Jim Cramer fills his blog on
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:
- Why Amazon is so amazing,
- why real estate isn't doing that bad, and
- why this rally has been easy to miss.
for information on
, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time.
Posted at 2:14 p.m. EST, Dec. 23, 2009
stock has always been a faith stock. It has always been something that people said will ultimately reach its potential. Just you wait.
Looks like it's lived up to that potential. Last night I had one of my favorite technicians,
, examine the stock, and his analysis is lifting the stock today as the show's power works its way through the market. (Nefarious power, the critics would say.)
I think it makes sense. Three things have happened in the last year to make this occur:
1. Higher oil prices spiked the cost of going to the mall, so many people "discovered" Amazon and never went back.
2. Fulfillment, which had always been Amazon's stock in trade, has gotten much better -- even though that's almost impossible to believe -- allowing them to deliver product closer and closer to when you wanted it. We saw that especially in the last few weeks, when we were totally in a jam mall-wise. It's more fun to shop online then off-, and it is also more reliable given the weather!
3. The company has finally become a high-end
, with lots of clothing offerings courtesy of the brilliant acquisition of
, the only other site I know that has goods that women love at a cheap price. Amazon also invented the Kindle, which took the company well past the bookstores and the newsstand.
With these three changes, the stock is no longer a hope stock. It is an earnings play. And on earnings, given these trends, it is cheap and can go much higher. That's what is happening now. And it'll keep happening until it converts the nonbelievers and gets to where it has to go.
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
Real Estate Is Doing Better Than You Think
Posted at 5:27 p.m. EST, Dec. 23, 2009
If I were to be a short-seller, paying attention to the news flow, I think I would like to be a short-seller of higher-end residential real estate, because I would presume that people couldn't afford it. If they can't make their payments for their houses, they are going to hold out to fix their mortgage or they are going to abandon ship, but they are not going to go to a luxury apartment complex. They are going to go downscale, and the apartment complexes that cater to those who are well-off should be going begging.
I think I would want to short
, which has 172 communities and 50,000 apartments in decimated areas such as Southern California, Northern California, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. It must be getting killed. How can it possibly pay those underlying mortgages and how can it grow, building new apartments? It must be a moribund, declining business.
Sure enough, the short interest ratio has been climbing steadily as others have figured out that this is a suitable target, given all that we have heard about what's happening in residential real estate.
And, voila, what do I see? AVB up two points to a 52-week high. The stock is smoking, up 40%. The shorts have not only had to endure that insult but also the 4% injury of a dividend including a stock dividend.
How can this be? How can this company be making so much money and doing so well?
Because things aren't that bad out there. People have money to rent luxury apartments. Avalon doesn't have ample apartments to rent because so many are filled, and that is why it is building nine new communities. Why would it have to build any if things are so bad? Because they are not that bad.
Avalon is the classic example of what happens when you listen to the "on the one hand, on the other" reporting. Things aren't so bad in real estate; in fact they are much better than expected. Go to the company's
. Look where some of those communities are: the hardest-hit towns in Southern California, the left-for-dead properties. Just devastated.
Or are they?
When I said housing bottomed months ago, I was trying to catch the wave of places like AVB. Avalon was at $50 when I said that real estate had stabilized.
Now it is at $85.
If I had stuck with caveats, with "on one hand or the other," I think that AVB would have been a dynamite short.
Instead, I made a judgment. I stuck my neck out. That's what investing is about.
And you are literally getting slaughtered if you believed that all was lost in real estate and went after this very natural target. Investing is real hard. Shorting is even harder. Especially when you base it on misdirection and terrible interpretation of the data and an insistence that nothing has bottomed whatsoever.
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in stocks mentioned.
This Rally Has Been Easy to Miss
Posted at 7:42 a.m. EST, Dec. 22, 2009
Three times this market eluded people. The first was what looks obvious in retrospect but was actually a perilous bottom, back in March. I wouldn't have recommended it here or on my show if Doug Kass hadn't pushed me and all others who read this site. It was a call of a lifetime. And we all know it, the generational call to get in. So many missed it because the moment was breathtakingly dangerous and could have been binary. I got lucky and backed into it, with Doug's help, simply by tallying all of the individual stocks in a worst-case basis, and you couldn't get much below
6000, which at the time was only 300 points below, barely enough to worry about. That was the Nouriel Roubini heyday, and he managed to mark the bottom by slashing his price target for the Dow to 5000. He could have declared victory and been a hero, a la the now celebrated David Tepper. Instead, I think he's a bum who reiterates his sell at every turn. If you go back and look at all of the stocks that were at a buck and change at the moment, you can see exactly what I mean.
The second time came after a too-quick run-up in May, where you then saw a deluge of bank equity deals that basically ended the financial rally once and for all. We've been trying to get ignited since then, but it simply hasn't happened and we have been trapped ever since. When we lost the financials, we lost a lot of people who believe that no rally can occur without the financials. That turned out to be totally wrong, as the industrials and then health care launched because of a weak dollar and because the health care reform turned out to be a big win for the "interests" that it was supposed to defeat. That non-financial rally took many by surprise who have never seen a move like this before. I also think that some of the bulls recognized that the president, who had been quite destructive to wealth in general with an agenda that was perceived as anti-business, began to lose support and alienated those who wanted a centrist president and didn't get one. That gave the rally more impetus to continue.
The final shakeout came after the Dow ran past 10,000 and then turned down to 9600. After that spike, it just didn't seem worth it to stay long. We had had a huge run off the bottom and it looked like there just wasn't that much more to gain, so what was the point, especially because we became addicted to the gold/dollar/oil conundrum that was just too stupid for most long-only stock managers to follow, so many got shaken out.
Not only that, we never had the money come in that we all expected.
But something else happened that made people really kick themselves. We realized that GDP was coming in stronger, that autos had caught fire, that housing had bottomed (all but the usual bearish press acknowledged that) and we got an extension of the housing tax credit that even the bears admitted could play a role. Tech companies preannounced, and that kept the balls in the air. Plus, the stock market became an important source of liquidity, letting many companies fix their balance sheets and get off the do-not-resuscitate list. China pulled the world higher with its correct stimulus, not politically motivated but job- and spending-oriented. Perhaps most important, big mergers came roaring back, eating up supply and making the lack of new money less onerous than one would have thought.
All three air pockets shook people out, and given that we did not have another drop after them, there was no opportunity to get back in. That made it so those who took money off the table just couldn't put it back in. Bears who left the market were left for dead as we kept going higher; they could only dig in their heels and miss the rally.
And it's been that way ever since. I doubt that these historically benign days are going to produce that selloff to let people in, especially because we can see that the hedge funds aren't leaning on stocks despite commodity declines.
It's been a remarkable run, and it eluded far too many people, particularly because one by one as people left they decided that the market was simply done going up.
When it wasn't, they precluded themselves from getting bullish. And that was all she wrote.
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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
Action Alerts PLUS. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" weeknights on CNBC. To order Cramer's newest book -- "Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer),"
click here. Click
here to order "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click
here to order "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click
here to get "You Got Screwed!" and click
here for Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback and invites you to send comments by
TheStreet.com has a revenue-sharing relationship with Amazon.com under which it receives a portion of the revenue from Amazon.com purchases by customers directed there from TheStreet.com.