It's a Brand-P.U. Game

The big brands are stinkin' it up, and you can thank priceline and Wal-Mart for intense margins pressure.
Publish date:

Calling all brand managers! Emergency!

Here we go again. Remember when all of those soft good companies told you not to worry after


(PG) - Get Report

clocked us? (although I

told you they were wrong).

Well, you just lost another 10% if you listened to them. These stocks are all incredibly heavy off of the


(DL) - Get Report

blowup and the

JP Morgan


(CLX) - Get Report

downgrade. I still see little "value" in the group as now will begin the slow reduction of all of these names from portfolio managers' funds in time to show that they knew to get out of these by the end of the quarter!

Yes, a wave of window dressing that will boost the

Red Hots

(now the New Tech 30) and take its toll on the consumer stocks still awaits us. If you have to bottom-fish, why not wait until the last week of capitulation? And what's behind this most recent decline besides the usual costs struggles? I think it is the





(WMT) - Get Report

curse, the understanding that you can name your own price for a high-end product that tends to be the price of a low-end product.

Between consumers naming their own prices via priceline and Walmart naming its own price via its pricing power, there is no room for margins to do anything but contract.

What a change from the delightful '80s and '90s, when these stocks went up on takeovers, and the buying of

Warren Buffett

and index funds.

All three trends are now going against them.

Random musings

: Volatility love affair continues. Take



. They couldn't give it away down 5 this morning, now they can't find any up 16!

Mister Softee

(MSFT) - Get Report

put on a pretty good conference call on its anti-


(SNE) - Get Report



initiative. Heck, if it is available for the holidays I am sure my kids will have it checked out at



James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft. 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