'Fast Money' Recap: Playing China Through U.S. Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 eked out a gain on Monday, closing higher by 0.03%. 

On CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show, the trading panel took a look at Chinese equities. 

Tim Seymour, managing partner of Triogem Asset Management, said Chinese stocks appear to breaking out as macro data continue to be very encouraging. He added that China is the cheapest major emerging market and investors are "far from missing out" by getting in now. 

Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, said when the Shanghai composite starts to break out then it's "way more exciting." This is because only Chinese residents can buy stocks in this index -- when it gets rolling, it can be very hard to stop, he reasoned. 

Guy Adami, managing director of stockmonster.com, said the best way to play a Chinese economic acceleration with a U.S. stock is through Alcoa (AA). The stock seems likely to push up to $18. 

Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, said several industrial stocks with Chinese exposure -- such as Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Vale (VALE), and Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) -- along with Chinese Internet names like Baidu (BIDU) suggest broad-based Chinese equities may have been in store for a rally. 

Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter, remains a buyer of Alcoa and has reiterated this stance since last fall. He is neutral on U.S. stocks at the moment, but continued to stress that we are still in a bull market. He added the initial public offering surge is somewhat similar to the late-1990s and early-2000s. "I urge caution" in this regard, he concluded. 

Gartman made his IPO comments about El Pollo Loco's (LOCO) recent IPO. The stock is up 83% since its going public on Friday. 

Adami reasoned that perhaps the valuations in some of the fast casual stocks, such as El Pollo Loco and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), aren't as overstretched as many investors first thought, given the growth. 

Brown suggested that investors could buy shares of El Pollo Loco on a pullback. The company has posted 11 consecutive quarter of same-store growth. 

Seymour questioned whether these stocks could continue to grow at the same rate as they have in the past. The fast-casual stocks deserve a higher valuation, he said, but investors have to be realistic as well. 

Adami reasoned that shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) can continue moving higher, perhaps to $50. The CEO announced he will step down and the stock has a high short-interest. 

Family Dollar (FDO) popped 25% on news that Dollar Tree (DLTR) would acquire it for $8.5 billion. Najarian asked what this news meant for Dollar General (DG), which was the company many investors thought would merge with FDO. 

Seymour argued the deal between Family Dollar and Dollar Tree could save a lot of money through cost-cutting. 

Adami pointed out the weakness in shares of Target (TGT). If the stock can find support near current levels, investors can stay long, he said. 

Zillow (Z) will acquire Trulia (TRLA) for $3.5 billion in stock. Adami said investors should hope for a selloff on Tuesday in shares of Move Inc. (MOVE) after it reports earnings. If it does, it's a buying opportunity, he suggested.

Brown said the new tariffs on foreign solar companies are "pretty rough." However, it will likely allow U.S. solar stocks to trade with a premium, such as SunPower (SPWR) and First Solar (FSLR). He likes First Solar, which has strong growth at a reasonable valuation. 

The tariff news weighed on shares of GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT). Najarian said the stock is a buy on the pullback. He is also a buyer of First Solar. 

Virgin America announced that it will go public. Najarian said the company chose a good time. The deal seems appealing, given the strength in the airline industry, he added. 

Adami reasoned that JetBlue Airways (JBLU) -- which sold off on the Virgin America IPO announcement -- is a buy. He added the stock's high short interest could help propel shares higher. Seymour said the top airline stock to buy on pullbacks remains Delta Air Lines (DAL). 

RF Micro Devices (RFMD) is up 111% year to date. Najarian pointed out bullish call buying activity in the January $12 call options. He is long these options as well. 

Twitter (TWTR) was the featured company on the show's "Street Fight" segment. Brown was the bull, arguing that the stock's valuation doesn't really matter. Instead, monthly active users (MAU) and revenue per 1,000 timeline views does. Both metrics accelerated in the first quarter versus the fourth quarter, and the company's new CFO seems more fit to handle Wall Street analysts, he said. 

Seymour argued that Twitter is five times more expensive than Facebook (FB). He added the World Cup was a "one-off event" and will only boost Twitter's results for one quarter. Investors are "punishing" high multiple stocks that fail to deliver, he said, and Twitter is not growing. Its MAUs are declining over the longer term. 

Adami said it was odd Twitter didn't trade higher last week on the back of Facebook's strong earnings report. He is not optimistic on Twitter although Najarian said he is bullish. The company reports earnings on Tuesday after the close.  

Lennar (LEN) fell 2% and was the first stock on the show's "Pops & Drops" segment. Housing starts are at nine-month lows, Seymour said, suggesting home demand may be lower than many investors had expected. 

Tyson Foods (TSN) climbed 3%. Najarian said, "I think the stock goes higher."

Cummins (CMI) dropped 3%. Brown said he likes the stock on the long side. 

BlackBerry (BBRY) slid 3%. Adami said the stock looks likely to decline to $9. 

Brian Marshall, analyst and managing director at ISI Group, has a buy rating on Apple (AAPL) with a $105 price target. The iPhone 6's introduction will likely be too late to make an impact on the next earnings report. However, in the December quarter, Apple may sell 60 million iPhones. 

For fiscal 2015, Apple may sell 200 million iPhone units, Marshall reasoned, based on the number of current iPhones that are eligible for upgrade. If the company can keep costs low and raise prices slightly, margins are unlikely to decline. Apple should focus on its buyback, boosting its dividend and hiring/acquiring exceptional talent, he said of the company's cash hoard. 

"I think the stock's going higher," Brown said of Apple.

Christopher Anzalone, CEO and president of Arrowhead Research (ARWR), said Hepatitis B infects over 350 million people worldwide, or one in 20 people. "It's a tremendous unmet medical need," he said, and one for which his company may have found a cure. The company has plenty of cash to carry out the program, he said, adding that he sees it in shareholders' best interest to not be acquired at this time. 

Adami said the stock seems poised to move higher. 

For their final trades, Seymour is a buyer of E-House Holdings Limited (EJ) and Najarian is buying RF Micro Devices. Brown is a buyer of First Solar and Adami is buying Eastman Chemical (EMN).


-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

Follow @BretKenwell

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

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