'Fast Money' Recap: Bottom Picking

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The markets closed higher Thursday on light volume in anticipation of the jobs report .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 47.38, or 0.46%, to 10,444.14, while the S&P 500 added 4.18, or 0.37%, to 1,122.97. The Nasdaq rose 11.63, or 0.51%, to 2,292.31.

Steve Liesman said on CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show on that Friday's jobs report could be a "mess," with estimates ranging from a loss of 150,000 to 250,000 jobs because of the snow storms. On the positive side, he said a "unknown" number of census workers will be hired.

As a result, he said Friday's report won't add much clarity to the jobs situation.

According to Liesman, the Fed is looking for four solid months of job growth before contemplating a move to raise interest rates.

3 Stocks I Saw onTV

Tim Seymour said the markets have already factored in a weak jobs report and will rally on a strong report.

Guy Adami singled out consumer names for their strong performance, noting in particular Gap ( GPS) for its good comparable sales numbers in the past few months and $1 billion stock repurchase plan.

Pete Najarian said the retail stocks are doing well in face of poor unemployment numbers because retailers are more efficient in what they are doing and their margins are improving. He said he liked Williams Sonoma ( WSM) and Pier One ( PIR) because they are in the "sweet spot" of the home improvement area.

Gary Kaminsky said retailers "for some reason" have outperformed when rates are going up.

Joseph Lavorgna, a Deutsche Bank economist, said consumer spending started to pick up in the second half of last year and looked very healthy in January. He said consumers are moving back in after sitting on the sidelines for quite awhile. He said the lift in the stock markets from the March lows of last year is going to raise "consumer firepower."

He said high-end retailers have done very well and expects the consumer spending at the high end will eventually trickle down.

Najarian agreed that high-end retailers have done a good job of handling inventory but he also said companies are benefiting from a large short interest. He noted Buckle ( BKE), which is up close to 19% in six months, has a 35% short interest.

Lee said the comeback of consumers will be felt most in the emerging markets such as Brazil. Tim Seymour said the emerging middle class in these markets bodes well for stocks like Companhia Brasiliera ( CBD), Grupo Televisa ( TV), Mobile Telesystems ( MBT) and China Mobile ( CHL).

Lee noted that Tivo ( TIVO) shot up 53% on a court victory. Najarian said the options activity was explosive with 300,000 contracts for the day.

Lee shifted the discussion to the one-year anniversary of the S&P since the March lows in 2009. Kaminsky said to expect a lot of articles over the weekend about it as the March 9 anniversary date approaches, with the focus on the dramatic jumps over the year for names like Citigroup ( C), Ford ( F) and Bank of America ( BAC).

In addition to the importance of the anniversary for tax purposes, he said investors should be going through the list of underperformers to see which ones might be in a position to turn around.

Seymour, for example, mentioned Textron ( TXT) as a stock that looks like it's coming back to life after looking like it was "going out of business" a year ago. Najarian offered up Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and Valero ( VAL) as other candidates.

Kaminsky said other underperformers like the Nasdaq ( NDAQ) as well the telecom stocks and refining names deserve consideration.

Lee brought in Russ Sarachek, managing paratner of Contra Capital Management, to continue the week-long discussion of M&A activity. He agreed there is a mini-boom going on in M&A, with cash-flush companies wanting to grow through deals. He said the trend is still in the early stages and sees a lot of good opportunities in the industrials, tech and Bermuda-based reinsurers, which his company has been checking out.

Lee asked the panel what to make up of the move up today in Goldman Sachs ( GS) after a big buyer stepped in the morning to scoop up shares. Seymour said it could be the impact of a diluted Volcker Plan. Kaminsky opined that Goldman still is among a handful of publicly traded big-cap investment banks that momentum funds and hedge funds would love to get their hands on.

Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, once again extolled the gold trade, where the commodity has been up five of the past six days. He said the chart for gold and short-term outlook are good for gold. He said the U.S. economy is in worst shape than Europe.

In the final trades, Seymour liked Cemex ( CX). Adami liked Blackstone ( BX), while Kaminsky liked Terex ( TX). Najarian liked Williams-Sonoma ( WSM).

-- Written by David Tong in San Francisco

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