Editor's Note: James J. Cramer was the keynote speaker at The Miami Herald's Making Money Conference, held Saturday. We're running the full text of that speech here, and this is the third of four installments. Read the first part here and the second here.
So, where do we look for winners? What makes us determine picks for that great basket? Which stocks get in? Let's look at the commonalties among
, the greatest stock of the first part of the '90s, and
, the greatest stock of the second, and
, a terrific stock throughout this period.
One, they had great management.
ran and run their companies to win. They live and breathe the companies. They are about working harder and working smarter than anyone else at their companies. They are not showy socialites or big-time theoretical thinkers. They are great salesmen for their great entities. They are proud and we should be proud of them.
Two, they wanted to dominate. Each company wants to destroy its competition and become the only one in its field. Microsoft and Intel have only one real opponent: the
. I suspect that Cisco one day will face that same reality.
Three, they had what are known as scalable businesses. They did not have to bring in more bodies to make more money. They want the fewest people making the most money. They want extremely high gross margins, which you can only get from trying to run a business that is highly automated and that involves selling millions of widgets for a high dollar amount.
Fourth, they treasure their stock prices and use them as a club to get the best people and to buy the best companies. In Cisco's case, this is extremely important. I think Cisco will one day be the world's largest company because it pays in Cisco dollars. It buys companies with Cisco dollars. People want Cisco dollars more than U.S. government dollars because they are backed up by the full faith and credit of John Chambers and his great team of managers. And yes, I am very long Cisco.
Fifth, these dominant, high-growth companies must be involved in dynamic businesses that grow much, much, much faster than the world's economies or they must reinvent themselves to do so. Intel was too wedded to the personal computer. But these last few years under
have seen the company become the innards of all personal communicators.
Microsoft had to do the same thing with the Net when the personal computer market ceased to grow like wildfire. And what is Cisco but a company that makes computers talk to each other better so as to use the Net better?
So, who fits that profile in the new universe of stocks? Which companies can be trillion-dollar stocks? Which companies should be in that basket?
First, let's go over the companies that are by nature already there: Intel, Cisco and Microsoft. I don't think anything has changed. I think in the race to get to a trillion-dollar market cap, and believe me this race is played out every day, these are still the favorites and I would urge you to put them in your shopping basket. Winners win in the stock market. I can't tell you how many people have sold these three companies in the name of finding the next Intel, Cisco or Microsoft.
Second, there are some other obvious winners that make sense for the basket. My favorites are in the wireless area because wireless is the fastest-growing business in the world. That means that, and you can take your pick,
should be in the basket. We own all three.
Be sure to check back later today for the fourth installment of this column.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson. 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