OK, you want to know what
bother me about the market, even as it reacts incredibly well and bounces back seemingly no matter what? You know what I find disturbing, something that also irritates Doug Kass and has Ron Insana none too positive? The speculation in little-dollar stocks. I hate to see it, I just hate it, but it's happening and it's worrisome beyond all get-out. But rather than pooh-pooh it, let's figure it out. I have a dozen of them I am focused on, and since I don't care for most of them here is Cramer's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" ratings for the spec stocks I see being traded like water on today's ticker.
First, the good:
Fifth Third Bank
are three regional banks that I regard as great calls on the turn in the economy, and I would buy all three. Regions is the worst of the three, and that matters because right now people actually want the worst ones, because they could fly the most if things get better. Huntington didn't have a great quarter but has an energized management, and I think this one could be on track for a double. Fifth Third? What can I say, Goldman Sachs loves it, as it has built a gigantic book of reserves and is doing everything right. It reminds me of the
Fifth Third -- conservative, lean and mean.
Are you ready for the last of the good?
. I know the government owns a ton, I know that the people are leaving left and right, but I think most important is that it has many trading operations that are going to report magnificent earnings, not just Phibro. The company is deleveraging, and if the FDIC would get out of its hair, the company could begin to get a grip on its own non-government fate. This, like Regions Financial, just isn't a good bank right now, but when the speculative juices flow, who is to say this one won't go to $4?
The bad? These tend to be companies that just got financing to keep them alive. First is
, which got a nice loan from GE and had comps that weren't all that bad. I like
, but RAD's an OK spec now that it got the loan. Six straight quarters of losses doesn't thrill me, though.
is the same way -- it just got a private placement deal that takes pressure off the balance sheet, but the company's been losing money forever, so I can't get on board. It's a tech company that has lost its way.
is ramping big, huge gains, as it keeps getting a reprieve from bankruptcy. I don't know what to make of it because the company's on life support. Even in life support you can see the darned thing go to $2 before it becomes an issue, as even
went to $2 from $1 in the throes of bankruptcy.
intrigues because it just reported a profitable quarter and has been profitable through this period. It's got a great insurance portfolio, but it was in the cross hairs of the Obama health care reform plan. Might be worth a spec, but its balance sheet is not so hot (to put it mildly). I get this one, and could roll the dice with it.
Finally there's the brain-dead and ugly:
. I don't trust any of these, not for a minute. The government can determine whatever it wants to do with the common of FNM and FRE, and I see no way there will ever be anything left for shareholders in that queue. Sirius needs to cancel this stock and give it to the debtholders; I would if I were running the company. Ambac? I don't get this one at all -- just a gigantic short squeeze.
reported a profitable quarter today that surely helped the cause, but they made it through lots of stuff that I would not describe as being "regular."
Who knows, any one of these could do a 1-for-20 reverse split like
, which is roaring because of the appointment of a new excellent executive, Roberty Benmosche, late of
. I love the guy, but like at Fannie and Freddie, I can't believe anything will be left for shareholders after the government sorts out its own holdings. Or any one of them could be a
, a company that does a gigantic equity offering to fix its balance sheet and then doubles on the good deal!
There are a bunch of others that are climbing that could work:
, a homebuilder Ron made a ton off in his "
" newsletter. Here the fundamentals aren't hot but the sector is, so it could go higher, but without me. And
-- that's my least favorite of all, but anything's possible from that black box.
Look, all of these are really about one thing -- momentum. The momentum of small-dollar stocks is never a good sign. It is dangerous, it is a sign of froth, and froth defines the end of a move, not the beginning. But -- and this is a big "but" -- I know all too well that the end of a move can last for a really long time. And this kind of ramping
At the time of publication, Cramer was long Goldman Sachs and GE.
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