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Maytag's Surge Becomes a Wash

Be suspicious of tech-like run-ups like this one, or you could get stuck in the spin cycle forever.
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Will the real Maytag (MYG) please stand up? Oops, that's the real one that is stumbling right now on your screen. Every once in a while, you get some plain-vanilla company that gets turbocharged because of a combination of screw-ups by competitors, a buoyant economic cycle and a red-hot new product.

That's what happened to Maytag. It caught a wave. The momentum guys charged into it as if it were




But then the stars became unaligned.






woke up, the refinancing boom ended, the hot products became cool. And the company became leveraged to


and consumer spending again. It now can't get out of its own way.

The moral? When you see something mundane cooking with a tech-like multiple, be suspicious. The lucky streak eventually runs out and then you are stuck in the spin cycle forever.

Random musings:

Thinking I might be missing something in the boring world of REITS, I hit up the stocks involved in the merger this morning and, not surprisingly, they are unchanged. I make more money fencing than owning these stocks. (Hoo-hah!) ...



, fresh from sustained losses last week, gave a great presentation in New York and the market simply yawned.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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