Buying at the Bottom in Brazil

The Brazilian economy is dire, but if you wait too long to buy, you might regret it.
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Brazil is an unlikely place to want to invest. The currency woes are over but business is terrible. Before I left for vacation, I chatted with the head of

Best Foods

(BFO) - Get Report

, a huge food company with big Brazilian exposure, and he was adamant that things are so bad that people don't even have the money for a six of Olde English or some dried soup. That's hurtin'.

It's so bad that, well, ummm, errr, you got to buy! Yeah, at the bottom it's always like this. The country gets its fiscal act together and business obviously gets crushed by all that governmental responsibility.

It was like that in this country in 1982. Just like it. Volcker crushed the speculative economy to save the real one.

That's what the finance minister in Brazil has done. The companies see it last, believe me, whether it be BFO or

Whirlpool

(WHR) - Get Report

, a company I sold 7 points ago betting that all the good news was in the stock.

Sometimes you just can't wait until business has turned. All of the analysts have to do that. They can't go to their investment policy committees and say, "Hey, it's real bad in Brazil, I want recommend the stocks."

They have to wait until year-over-year earnings turn to positive. That won't happen for many, many months. But if you wait until then, forget it, you will be too late. You will be buying

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

at 57 when

Goldman

and

Morgan

slap the buy on. Sure, you might make some money, but the easy money will have been made.

I don't know enough about Brazil to buy anything other than the ADRs that I can follow and understand. I have bought a bank, a cable company and a phone company and will buy more on weakness.

Yeah, I know. Brazil's awful. But you got to buy 'em when you can, not when you have to.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Best Foods, although positions can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

letters@thestreet.com.