought shares of Bank of America ( BAC) and Citigroup ( C) on the belief that there isn't any more bad news left to drag down the companies.
Ratigan said the only risk would be for the government to step in to take care of them and send the equity to zero. Macke said he didn't believe Obama would "vaporize" the shareholders. Adami commented briefly on the strong yen which hit record highs against the British pound and euro. He said the selling of the pound and euro and buying of the yen has been explosive. "It's getting as crowded as it gets, and it could snap, folks," he said. Macke said the strong yen is killing Japan and "crushing" shares of Toyota ( TM), which he owns. Ratigan brought in Jon Lecroy, senior analyst for Natixis Bleichroeder, to comment on a report that Pfizer ( PFE) is in talks to buy Wyeth ( WYE) for $60 billion. Lecroy called it a "desperate" move by Pfizer to buy a company that hasn't much of a pipeline. "It's like two trains that about to wreck becoming one train that's about to wreck," he said. He said the report of the deal is occurring against the backdrop of the pharma bracket being undervalued relative to the S&P. Ratigan brought in Jon Najarian to talk about how he would trade on some earnings reports next week. Najarian said the Caterpillar's ( CAT) earnings on Monday will be negatively affected by the strength of the yen. He said that should give investors a chance to get in on the downside before it bounces back. Najarian believes there's a trading opportunity in a lot of steel names that he says are oversold. In particular, he noted AK Steel ( AKS), which traded up today despite being dropped from Goldman Sachs' conviction buy list and a "hideous" tape.
Ratigan brought in Joe Duran, CEO of United Capital Financial Partners, to discuss his idea of a three-fold increase in the government stimulus to $2.4 trillion. Duran said the government needs a much larger stimulus because it increases the appetite for risk and because the economy reacts in anticipation of the belief that jobs are being created. Currently the amount being removed from the economy by the reduction of leverage greatly exceeds the proposed $800 stimulus by the new administration, he said. Duran said he would use the stimulus on infrastructure. He said using it to reduce taxes would not encourage spending because people would put it in the banks. "The dollar doesn't circulate three to four times to create the amount of jobs in a stronger economy," he said. Ratigan asked Mike Khouw, director equity derivatives for Cantor Fitzgerald, to comment on the recent oil rally. Khouw said he personally feels oil is nearing a bottom. He said he would short Exxon Mobil ( XOM), which hasn't sold off as much as it should have, and go long ConocoPhillips ( COP), which has been beatened up badly. In the final trades, Adami was for Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ). Finerman liked Rohm and Haas ( ROH). Najarian liked Genworth Financial ( GNW). "Check out "'Fast Money' Portfolios of the Week" on Stockpickr every Thursday.