A pullback in the financials and the plunge in the dollar dealt a blow to the markets Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 85.78, or 1.15%, to 7,400.08, while the S&P 500 lost 10.31, or 1.3%, to 784.04. The Nasdaq fell 7.74, or 0.52%, to 1,483.48. Pete Najarian said on CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show that the market took a breather after an impressive run-up by the financial and industrial stocks. Tim Seymour said the plunge in the dollar in the past few days has caused investors to shift to the commodities. "The re-inflation trade is back on," he said. Guy Adami added gold has snapped back while crude oil settled at $51.61 a barrel. Adami still thinks the S&P can make a move to 900 without the leadership of the financials. "If the financials can move sideways, other groups can take us higher," he said. Najarian commented on the "incredible run" in the tech space. He said Oracle ( ORCL) exploded today because the expectations were for it not to produce. But he said the company continues to produce, with its software line still working for them. Adami, though, said the Oracle trade is over after going up more than 12% in the past two days. He said its guidance for the next quarter calls for new software licenses to be down 17% to 27%. Pharma stocks were lower today as the industry group reported a slide in sales in 2008. Najarian said the issue for most of these pharmas is the expiration of valuable patents in 2010. On that note, Adami singled out Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) as the exception in that group because its patents don't expire until 2016.
Dylan Ratigan, the moderator of the show, brought in Matthew Kelly, an analyst with Sterne Agee, to talk about GE Capital, the financial arm of General Electric ( GE). Kelly had mixed views of GE's briefing today. He said the company's liquidity position is strong, but expressed concerns about GE Capital's continuing problems with loan loss recognition, provisions for bad assets and future writedowns. Ratigan asked Josh Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co., to assess the impact of the Fed's big move to buy long-term securities on the housing market. Rosner said it will help a lot of homeowners facing upcoming loan resets, but he said it absolutely will not change the face of the housing. He said housing demand remains weak, as home prices deteriorate and a flood of second homes purchased in the past several years are about to hit the market. In addition, he said the housing market could destabilize as construction development loans head south, unemployment rises and corporate defaults rise in the second half. "The Treasury and the Fed loaded their gun and wasted their ammunition," he said. Rebecca Patterson, head of global foreign exchange for JPMorgan Private Bank, came on the show with a counter-intuitive view of the dollar trade. She said she would be a buyer of the oversold dollar, her rationale being that the dollar historically has benefited from inflation in the U.S. She said U.S. assets are going to look attractive if there is some inflation, some growth and the U.S. leading the global economy out of the recession. She said the dollar remains a safe haven because no other country in the world has the liquidity of the U.S. bond market.
As for investing in the currencies in emerging markets, she said her favorite trade is the Korean won against the Japanese yen over 12 months. Ratigan asked the panel whether they would trade in distressed companies and banks that the government is bailing out. Najarian said he would put his money in the financials, including such "good banks" as Goldman Sachs ( GS), Morgan Stanley ( MS) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM). Adami said he would be selective in his investments, investing in individual companies and banks but not the sectors themselves. Ratigan and Steve Liesman, a CNBC reporter, discussed the fate of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who has been grilled for his handling of bonuses handed out by AIG ( AIG). Today, Geithner said he took full responsibility for inserting a loophole in the stimulus package to permit the bonuses in an attempt to ward off any lawsuits against the government . Jeff Macke was skeptical of Geithner's tenure. "They'll keep him around long enough to take the fall on toxic assets, then he'll go home." Ratigan said Geithner has had a "tremendous communications problem," while Liesman pointed out that Geithner worked behind the scenes in his former job and didn't have to be accountable to the public. Adami thought it was unfair and a bit of revisionist history to accuse Geithner of mishandling a problem that wasn't getting that much attention several months ago. For the record, Liesman said the White House maintains Geithner's job is safe. In the fnial trades, Macke said to take some profits off Apple ( AAPL). Adami said to sell Oracle and buy it back at $15.50. Seymour was for Tenaris ( TS), while Najarian liked McDonald's ( MCD).
"'Fast Money'Portfolios of the Week" on Stockpickr every Thursday.