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Halftime—Steve Cortes: Time to Buy Bank of America

Wednesday, 1 Dec 2010 | 1:46 PM ET

Make room in the closet! Steve Cortes is hanging up his bear costume on Bank of America.

Cortes said he's recently had luck shorting BAC , but now the Veracruz founder thinks it's a good time to buy shares of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank. In fact, he's bullish on US financial institutions in general.

"These financials in the US are very beaten up and I think the biggest advantage they have going for them right now is the yield curve," Cortes explained. "With the 10-Year getting near 3 percent, I actually think these banks are buyable again."

Cortes recommends buying US banks and selling foreign ones, like Banco Santander . Shares of the Spanish financial institution have been battered lately, but the hope is that Europe will be helped by the European Central Bank, which meets Thursday. But Cortes isn't optimistic and said he's shorting European banks with a stop on the recent highs.

Watch the video to see the full conversation with Cortes.

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AUTOMAKERS REPORT STRONG NOVEMBER SALES

Three US automakers reported better-than-expected November auto sales year-over-year, according to CNBC's Phil LeBeau.

GM & Ford Drive Markets Higher
November auto sales help auto stocks move forward, reports CNBC's Phil LeBeau.

Ford Motor lead the way with a 24 percent increase in November sales while General Motors' sales rose by 21 percent and Chrysler's by 16.7 percent, reports LeBeau.

Typically November auto sales are poor, said Virtus Investment Partners' Joe Terranova. He thinks this strength is very positive for the space and would consider either F or GM at current levels.

Ford also increased its first-quarter production by 11 percent, said LeBeau, making roughly 61,000 vehicles to be sold in mainly in North America.

"Production drives revenue, drives earnings. That is the key and they continue to ratchet up production," he noted, adding that the Dearborn, Mich.-based company expects pent-up demand through 2011.

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BRIAN KELLY'S TOP TWO TECH PLAYS

Two technology giants came roaring back in trading Wednesday, including Google and Microsoft.

Brian Kelly, founder of Kanundrum Capital, likes both stocks in the long-term. Kelly thinks that Google will eventually monetize its Android operating system and that Microsoft will be able to deploy the loads of cash on its balance sheet.

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CALL TO THE FLOOR: ARUBA NETWORKS

Call to the Floor: Aruba Networks CEO
Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba Networks, a leader in corporate wi-fi, talks to the "Fast Money" traders.

Apple shares hit all-time highs Wednesday and one of the benefactors of its success appeared on the "Fast Money Halftime Report." Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr spoke with CNBC's Melissa Lee from San Jose. Watch the video to see full interview.

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CALL THE CLOSE

"You have broad sector participation today," Terranova said. "Take a look at health care."

Cortes reiterated that he "loves" domestic banks and "hates" international ones.

Todd Gordon, senior technical analyst at FOREX.com, is selling the euro against the 1,206 level in the S&P 500 index.

Kelly likes this market. He would consider US dollar strength as an opportunity to go with risk-on trades.

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CEO EXTRA

After the broadcast we talked a little more with Aruba Networks CEO, Dominic Orr. Check out what he told us in this web exclusive video.

CEO Extra: Apple And Android In Your Office
Halftime Report Web Exclusive: Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr's Post-Show Comments

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Trader disclosure: On December 1, 2010, following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Terranova Owns (FCX), (UPL), (C), (PEP), (VRTS), (OXY), (AXP), (GS), (POT), (AAPL), (NKE), (OIH); Cortes is short (UNP); Cortes owns (GS); Cortes owns (MS); Cortes owns (BAC); Cortes owns (CME); Cortes is short German DAX; Cortes is long U.S. Dollar vs. Mexican Peso, Euro, Australian Dollar; Cortes is long U.S. 2-year treasury notes

For Brian Kelly
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (GLD)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (GDXJ)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (SLV)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (JPM)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (C)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (WFC)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (RDC)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (ARMH)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (AAPL)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (FCX)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (QCOM)

For Joe Terranova
Terranova Is Chief Market Strategist Of Virtus Investment Partners, LTD.
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (ABAX)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (ALK)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (AMKR)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (CCG)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (CASS)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (CSVI)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (EPR)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (EXR)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (FCFS)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (IGE)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (KRC)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (LDR)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (LPHI)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (MGRC)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (NRCI)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (DBV)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLB)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLV)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLP)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLY)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLE)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLI)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLK)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (XLU)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (SUBK)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (WDFC)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (YDNT)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (CLB)
Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (DRYS)

For Todd Gordon
Forex.com is a market maker in all currencies
Gordon is long S&P
Gordon is long U.S. Treasuries

For Paul Miller (FBR)
***No Disclosures

CNBC.com with wires.

  Price   Change %Change
ARUN
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BAC
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F
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GM
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MSFT
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SAN
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AAPL
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GOOGL
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