This article originally appeared Sept. 5, 2013, on Real Money. To read more content like this, + see inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE Click Here NOW.
Has J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) bottomed? How many times have I heard that one? It has to be the most asked question now that we are seeing some of the highest quality hedge funds in the situation, including Perry Capital (run by my old friend Rich Perry) as well as Glenview Capital and Kyle Bass. Suffice it to say that I don't think there could be many investors as wise as these people. They aren't approaching the situation idly and I think they are going to be right. Why is that?
To begin with, let's face it, even just for a trade, this could be a good one. Remember, lots of this stock was bought on the giant "print of pique" that Bill "taking my bat and my ball and I'm going home" Ackman unleashed in the market. Ackman famously upended the company by ushering in Ron Johnson, who then almost blew the whole thing up.
Then when Johnson got canned and the calm hand of Mike Ullman came back to pick up the pieces in the interim, Ackman alienated pretty much everyone I know in retail when he criticized Ullman for doing a poor job. Frankly, that was deeply disappointing given that Ullman had immediately raised capital to get through the holiday season. I don't know how many others could have gotten that capital.The banks trust Mike. They sure didn't trust Ackman's crew. Now we have a very interesting situation brewing. First, we are getting signs that Ullman's bringing back some of the old coupon-driven traffic. Second, I am sure most of the bad merchandise has been sold. Third, I think that the housewares department, which was a big hole in the ground for Johnson, will be squared in time for the holiday season. And fourth -- and perhaps best of all -- knowing that the extremely disruptive Ackman is no longer involved, a new CEO might actually want to come in now. To me, that's a lot of ways to get the stock to $18. That's right, I am not talking about a turn. It's too early to tell if we have a real one. But can this stock go up $5 on a new CEO and a better holiday season? Yes. And that's why it is worth joining these great hedge funds. Not because they are in it. We will have no idea when they exit. But because the time and the price are right. You don't need to know anything else for the moment. Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, has no positions in the stocks mentioned.