Finally there's Herbalife. What can I say that hasn't been said about Herbalife by the principal, Michael Johnson, and the antagonist, Bill Ackman? I will tell you what: If Johnson doesn't file a tortious interference action against Ackman, maybe he's just doing a whole lot of passionate talking and nothing more. Ackman's goal seems to be to expose Herbalife as a pyramid scheme, to warn people not to work for it. Given how recruiting potential salespeople is integral to the business, you can argue that Ackman is trying to take the business down with his comments. Johnson has got a study that shows that his company produces merchandise that is largely consumed by people who are outside his distribution network, and that means, per se, that Ackman is wrong, at least if you believe in the merits of the study.
But I am not discussing the merits of Ackman's arguments or Herbalife's counterarguments. I am simply saying that those who have asked me what level I would buy Herbalife don't get me. I am not going to go over the top and face a hail of Spandau machine gun bullets. Let someone else be a hero.
These stories are all cautionary tales of the hard way to make money. When in doubt, stay away from takeover stories with faltering fundamentals and stories that have vociferous players on television telling you that the stock is going to zero.
At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, had no positions in the stocks mentioned.