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In Bleak Economy, Is Any Stock a 'Buy'?

Monday, 16 Jul 2012 | 12:58 PM ET

On Monday, investors were wondering how they should put money to work after the Commerce Department said retail sales fell for the third straight month in June.

Not since the dark days of the 2008 financial crisis have retail sales fallen for 3 consecutive months.

Pro investors find the development particularly worrisome because it suggests consumers are getting scared to open their wallets, and consumer spending drives about two-thirds of the economy.

Considering the future looks bleak, at least the immediate future, how should you put money to work in the market?

Bank on Citi's Earnings?
The FMHR crew weighs in with their top plays of the day, and the best way to play the banking sector, with Anthony Polini, Raymond James.

Strategy Session with the Fast Money traders

Trader Simon Bakers thinks the way to play the market is buy high and sell higher – that is play trends that are already working, such as the recovery in housing. “I’d play that long Wells Fargo and Home Depot ,” he says. (Click here to go to The Top Secrets of Pro Traders)

Jon Najarian agrees with the thesis; stick with what’s working. He likes long Wal-Mart as people trade down to buy essentials.

Trader Stephanie Link also thinks there are buys in the market; she thinks the trick is buying the dips and selling the rips in both cyclical and defensive names.

“I took profits in Abbott Labs because I had profits but I put money to work in Bristol Myers because I like that stock.”

Trader Stephen Weiss is far more skeptical of the market, overall. "If you’re inclined to hit the buy button then you’re betting on earnings being mostly better than expected and Ben Bernanke hinting at QE3 this week."

If that’s not the case, Weiss says you shouldn’t be putting money to work in stocks, at all.

What do you think? We want to know!

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Posted by CNBC's Lee Brodie

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Trader disclosure: On July 16, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Stephanie Link is long AAPL; Stephanie Link is long JPM; Stephen Weiss is short JCP; Stephen Weiss is long QCOM; Jon Najarian is long AAPL; Jon Najarian is long C; Jon Najarian is long JPM; Jon Najarian is long EAT; Jon Najarian is long INTC; Jon Najarian is long CIGX; Jon Najarian is long CME; Jon Najarian is long CBOE; Jon Najarian is long GLUU

For Nicole Miller Regan
The following companies have been investment banking clients of Piper Jaffray during the past 12 months BBRG
The following companies have been investment banking clients of Piper Jaffray during the past 12 months GMCR
The following companies have been investment banking clients of Piper Jaffray during the past 12 months IRG
Piper Jaffray expects to have the following companies as investment banking clients within the next three months: BAGL
Piper Jaffray expects to have the following companies as investment banking clients within the next three months: IRG
Other material conflicts of interest for Nicole Miller Regan or Piper Jaffray regarding companies in my universe for which I am aware include: IRG
Piper Jaffray received non-investment banking securities-related compensation from the following companies during the past 12 months: SONC
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and
will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: BAGL
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: BBRG
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: BJRI
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: BKW
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: CAKE
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: CBOU
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: CCSC
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: DNKN
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: GMCR
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: IRG
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: PEET
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: PNRA
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: RRGB
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: RUTH
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: SBUX
Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities of the following companies, and will buy and sell the securities of these companies on a principal basis: SONC

For Anthnoy Polini
Raymond James & Associates received non-investment banking securities-related compensation within the past 12 months from C

For Robert Carroll
UBS Securities LLC makes a market in the securities and/or ADRs of this company: MAT




CNBC.com with wires.

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