'Fast Money' Recap: Trading on Geopolitical Tensions

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 fell 1.18% while the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX.X) (also known as the "Fear Gauge") rocketed higher by 32% as geopolitical tensions increased on Thursday. 

On CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show, the trading panel discussed what to do next. 

Guy Adami, managing director of stockmonster.com, said the $108 level is "critical support" for the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM), after forming a potential "double top," a bearish technical pattern, near $120. 

Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital, said he is a buyer of long-dated Treasury bonds. He added that "sentiment sectors" like biotech and social media have been declining for several consecutive sessions, meaning today's broader selloff wasn't surprising. 

Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, pointed out the Volatility Index is still relatively low by historical standards. He said investors could buy call options and/or bull call spreads in the VIX.X for protection, but he believes it will decline on Friday. 

Steve Grasso, director of institutional sales at Stuart Frankel, said the S&P 500 needs to stay above 1,952, which is last week's low. For now, he is a buyer of utility stocks such as Southern Company (SO) and gold via the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX). 

Tim Seymour, managing partner of Triogem Asset Management, said geopolitical issues haven't mattered much to U.S. equities until now. He added that the S&P 500 fell 1% for the first time in nearly 60 sessions, while the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) fell 7%. 

Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, said the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner  above Ukraine is "terribly tragic." Russian President Vladimir Putin seems rather "defensive" and perhaps the incident is "bad enough that it will bring some sanity" to the situation, Pickering said. Israel also invaded the Gaza Strip Thursday, hoping to destroy underground tunnels that lead into Israel. The attack isn't surprising and the region needs political change, Pickering concluded. 

Robert Peck, Internet analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, has a buy rating on shares of Google (GOOGL) with a $680 price target. He said business in the U.K. is reaccelerating, which is very positive for Google. He said there are four big takeaways for the earnings report: Google is growing revenue "north of 20%" year over year, has stable margins, is reinvesting excess profits for long-term growth and has a low valuation.

 

Najarian said he likes shares of Google but does not currently own the stock. Kelly said he wants to see the stock close above $600 before initiating a long position. Grasso said he bought a half-position in Google, and plans to buy the other half on a pullback to $585 or on a breakout above $600. 

International Business Machines (IBM) beat on top- and bottom-line estimates but shares fell after the company reported its ninth consecutive drop in revenue.

Joseph Foresi, managing director at Janney Capital Markets, said IBM barely cleared a "very low bar" of expectations. He added a majority of the company's business is declining and its fundamentals are weakening. China improved slightly but is still doing poorly. He concluded that IBM only deserves an earnings multiple of eight to 10 times next year's expected earnings. 

Grasso said he is not a buyer of IBM at current levels. Kelly said he likes IBM over the lon -term, but in the short term it's a sell because it has a "cash flow problem."

Adami said shares of IBM have moved higher in recent trading for three reasons: its recently announced deal with Apple (AAPL), Intel's (INTC) solid earnings report and the strength in the broader market. However, he is a seller of IBM, which has rising debt and falling sales. 

Seymour said investors should buy the weakness in shares of Chevron (CVX) and Total SA (TOT). He added that Brent crude oil looks poised to run to $115 on the back of industrial growth, higher demand and geopolitical tension. He is not a buyer of Novatek  (NOVKY).

Kelly said he covered his short position in WTI crude oil. A rally to $110 per barrel wouldn't be surprising, he said. Adami said he is a buyer of Schlumberger (SLB) on a decline to $110. 

Grasso, while being a "seller of the overall oil space," likes Weatherford International (WFT). 

Najarian is a buyer of Emerge Energy (EMES), CARBO Ceramics (CRR), Oasis Petroleum (OAS) and Flotek Industries (FTK). 

Anthony Grisanti, president of GRZ Energy, said gold's $17 rally seemed rather weak, given what has been going on around the world. He added that there was not a lot of "new buyers," just a lot of investors covering their short positions. He added that he is considering selling gold near current levels.

Seymour said he is a seller of gold, which he believes to still be in a bear market. Kelly is a buyer of platinum via Stillwater Mining (SWC). 

Adami argued that rates still seem poised to go lower and he is still a buyer of the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT). 

Seymour is a seller of German stocks via the iShares MSCI Germany ETF (EWG). 

Adami said investors should wait for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) to pull back to $3.50 and Intel to pullback to $31, before getting long either stock. 

Najarian said investors should buy the weakness in airline stocks. 

For their final trades, Najarian is a buyer of Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) and Grasso said to buy Google. Kelly is taking profits in Microsoft (MSFT) and Adami is buying Silver Wheaton (SLW). 

-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

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Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter.

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