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Halftime Report: Options Investors Betting On Palm Takeover?

The traders are closely watching unusual options action in Palm . The stock has surged ahead of next week’s Pixi release and speculation is heating up that that company could be a takeover target.

What must you know?

I’m seeing a lot of buyers of out of the money calls in both November and December, explains JJ Kinahan of TD Ameritrade. Investors appear to think the release of the Pixi could trigger a deal.

But isn’t it an odd day to get long Palm considering Dell just said they’re getting into the smartphone market too, muses Jim Iuorio of TJM. (Dell's new smartphones will debut in China; no word yet on when it will debut in the U.S.)

Palm is also a heavily shorted stock, reminds Steve Grasso. I think the stock is moving Friday on both speculation and the short squeeze. But that aside, Apple and RIM are the big boys at the table in the smartphone market. I’m not sure there’s room for another player let alone two.

Patterns in the chart of the S&P suggest the market is getting tired, reminds Bill Strazzullo of Bell Curve. If you see a big move higher in any of the stocks mentioned above, I’d take profits.

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STOCKS POISED TO FINISH WEEK HIGHER

Turning to the broad market, both the Dow and S&P 500 traded higher on Friday, buoyed by positive comments from two major retailers as well as a weaker dollar .

Bullish commentary from Disney as well as retailers Abercrombie & Fitch and J.C. Penney more than offset worries generated by a disappointing consumer confidence report and an increase in the nation's trade deficit.

Investors are hoping improved results at retailers mean consumers will spend more as they shop for the holidays.

Meanwhile, the greenback declined due to a surprise jump in the trade deficit; the weaker dollar gave resource and energy names a boost.

What’s the trade?

The market hasn’t closed above 1100, reminds Steve Grasso. That's been resistance. That action says to me it’s a stock pickers market.

Also, Friday’s rally doesn’t seem to be on huge volume, adds Jim Iuiro. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the dollar spring higher and stocks trade off. For a trade I’d be long the dollar in the short-term. I expect to see a short-squeeze rally over the next couple of days.

There may be a short term correction but I think it’s foolish to fight the big picture trend, says JJ Kinahan, and that's weak dollar and stock market higher. Be careful of shorting anything in this tape.

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GOLD NEARS RECORD HIGHS

Gold climbed higher on Friday and traded within a striking distance of its record high as the dollar fell against a basket of currencies.

Spot gold traded as high as $1,114.55 per ounce; the record high was $1,122.85

What’s the trade?

Patterns in the chart of gold suggest to me that this precious metal has more upside, says Bill Strazzulo. Although there could be profit taking around 1150-1175 I expect gold ultimately has 25% more upside and could go as high as 1400.

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TAKE YOUR POSITION: TARGET, HOME DEPOT, LOWE'S NEXT WEEK

Investors are closely watching the action in the RTH on Friday as they prepare for a slew of retail earnings reports next week.

Retail Earnings Next Week

Mon: Lowe's, Pacific Sunwear
Tue: Home Depot, Saks, Target, TJX
Wed: BJ's, Chico's, Limited Brands
Thu: Gamestop, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Gap
Fri: Ann Taylor

What’s the trade?

I’d play Home Depot as a seller of the out of the money puts, counsels JJ Kinahan. As the lower end of the housing market stabilizes I think we’ll see some rehab projects.

I’d play ANF from the long side, says Steve Grasso. I think they’ve done a great job with cost cutting.

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HOLD ‘EM OR FOLD ’EM

With so many stocks hitting 52 –week highs this week, should you hold ‘em or fold ‘em. Today’s high flier - Starbucks

What's the trade?

I’d fold ‘em says Jim Iurio. Look at MCD instead.

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CALL THE CLOSE

Steve Grasso: I’m a buyer.

Bill Strazzullo: I’d take profits.

JJ Kinahan : I’m a buyer

Jim Iuorio: I’m a seller


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Trader disclosure: On November 13th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Grasso Owns (AAPL), (ABK), (ASTM), (BAC), (BGP), (C), (COST), (FAZ), (PFE), (MRK), (V), (WMT); Kinahan Owns (HD), (GE), (MCD), (YHOO), (DIS), (YUM); Kinahan Is Short (SPY); Kinahan Is Short S&P 500; Iuorio Owns (SPY) Calls; Iuorio Owns S&P 500 Puts; Iuorio Is Short Dollar Against Euro & Canada; Iuorio Owns (GLD), (GLD) Puts; Iuorio Owns (WMT) Calls; Iuorio Owns (GIS) Calls; Iuorio Owns (WMT) Calls; Iuorio Owns (GE), (MCD), (DELL), (MSFT), (GOOG); Strazzullo Owns (GLD); Kinahan Owns (SBUX)

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Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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ANF
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4331
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DIS
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JCP
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BB
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UUP
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SPDR NRG SEL
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SBUX
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AAPL
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MCD
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MV RETAIL
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