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Halftime Report: Beware The Greenback Comeback

The S&P 500 fell on Tuesday after a disappointing outlook from 3M and a second consecutive month of domestic sales declines at McDonald's triggered worry about the pace of consumer spending.

However the Fast Money traders are focused on the greenback comeback; as the dollar gains strength it knocks commodity stocks across board.

What should you be watching?

I'm watching 74 as a critical level in the dollar; that's the level that held, says Todd Gordon of Forex.com. But for the next 24-48 hours I think we may see a retracement.

Moves in the dollar have me watching the volatility in gold, says Pete Najarian, which have been making big moves. That suggests investors are looking for larger swings either higher or lower – likely as a reaction to the dollar.

The chart of miner Freeport McMoRan is what I’m watching, says Brian Kelly of Kunundrum. This stock has retraced roughly 78% of its November uptrend. Now we’re at a key technical point ( a key fibonacchi turning point). I think this is a good place to establish a new position.

I’ve established a new position in Seabridge Gold, adds Eugene Profit. It’s a small cap gold play and I’m betting gold goes a little higher.

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MARKET BUZZKILL: MCDONALD’S

As we allueded to above, McDonald's dragged down stocks after it said sales at established U.S. restaurants fell for the second straight month as competitors like Burger King and Taco Bell pushed low prices to attract customers.

Weakness in Germany and China also pressured sales that analysts said were worse than expected throughout the world.

Is the fast food trade over?

I like McDonald’s stock long-term, says Pete Najarian. If the stock trades down to $58 I’m a buyer.

I see support for this stock at $57, adds Todd Gordon. Maybe you could even short down to that level.

I’m concerned by what these results say about the domestic consumer, adds Eugene Profit. With unemployment being where it is –this all says to me the consumer is not back.

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TRADING THE GLOBE: GLOBAL CREDIT JITTERS

On Tuesday ratings agency Fitch cut Greece's debt to BBB+ with a negative outlook, the latest blow to the troubled euro zone country, driving its bonds, bank shares and the euro itself lower.

The cut was the first time in 10 years a major ratings agency has dropped Greece below an A grade. Fitch cited fiscal deterioration in one of the 16-member currency bloc's most indebted member states.

"The downgrade reflects concerns over the medium-term outlook for public finances given the weak credibility of fiscal institutions and the policy framework in Greece," Fitch said in a statement, calling for austere fiscal policies.

What must you know?

I’d be very cautious, counsels Tim Seymour. I’d stay away from most European banks that have big exposure to Greece such as HBC .

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TAKE YOUR POSITION: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS

Tech investors are eager to hear from Texas Instruments which gives their mid quarter update on Tuesday after the bell.

What’s the tech trade?

I love TXN, says Pete Najarian. And I’m also bullish on Marvel and Intel.

In the tech space, I’m positive on Cisco, adds Eugene Profit.

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FAST & FURIOUS: THE KEY QUESTIONS INTO THE CLOSE

BUY AIRLINES? The airline sector initially surged on word that United ordered 50 new planes; should you buy too?

I am not a buyer, says Pete Najarian. Wait.

BUY GOLD: Considering the weakness in gold , should you take advantage of the dip?

I think copper is the better play, says Brian Kelly.

BUY HEALTH INSURERS? With a compromise on the public option expected as soon as Tuesday, how should you game the health care space?

I expect the bill will lead to more insurance for more people and that’s positive for the health sector, says Eugene Profit.

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TRADE TO GO: MORGAN STANLEY

At $30, Morgan Stanley is trading at about a 10 P/E. I love this level, says Pete Najarian.

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CALL THE CLOSE

Pete Najarian: I’m a buyer.

Brian Kelly: I’m a buyer.

Eugene Profit: I’d take profits.

Todd Gordon I’m a buyer.


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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 8th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (GE), (INTC), (TIE); Najarian Owns (AAPL) Calls; Najarian Owns (BAC) Calls; Najarian Owns (C) Calls; Najarian Owns (GE) Calls; Najarian Owns (INTC), Is Short (INTC) Calls; Najarian Owns (TXN), (TXN) Call Spread; Finerman Owns (GOOG), (AAPL); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (RIG); Finerman's Firm Owns (BAC) Preferred, (BAC), (BAC) Call Spreads; Finerman Owns (BAC) Preferred, (BAC); Finerman's Firm Owns (CSCO), (MCD), (MSFT), (TGT), (WMT), (YUM); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (WFC) Preferred; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IWM), (SPY), (IJR), (MDY), (UNG), (USO)

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