Digging Into B2B - TheStreet

Digging Into B2B

The trader is immersing himself in research about business-to-business e-commerce to find 15 key companies to watch.
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New group time. There are now enough of these fabulous business-to-business plays, with more on the way, that I now have to do a concentrated bit of analysis to know all of them and learn them enough to trade and invest.

This is a complicated business for anybody, professional or amateur. It would be one thing if we are learning about the paper industry or chemical industry. They are fairly simple animals and you can figure out what the growth is leveraged to and what drives the revenue.

But B2B commerce is a brave new world. Outside of the vendors that I met when I helped start

TheStreet.com

(TSCM)

, my sole experience has been with the prospectus that hits my desk and the occasional research report that I receive on the subject.

My first stop is to call all of my brokers at my research firms and ask them for their best reports on the subject.

For example,

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

sent me an excellent handbook put together by its analysts. Now, here is the tricky part. Goldman Sachs is a great firm and it puts out fabulous research, but it is proprietary. I am loath to tell you to go look at stuff that you can't get to unless you have an account at that excellent firm. (If you do, get this piece; it is mind boggling.)

But I want to fill you in on how I approach this task. When I do it wrong, which means just looking at a couple of research notes instead of immersing myself, I get slaughtered.

My goal is to find a list of 15 of these companies that I can get comfortable with, get to know the trading patterns of and get so familiar with that I can try to make money off their dislocations.

We are blessed with an associate I have referred to many times,

Matt Jacobs

, who is so far ahead of the curve that I could just go to him and get the 15. But to test myself, I am going to see what I can come up with before I go to him.

As always, if I find something good, I will share it. But also, finding something good is not buying it. That I can't do I until I know even more.

More later as I get further in the work.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long TheStreet.com and Goldman Sachs. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may 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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.