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"In the bottom on the ninth inning, with two outs, Richard Fuld, the CEO of
( LEH), kept the bat on his shoulder and was called out on strikes," Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday.
Cramer said he's been withholding criticism on Lehman out of respect for Fuld, whom he assumed would do the right thing and save his failing company. However after the stock's collapse today, Cramer said it was time to speak out about Fuld's inaction.
He criticized Fuld for missing multiple opportunities to either sell the company, monetize its many great assets or at least recapitalize itself while its share price was high.
Cramer urged Fuld to take action and sell the company as late as last Friday on CNBC. Fuld, however, took none of these steps and the window has now closed on this great company, he said.
Cramer reluctantly added Fuld to the second spot on his "Wall of Shame" list of the worst CEOs in America.
He also warned two other CEOs, Vikram Pandit of
and Robert Willumstad of
, may also face similar fates if they too don't take swift action to save themselves.
Cramer: Sell Into Sliding Commodities
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"What's killing the commodities and when will it stop?" Cramer asked his viewers.
Cramer said it's the lack of Chinese demand for steel, coal and fertilizer that's largely to blame for the severe decline in commodity prices. He also said a global slowdown is eminent as the European and Asian central banks strangle the economies in their respective areas of the world with high interest rates.
Cramer said oil and natural gas are also being held down by what he called the John McCain factor. As the Republican candidate pulls ahead in the polls, investors worry that more drilling with lead to greater supply and even lower prices. Cramer said oil could hit $80 a barrel or $3 a gallon at the pump if McCain is elected.
Cramer also blamed the inexperience of "young gun" hedge fund managers for the rapid decline in commodity prices.
In the worst case scenario, he predicted there could be a repeal of the run-up commodity prices as they retreat to their April 2005 levels. This would result in a 68% decline in stocks like
, a 50% decline in
and a 30% decline for many oil and natural gas producers.
Cramer said the only way to stop this "worst case" scenario would be for the world's central banks to cut interest rates aggressively.
"If China recovers, we can avoid the losses," he said.
On a horrible market day, Cramer turned his attention to
, a stock that is up 44% despite a whirlwind of negative news on the company and the current economic slowdown.
Cramer said investors may wonder why Whirlpool has jumped from $55.22 on July 15 to as much as $83.99 today during a period when analysts are cutting numbers and have serious worries about shipments going forward.
He said it may seem especially absurd after a recent
Wall Street Journal
article theorized that the company only met last quarters numbers because of favorable Brazilian tax credits.
Cramer, though, credited Whirlpool's rise in stock price to the work of large mutual funds, who are buying the stock based on the long-term business cycle. He said the company is a perfect "early-cycle" play, the kind of stock one would buy in an economic slowdown in anticipation of a recovery.
Cramer explained that while that recovery may have been delayed by oil prices and the housing crisis, the recovery is coming, and mutual funds are still buying ahead of it.
He cited the earnings of retailer
and the strength of home builder
as two other examples of this "pre-recovery" trend.
Cramer said he's not ready to recommend Whirlpool given the topsy-turvy market conditions, but he did want investors to keep an eye out for this trend to continue as the recovery draws near.
Cutting Drug Development Costs
Cramer talked with Joe Herring, chairman and CEO of
, about his company's ability to lower costs for big pharma.
Herring said many big pharmaceutical companies don't even know their true drug development costs. But he said every one of them wants to lower those costs.
Herring said that Covance saves drug companies as much as 20% by helping them to effectively manage their clinical trials to accelerate the FDA approval process. He said this clinical trial work --- Covance's core competency --- is valuable because it allows the drug companies to focus in other areas.
Cramer said that with all that's wrong in the markets, there's money to be made in Covance.
Cramer was bullish on
He was bearish on
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At the time of publication, Cramer was not long on any stock.
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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