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NEW YORK (
) -- "The economy's not great, the economy's not horrible," Jim Cramer told the viewers of his
TV show Thursday, as he tried to convey what trading in a mixed market is really all about.
Cramer said he really doesn't care what Friday's GDP number brings, nor did he care about the housing numbers from earlier this week. He said he's not surprised by any of the daily economic data that's being released. Why? Because the market is mixed, and that means its darn near impossible to make sense of just about anything.
Cramer said the obsession with whether we're entering the dreaded "double- dip" recession is comical, as there's clearly not enough data to know. The markets are trading on every little data point, he said, yet you can make a bull and bear argument for every one of them.
Cramer said in retail, some stores like
are doing well, while others, like
, aren't. Sectors like aerospace is on fire, he said, while others, like medical equipment, are not. Price earnings multiples are low compared to earnings, but with a lower GDP the multiples seem too high.
Sometimes there's nothing actionable to trade on, said Cramer, even though everything may sound like it is.
In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Irwin Simon, chairman, president and CEO of
, a food company fighting the battle against obesity in America.
Simon started off by reminding viewers that 67% of all Americans are obese, including 32% of our children, which leaves a huge market for selling organic and natural foods. He said even in Asia, a region littered with food recalls and corruption in their food safety, people are seeing the value of healthy foods and are giving organic foods as gifts.
When asked about the company's deal with
Martha Stewart Omnimedia
, Simon said Hain Cellestial is very excited to be working with her because her company is all about educating consumers about great products.
Turning to the company's distribution strategy, Simon said that Hain has some 18,000 products in
( WFMI) stores, where shoppers are also looking for all natural products. He said that's why Hain is growing in many outlets.
Finally, when asked about how the recession has affected the company, Simon said that some consumers did trade down to private label foods, but in the end they realize that there's also value in brands they can trust, brands like Hain offers. "People are concerned about their food," he said, and they want good brands.
Cramer said Hain Cellestial remains in the middle of a great long term trend, and he remains bullish on the stock
A Bad Chart
In the Thursday "Sell Block" segment, Cramer took a closer look at
, one of the stocks in his C.A.N.D.I.E.S. high growth index that's clearly lost its mojo.
Cramer said that Intuitive Surgical is down 21% since he added it to the C.A.N.D.I.E.S. list on June 3. The company reported a 15-cent earnings beat on a 34% jump in revenue, and even raised its guidance when it last reported, so earnings don't appear to be the issue, said Cramer. What is the issue then? Cramer said it's a bad chart.
Enlisting the help of colleague Ken Shreve, Cramer said Intuitive Surgical suffered a big reversal on heavy volume back on April 16, the tell-tale sign a large hedge fund was selling their position. Since then, the stock has been under pressure, displaying a series of lower highs, as other funds follow suit and dump the stock.
According to Shreve, the stock won't finally bottom until $240 a share. Cramer agreed with Shreve's assessment, saying at that level the company would be trading below one time its growth rate.
Cramer noted that Intuitive Surgical is a case of a broken stock, but not a broken company. He said its DaVinci surgical robots are still selling strongly, and there is still sizable room for growth. The company also make residual fees for service and maintenance for every robot in operation. Cramer said he'd wait for the $240 a share bottom before he would start buying.
Cramer spoke with Todd Becker, president and CEO of
Green Plains Renewable Energy
, a leading producer of ethanol, an industry Cramer panned earlier in the year.
Becker said investing in ethanol stocks this time around will be very different, as the entrepreneurs are done and the professionals have taken over the industry. He explained that Green Plains doesn't gamble on corn prices as earlier companies tried to do. He said there's no environment where his company can't make at least a little profit.
Turning to the outlook for ethanol going forward, Becker said the Environmental Protection Agency has almost completed their study into raising the ethanol blend from 10% to 15%, and all of the preliminary results look promising. He said with higher blends of ethanol, cars run cleaner with no loss in fuel economy.
Finally, when asked about analysts who worry about the company's margins, Becker explained that of the seven analysts that cover the company, four never contacted Green Plains to learn about their business. Thus, he said, the estimates varied wildly, from 20 cents a share to 70 cents a share. Becker said Green Plains beat the estimates for all of the analysts who took the time to learn about the company.
Cramer remained skeptical, but said if viewers like the ethanol story, Green Plains is the way to play the group.
Cramer was bullish on
He was bearish on
--Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
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At the time of publication, Cramer was not long any stock mentioned.
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