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Halftime: Trading Oracle Ahead of Earnings

Software giant Oracle is scheduled to report quarterly earnings results after the closing bell on Thursday. It seems expectations are high, as its stock flirted with a 10-year high in midday trading.

But is Oracle a buy ahead of earnings? Yes, said top technology analyst Heather Bellini of ISI Group.

"I think Oracle is playing offense more than any other big cap tech company in the enterprise space," Bellini said, also noting Apple isn't an enterprise name.

But in a world of "haves and have nots," Bellini said Oracle is "clearly a have" in mega cap tech.

With the S&P trading at roughly 15 times forward earnings — the same level at which Oracle is trading — Bellini thinks ORCL deserves to trade at a premium.

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Steve Cortes, founder of Veracruz, isn't sure if he would buy ahead of earnings, but said he's bullish the tech name. If it dips on earnings, he would buy ORCL because he also thinks it should trade at a premium.

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CONSUMER STAPLES — BUY OR NO?

Ag prices continue to weigh on consumer staples names, like General Mills.

Patty Edwards, chief financial officer of Trutina Financial, noted that costs conintue to climb for producers and they're not able to raise prices on the consumer because they don't have any cash. As a result, margins are getting squeezed. It's a tough problem, she said, and one that will likely continue for some time.

Cortes thinks the ag trade is overheated. He will short corn and go long consumer staples names.

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CALL THE CLOSE

Here's what expectations the traders have for the remainder of the day and how they're playing it:

Cortes is adding to shorts in Las Vegas Sands.

Edwards thinks the market could push higher, but is somewhat worried about increased volatility.

Guy Adami of Drakon Capital and Steve Grasso of Stuart Frankel also think the market could go higher.

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Trader disclosure: On December 16, 2010, following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Adami owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Adami's wife works at (MRK): Cortes owns (TSN); Cortes owns (TM); Cortes is short (BAC) vs. S&P; Cortes is short (XRT) vs. S&P; Cortes is short (MOS); Cortes is short (LVS); Cortes is short Euro Stoxx Futures; Cortes is long Treasuries; Cortes is long USD vs. Mexican Peso; Cortes is short Corn; Cortes is short Nat Gas; Cortes is short Gold; Grasso owns (ASTM), (BA), (BAC), (BWC), (C), (CSCO), (JPM), (LIT), (LPX), (MOT), (MHY), (NDAQ), (PFE), (PRST), (S), (X)

For Patty Edwards
Edwards owns (AAPL) for clients
Edwards owns (GS) for clients
Edwards owns (C) for clients
Edwards owns (CME) for clients
Edwards owns (AMZN) for clients
Edwards owns (F) for clients
Edwards owns (MSFT) for clients
Edwards owns (XLK) for clients
Edwards owns (GLD) for clients
Edwards owns (SLV) for clients
Edwards owns (GE) for clients
Edwards owns (GIS) for clients

For Steve Grasso:
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (AAPL)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (AMGN)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (BP)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (CUBA)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (GE)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (GERN)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (HPQ)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (HSPO)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (NWS.A)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (NYX)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (OPEN)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (PDE)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (PFE)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (PRST)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (RDC)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (TLM)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (XRX)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (SDS)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (UNM)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners are short (QQQQ)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners are short (AAPL)

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