Cablevision Eyes Consolidation, Biotech Seen Nearing Bubble

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A possible biotech tech bubble and executive plans for cable consolidation dominated CNBC's Fast Money Halftime Report trading panel discussion on Wednesday.

But before diving into those two topics, the panel took on comments of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who earlier in the day said equity valuations were too high

"We're cautious in the short run and long in the long run," said Fast Money panelist Rick Saperstein, chief investment officer of Treasury Partners. "We like the stock market but expect some sort of correction in the short run, given a lot of the global risks outstanding. For fixed income...we see short rates going higher, more than longer rates. This move in rates that is occurring right now is temporary."

In preparation for a correction in the markets, Saperstein said he would in financials, energy, home builders and the tech sector.

Meanwhile, Jim Lebenthal, chief investment officer of Lebenthal & Co., said he does not expect the Fed to embark on a series of rate hikes.

Questions of whether a biotech bubble is forming and on the verge of exploding was also covered by the panel, especially in light of Alexion Pharmaceuticals' (ALXN) massive $8.4 billion buyout announcement of Synageva Biopharma (GEVA).

"Expect a stream of deals," said Mark Schoenebaum, who heads up the healthcare research team at Evercore ISI. "We haven't seen an acquirer yet of a major deal that trades off and stays off...but if Alexion stays down one month after the deal, then it may (temper M&A) deals."

Some of the biotech selloff that occurred in April and May should not be viewed as a signal of a bubble that is poised for a burst, Schoenebaum said, but rather something that is needed in a healthy bull market.

"I don't think we are in a (biotech) bubble," said Schoenebaum; however, he noted underperformance in the next year or two is possible.

Biotech stocks that Schoenebaum likes include Biogen (BIIB), Gilead Sciences (GILD), AbbVie (ABBV), and Pfizer (PFE).

The panel heard from the CEOs of Cablevision Systems (CVC) and Cox during the Fast Money session.

Cablevision CEO James Dolan's comments about his desire to consolidate the New York cable market helped drive his company's stock higher during intraday trading.

"Consolidating markets are good for consumers," said Dolan, speaking from the Internet & Television Expo in Chicago. He also expressed interest in doing a deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC), Comcast  (CMCSA) and other operators to create one market in New York.

Fast Money panelist Jon Najarian, co-founder of OptionMonster.com, said Cablevision is hoping to get a "bite" of Time Warner Cable to get the growth that the company needs. Lebenthal added that Cablevision has expensive currency and Dolan wants to use it.

Patrick Esser, CEO of privately-held cable company Cox Communications, said while mergers and acquisitions could bring scale to the company in the form of benefiting its supply management chain, there's no guarantee it would improve the company's performance compared with having the ability to execute on its game plan.

In wrapping up the session, Lebenthal said he likes BP (BP), because it's tied to rising oil and provides a decent dividend. Pete Najarian likes the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX.X), Jon Najarian is watching interest rates, while Michael Block, chief strategist of Rhino Trading Partners, said he is shorting the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF).

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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