Lodging companies use revenue per available room, or RevPAR, to analyze their business. RevPAR looks to be accelerating, and when that happens, hotel stocks go higher.
Starwood received Cramer's top spot. The company manages 1,200 hotels in nearly 100 countries through its various brands. Under the leadership of CEO Frits van Paasschen, a frequent Mad Money guest, Starwood has pioneered the "asset light" business model, recognizing that its true expertise lies in running hotels, not in owning and operating real estate.
The company has about half of its business overseas, and has a track record of transcending international weakness, particularly relevant at a time when emerging markets appear to be struggling. Starwood closed Monday at $79.95 a share, up 3.71% in the past three months.
Cramer hoped to place Marriott, a "truly fabulous operator," next of his top four. However, the downside to being an elite operator is that you don't have much room to improve.Cramer tapped Hilton for his #2 slot. Hilton is up 4.8% over the last three months even though it is an inferior company to Marriott. With over 4,100 hotels, Hilton is the largest lodging company on Earth. Hilton has the market share, and there's plenty of room for it to improve. That's what Wall Street is seeking. Marriott is up 20.0% for the year to date, one of many reasons Cramer was not crazy about it. The company has nearly 4,000 properties under management, a ton of cash and a "terrific" buyback program.
Hyatt brings up the rear, in Cramer's mind. It is the smallest of the group and pretty expensive now that it's up almost 17.6% over the last three months.
Tortoise vs. Hare"We've seen some staggering losses from some recent hottest stars," Cramer said. And so he decided to take a look at McDonald's (MCD) vs. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) in his modern-day retelling of The Tortoise and the Hare. Until a couple of months ago, Cramer said, Chipotle's turbocharged growth was exactly what this market wanted. By early this March, its stock had climbed to $622. In the last three months, it is down more than 6.5%, closing Monday's trading at $510. Chipotle is a textbook growth stock, and while that may be the future of food, that is not what's controlling its stock price. As momentum stocks are falling, McDonald's has been climbing, closing Monday at nearly $103 per share, up 6% year-to-date. That's not about the food, Cramer said. It's about the dividend.
Executive Decision: Mark BristowCramer still believes it is worth having some gold in your portfolio, even if only as a hedge against inflation and globe chaos.
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