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Halftime—Dennis Gartman: Euro Crisis a 'Virulent Disease'

The euro could soon unravel, said renown currency and commodities trader Dennis Gartman on Monday, as the European Central Bank threw Portugal a temporary lifeline by buying its bonds.

In the next several years, Gartman thinks the currency will break into a northern euro and a southern euro. Germany, he said, won't stand to continue to fund countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal — all of which have lesser average work weeks, lower productivity rates and lower savings rates, he said.

"A break-up of the euro would be so catastrophic to the economic environment, that China would not want that to happen," countered Brian Kelly, founder of Kanundrum Capital.

Just as the euro is about to unravel, Kelly thinks China will support the troubled currency, buy euro bonds and therefore gain more say in the International Monetary Fund. Gartman added that he, too, doubts China wants a break-up to happen, but also doesn't think China will be willing to spend money to keep it going.

Germany, France and other euro zone countries are pushing for Portugal to seek an European Union-IMF assistance program, as Greece and Ireland had, to prevent spreading contagion to Spain, according to a Reuters report citing a senior euro zone source. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, has denied the report.

The Portugal bailout talk is simply "random noise" and no reason to change your portfolio, said Gartman. Being as the euro is "demonstrably weaker," he thinks "a small bounce is to be expected." If one has no short position, however, he suggests using this rally to get short. Being as he thinks Europe's problems are long-term, he would sell any rallies in the euro.

With more than 30 years of experience as a currency and commodities trader, Gartman is a "Fast Money" contributor and publisher of the widely read "The Gartman Letter."

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POPS & DROPS

Stocks fell on Monday as investors awaited the start of the earnings season and shrugged off a spate of mergers and acquisitions activity. Of all the market movers, the "Fast Money" traders found these to be the most interesting:

Pops (stocks that moved higher)

LDK Solar (LDK) popped 18%: Shares surged after the company raised its fourth-quarter and full-year guidance thanks to increased solar wafer shipments. Almost every time this stock moves higher, it tends to fall back, said Stuart Frankel's Steve Grasso. He expects it will do the same this time around.

Blue Nile (NILE) popped 2%: The online diamond retailer upgraded to ‘hold’ from ‘sell’ at Benchmark. The firm also increased its price target to $46 from $31.

Drops (stocks that moved higher)

Rovi Corp. (ROVI) dropped 2%: Shares sold off after the company projected 2011 earnings would come up shy of the Street’s expectations. Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionMONSTER.com, would consider buying on a pullback.

RadioShack (RSH) dropped 10%: The consumer electronics retailer's stock fell after FBR Capital downgraded it from ‘outperform’ to ‘market perform.' Zachary Karabell of RiverTwice Research said he's surprised this company is still in business.

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CALL THE CLOSE

At the conclusion of the "Fast Money Halftime Report," the traders guessed which way the market is likely to head.

With the S&P bouncing off the 1,260 level, Grasso is a buyer of the market.

Kelly, on the other hand, is a seller of the market, especially below 1,260.

Regardless of where the market closes on Monday, Karabell thinks it could trend upward with earnings.

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Trader disclosure: On Jan. 10, 2011, following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Pete Najarian owns (C). Pete Najarian owns (MS). Pete Najarian owns (V) call spread. Pete Najarian owns (YHOO). Pete Najarian owns (CNI). Pete Najarian owns (BBY) calls. Pete Najarian owns (AXP) call spreads. Pete Najarian owns (F) bonds. Pete Najarian owns (F) calls. Pete Najarian owns (GM) call spreads. Pete Najarian owns (MSFT) call spreads. Pete Najarian owns (RIMM) call spreads. Pete Najarian owns (BAC) call spreads. Pete Najarian owns (DD) calls. Steve Grasso owns (ASTM). Steve Grasso owns (BA). Steve Grasso owns (BAC). Steve Grasso owns (BWC). Steve Grasso owns (C). Steve Grasso owns (CSCO). Steve Grasso owns (JPM). Steve Grasso owns (LIT). Steve Grasso owns (LPX). Steve Grasso owns (MHY). Steve Grasso owns (NDAQ). Steve Grasso owns (PFE). Steve Grasso owns (PRST). Steve Grasso owns (S). Zachary Karabell owns (GOOG). Zachary Karabell owns (AAPL). Zachary Karabell owns (FCX). Zachary Karabell owns (RIMM). Zachary Karabell owns (GS). Zachary Karabell owns (C).

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BRIAN KELLY
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (TBT)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (YGE)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (FCX)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (MON)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (ANDE)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (GLD)
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Own (JPM) puts
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Are Long USD
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Are Short The Euro
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Are Short The Yen
Accounts Managed By Kanundrum Capital Are Short (XLF)

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 (NY)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (OPE)
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)

ZACHARY KARABELL
River Twice Capital Owns (CSCO)
River Twice Capital Owns (MSFT)
River Twice Capital Owns (DD)
River Twice Capital Owns (GS)
River Twice Capital Is Short (SPY)
River Twice Capital Is Short (XLI)
River Twice Capital Is Short (XLF)

DENNIS GARTMAN
Funds Managed By Dennis Gartman Are Short The Euro

ROMIT SHAH
Nomura Securities International Inc. is a market maker in (AMD)

CNBC.com with wires.

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LDKSY
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NILE
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ROVI
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RAND
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