It isn't common to hear analysts or gurus "'fess up" when they get it wrong, but that's exactly what they should do, said James Cramer Thursday on his
"RealMoney" radio show.
Cramer said he "screwed up" on
Fording Canadian Coal
( FDG). "I made a mistake," he said. Fording lowered guidance not once but twice after Cramer recommended it, and he has since sold the position from his
ActionAlertsPLUS charitable trust.
Cramer wishes he would hear the same from two Merrill Lynch analysts, one who downgraded
ahead of its "most perfect quarter" Wednesday, and one who downgraded
, which Cramer believes is in bull-market mode.
Instead of hearing
, though, Cramer said we're more likely to see the analysts hunker down and reiterate their downgraded ratings, doing all they can to find the "flies and hair" when a simple 'I got it wrong' and a promise to do better would suffice, he said.
In response to a question about how much analysts really know, Cramer said "most don't know much." They don't have the time to do quality work, he said, and they are conflicted. "There are a handful of analysts who are in the business of trying to help you make money," he said, but "no more than that."
Cramer likes to use analysts' downgrades to buy stocks cheaper than he otherwise would be able to. Because of Regulation FD, companies are required to make material information available to all investors at the same time. Consequently, the analysts "can't know anything," he said. "The rules have changed. I never feel these guys know anything."
If you've done your homework, most of the time your work will trump theirs, he said.
In his weekly "Stump Cramer" segment, Cramer was tripped up by
James River Group
. Cramer was familiar with
( GVHR), which he said was a "little richly valued," and
( BEXP), a "very good" company that is the kind of small-to-midsize oil company Cramer thinks will become a ripe takeover target or will continue to grow to the point where people should think about owning it.
is another midsize oil company that fits the bill, said Cramer.
Procter & Gamble
often trades inversely to retail sales numbers. When the numbers are good, investors sell Procter & Gamble. When the numbers are bad, investors buy defensive stocks like P&G. Cramer would buy Procter & Gamble now at a time when "nobody wants it." If he were a trader, he would look to sell "when everybody wants it."
is down recently due to strikes. Use that to your advantage and buy, said Cramer, because he believes next quarter's results will be barely impacted by strikes. He expects the stock to climb back to its 52-week high.
Cramer would wait until Friday to buy
. A large holder of UNH sold stock Thursday, and Cramer believes the big block of stock is still being worked through. Longer term, UnitedHealth is one of Cramer's favorite companies.
Smith & Wesson
( SWB) is a buy under $5, said Cramer. The company recently did a private placement, and there has been some insider selling, which may be contributing to the stock's recent weakness. But legislative developments in Congress regarding liability for firearms manufacturers have been positive, he said.
, Cramer said he would use the company's victory in court today over its Vioxx drug to sell the stock and buy
Cramer does not buy into the market chatter that the newspaper stocks have many, if any, buyers lurking.
Commenting on oil and natural gas stocks, Cramer reiterated his view that we have entered the "dark side of the moon for oil and gas." The stocks will trade up or down with oil and gas prices, he said. Given that the stocks aren't cheap anymore, he would use strength as an opportunity to sell. The one area in which Cramer remains unequivocally bullish is the drillers, he said, because we need to find more oil.
Finally, Cramer believes the windfall profits tax bill in Congress doesn't have a "snowball's chance in Hades" of becoming law. First, the president is opposed to it, he said. Secondly, the oil and gas business wasn't a very good business for a long time. Now these stocks are having their day in the sun. He does not believe these companies are gouging, and he believes voters are savvy enough to realize that.
At the time of publication, Cramer was long Boeing, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm and UnitedHealth Group.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder 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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