Jim Cramer's Best Blogs

Catch up on his thinking on the hottest topics of the past week.
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Jim Cramer fills his blog on

RealMoney

every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on:

  • top-line growth's current unimportance in regards to retail,
  • the over-bearishness of traders, and
  • how to take advantage when the government sells its stake in Citigroup.

Click here

for information on

RealMoney

, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time.

In Retail Top Line Doesn't Matter Right Now

Posted at 1:10 p.m. EDT, Aug. 18, 2009

Retail -- sales are slumping. Sales are weak. Sales are sluggish. Sales are so-so.

Enough already. Here's the deal: You know what this means? Sales are in line.

We still, after all of this history, don't get it. What matters with retail is, "Are sales in line with budgets?" That's what you want.

Target's

(TGT) - Get Report

up 3 -- I want those 3. Why are they up? Because sales are in line with inventories, which therefore makes the back-to-school season encouraging. But what's the headline that's pulled? "Target says top-line growth biggest challenge."

That's

not the headline that matters

. What matters is they are making a ton of money because they got it right. They didn't take down a lot of inventory, and they had the

right

inventory.

Now consider

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

. Wrong inventory. Too much inventory, the dreaded word: PROMOTIONAL.

Do not be confused. Retail is not about top line, it is about in-line. Which is why TGT has been a buy. And

Urban

(URBN) - Get Report

. And

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

.

Sometimes it matters if you have good management and good merchandise and a good eye.

This is one of those times.

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.

Worry About Missing the Ride Up

Posted at 2:34 p.m. EDT, Aug. 19, 2009

Sure there will be a selloff. The issue is always the same, whether it be here or China -- from what level? And when it happens will you have scaled back or have a lot of cash?

I have always built in a selloff to my thinking, which is why I scale out into strength like I had been doing for

ActionAlertsPLUS

into the huge move. However, I believe the biggest fear of the portfolio managers out there is how they can use any selloff to get in, which is why the selloffs remain shallow

even when they are supposed to be steep

.

Go back in time to the bottom in March. If you thought there would be a big 10%-15% decline sometime within the next three months -- something I know, for instance, that

Ron Insana

didn't believe would happen -- you might have skipped a 45%-50% move. You might have been tempted to miss the "hard" points because of what lay in front of us.

But they turned out to be "easy" points, although we know that they were anything but easy given how bearish most of the big pundits were and are.

In fact, I will go a step further -- if we are going to have a 10% decline, it might happen maybe almost 10% higher than here.

I can get out of the market during that rally from higher levels.

This is a market where major disappointments like

Deere

(DE) - Get Report

hardly go down. That stock should have dropped 10% on that horrid outlook. It is a market where retailers can have 8% declines in earnings and go up gigantically -- 10% moves galore.

It is a market where

BB&T

(BBT) - Get Report

buys a portfolio of loans from

Colonial BancGroup

that many people feel could be worse than worthless and the company's able to raise $750 million in a day -- in a day! And you made money on the deal.

It is a market where natural gas has simply fallen apart, now 22 times the usual ratio of nat gas vs. oil of six to one, and the stocks are on fire.

Anadarko

(ADP) - Get Report

right now is up almost 15% from when it did a huge equity deal even though natural gas fell 25% in that period. These are the types of stats that tell me the animal spirits are pretty darned powerful and it makes me ask

what happens if things get better

?

That's the real fear. That's why we should be more worried about missing the advance than getting stuck going down 10%.

These shallow pullbacks keep refreshing. They wake the bears out of the den, they flush 'em out. And then they don't just get hunted. They get run over by 18-wheelers on the Jersey Turnpike.

Now that's a picture!

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.

A Three-Handed Deal for Citigroup

Posted at 11:00 a.m. EDT, Aug. 21, 2009

Citigroup's

(C) - Get Report

not quitting and logically you have to ask yourself, "Why should it?"

With sovereign funds swirling, mortgages getting better -- sorry, they have -- and credit card losses peaking, why the heck shouldn't it be going toward book value of $5.75? Why should it be the only bank at this kind of discount given its worldwide franchise?

Why shouldn't someone just take the government out of its stake at a huge profit? Send the money over to the FDIC if you have to!

I have pushed this stock for more than a dollar now and I always have to remind myself no matter what the rally, that until Citigroup gets to $5.50 it isn't expensive vs. some really awful regionals out there. Given how far the banks have moved, you have to understand that this is the great catch-up play, the real call on a turn in the worldwide economy -- only 50% of its business is in the U.S.

Beginning Sept. 10 the government's stake is for sale. Will it dribble? Will it do shelf after shelf or will it take its profit and run? I think the latter, which means that the biggest block of what could be a fantastic bet will be on sale. Among

Fidelity

(FNF) - Get Report

, John Paulson (the guy with the big

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

stake) and Prince Alwaleed -- worked once -- the three-handed deal will be spoken for.

Which means during the next pullback generated by the new bear market in China -- last pullback -- or criticism by Sheila Bair -- pullback before that -- or controversy over the Hall payments -- the one before that -- you are going to have to make a move to take some down ahead of the three-handed deal I now project will wipe out the entire overhang.

And I am not even thinking about what would happen if the Chinese circle 10%!

Random musings:

What does it say that

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

orders are way down for the previous month and the stock is one of the strongest in the Dow. Given that Caterpillar is waiting for housing and infrastructure orders, it says they are about to happen....

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Bank of America.

Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

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