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Editor's note: The following is a recap of a "Mad Money" episode that originally aired Dec. 26, 2006.
To make money in the market, people need more than good stock picks and good advice about the state of the market, Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" show. "They need discipline."
Regular fans of "Mad Money" should be familiar with
Jim Cramer's Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World
, Cramer said, as he's devoted a few shows to explaining some of the rules he's laid out in his book.
But because Cramer wrote that book a long time ago, and though its rules are still valid, he's come up with more rules designed "to help the individual investor beat the big institutional money managers on the Street." Cramer has assembled these rules in another book:
Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich
Although people might not like "Cramer the disciplinarian," he said his new book, which has 20 brand-new rules, should prevent market players from losing money. And because Cramer's aim is to help make people rich, he went on to explain five of those new rules.
Cramer's first new rule is, "There's a market for everything; pay attention to how it works." Investors need to remember that there are lots of different reasons why stocks are traded in a stock market and that there are submarkets, he said.
Although it makes "total intuitive sense," most people rarely keep in mind when investing that there's a market for oil stocks, a market for newly public stocks and a market for small-cap value stocks, all of which are governed by supply and demand, Cramer said.
"If you ignore the supply and demand for certain kinds of stocks, or stocks in general, you'll be totally perplexed by the market," he said. "This rule is especially true for trendy, hyped-up stocks."
Using the ethanol trade in 2005 and 2006 as an example, Cramer said at the end of 2005, because the supply of ethanol stocks was so low and demand was "intense," people were able to make "truckloads of money" in stocks such as
Archer Daniels Midland
But then the ethanol game changed, as a company called
( VSE) came public on June 14, 2006, and added to the supply of ethanol stocks, he said. The VeraSun initial public offering was further followed by IPOs of companies with worse fundamentals -- but just as much ethanol exposure.
"If you'd just been paying attention to the fundamentals, or to the hype about ethanol in the media, you would've been caught totally off-guard by the downturn in ethanol," Cramer said.
"The day VeraSun came public, I called the end of the ethanol, and I got it right ... because I was paying attention to the amount of ethanol stock in the market and the market's demand for it."
Know What You Hold
Moving on to rule No. 2: when playing a rally, "make sure your stocks actually fit the bill," he said. "Don't be bamboozled by what sector your stock belongs to. Instead, know precisely what you own and why you own it."
Although Cramer always advises his viewers to do their homework and know what they own, this rule is different because the point is to recognize that "sectors don't always matter when it comes to giving stocks momentum."
People should never confuse a rally within a sector for a rally of that entire sector, he said.
Also, he knows people don't always do their homework before buying stocks -- behavior Cramer said he does not approve of. He iterated that he believes people need to spend at least an hour a week per stock they own doing homework to make sure the stock is still a "sound" investment.
Breaking down the rule, Cramer said there are times people will see a rally in an entire sector. For example, if the
cuts rates, investors will see a rally in almost everything cyclical, or if the economy gets "pummeled," people will see a rally in consumer staples and food and beverage companies, he said.
"These are broad, sector-based rallies and you don't have to be all that discerning to pick out a good stock that will make you plenty of money when these things happen," Cramer said. "But most rallies don't work that way."
Market players will hear about health care rallies or transports rallies or tech rallies, but that doesn't mean the whole sector's rallying, he explained, because within sectors there are industries.
This is what really counts and what people should pay attention to, Cramer said.
Cramer said he came up with this rule on June 22, 2005, when he got "caught up" in the idea of a tech rally and picked the two names that most represent tech:
. But later Cramer realized that the so-called tech rally was really a gadget rally.
"I fooled myself because Microsoft and Cisco had always been the tech stocks," he said. "It didn't matter that they didn't have any real exposure to the rally, because I was thinking of it as a tech rally, and in a tech rally you buy Microsoft."
It's easy to mistake a rally in an industry for a rally in the sector it belongs to, Cramer said, but if people remember this second rule, they should be able to make a lot more money.
He said his next rule is "provisionally true" and though at some time in the future he can see it being revoked, he doesn't believe it will be soon. The rule is that "Latin America is always a trade."
Every so often there's a "huge wave of interest in Latin American stocks," where everyone in the business who owns these stocks believes that Latin America is an "amazing, long-term growth story," Cramer said.
But be careful, he warned, because no matter how good the fundamentals of these stocks may look, these stocks "will always be a trade."
The reason for this rule is simple and has nothing to do with the company's fundamentals, he went on to say. It's because almost every institutional investor on Wall Street treats Latin American stocks as trades, not investments.
"These are the guys who move the market, and when they decide the trade is over, they clear out," Cramer said. "Everyone out there running money was trained to believe that Latin American stocks are levered to our business cycle, so they'll trade the stocks like that, even when they're wrong."
In August 2005, he got behind
, and in March 2006, after the stock had almost doubled, he made the mistake of thinking of it as an investment and did not declare the trade over.
Consequently, people who stuck with the stock gave back most of their gains by June 2006, when Wall Street decided the Latin American trade was over.
Difficult to Gauge
Rule No. 4 is to "be a lemming," Cramer continued. Although it might sound "stupid" and "terrible," he told his viewers not to be original or unique and to instead "follow the Street's lead because most of the time it works."
While this doesn't mean people should stop thinking, Cramer said that after doing their homework, if people agree with what the big institutions are buying, and they agree with most of the analysts, "then it's OK to be a follower."
"You don't have to feel bad about getting in late in the game or being a poseur," he said. "This isn't about being a unique and individual snowflake. It's about trying to make money."
Moreover, Wall Street is often right, Cramer said. And stocks on the 52-week-high list often stay there for days or weeks by hitting new highs.
While he warned against simply following the momentum, Cramer said as long as there is momentum and market players have done the homework, it's OK to follow the momentum of a stock they like.
Cramer's last and "perhaps most poignant" rule of the night was "don't be afraid to say something is too hard."
"There are some things that are just too difficult to game," no matter how much homework one does, he said. Restaurant same-store sales growth is something Cramer believes may be the most difficult to gauge.
"Almost every time I've tried to game restaurant same-store sales, I've gotten burned," he said. "There are just too many factors at work, too many different things going on that could crush you if you get it wrong."
While he said he's not telling people never to invest in restaurant stocks, Cramer advised viewers not to buy a restaurant stock expecting it to spike on a positive, better-than-expected same-store sales number.
"There are too many better, easier ways to make money in the market," he said. "Restaurant CEOs have a hard time predicting their own same-store sales, and the weirdest, most unexpected factors can cause worse-than-expected results."
Cramer said he means it when he says there's always a bull market somewhere. Therefore, he doesn't believe people should "beat their heads against the wall" trying to make money playing something that's just too hard.
Want more Cramer? Check out Jim's rules and commandments for investing from his popular book by
At the time of original publication, Cramer had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for TheStreet.com, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of TheStreet.com or its affiliates, or CNBC, NBC UNIVERSAL or their parent company or affiliates. Mr. Cramer's opinions are based upon information he considers to be reliable, but neither TheStreet.com, nor CNBC, nor either of their affiliates and/or subsidiaries warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. Mr. Cramer's statements are based on his opinions at the time statements are made, and are subject to change without notice. No part of Mr. Cramer's compensation from CNBC or TheStreet.com is related to the specific opinions expressed by him on "Mad Money."
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