Jim Cramer fills his blog on RealMoney 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 our treatment of tardy companies like Take-Two, wrongheaded caution on AmEx, how AT&T will use the iPhone to devastate Verizon, what not to do during earnings season and why steel stocks are a buy.

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Scoff at Take-Two's Delisting Notice

Originally published on 1/22/2007 8:28 a.m.

Take-Two ( TTWO) may be delisted by the Nasdaq. That's the headline. You read it, you get nervous.

Me, I say don't even bother getting nervous. It doesn't matter. It has never mattered. The company's financials and its executives seem to always live on the edge, somehow getting away with it.

Take-Two's not alone. Have you seen any real results from Krispy Kreme ( KKD)? Does the market care? Do you care? I'm even saying Krispy Kreme can be bought, have been since Howard Penney from Prudential gave it the go-ahead.

One of the most bizarre aspects of the market is that you don't really need honest, regular financials to trade. Stuff that would never be allowed if you were filing to come public doesn't even seem to matter once you are public.

To me, at a certain point the SEC should have stepped in and suspended trading in these stocks, just banned them as public securities. But the SEC's mantra is just "full disclosure," even if full disclosure means only "full disclosure that we are real screw-ups and our financials mean nothing. Don't count on them."

In fact, as much as I hate the fact that Take-Two has gotten away with it, on this news -- bad news to me -- I will take a hard look at it because it's what the shorts want to see and they will have to cover if the usual gang of mutual funds comes in and takes it up.

We all know this stuff goes on. We take up stocks that don't deserve to go up we do so on non-existent financials or falsified ones. It's become no big deal.

How ridiculous that stocks like these could be opportunities. They are just shams to the long side.

I'd rather bet in the more honest NFL gambling parlors.

But then again, I guess I am just a stickler for principle and am old-fashioned. Someone's probably buying Take-Two on this news right now.

And will probably be right.

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At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.


Reckless Prudence Strikes Again

Originally published on 1/23/2007 9:41 a.m.

When I was at college, a bunch of guys at the Boston Globe decided, as a joke, that they would try to slip the phrase "by the occult of hand" into every story they filed one night. The words got into eight stories. It was hysterically funny.

Today, perusing The Wall Street Journal, I realized that someone there's got an "occult of hand" going with a different phrase; in fact, it's a whole paragraph-length sentence: "Still, some economists and analysts are growing more concerned the housing slowdown might damp spending on purchases such as electronics and vacations, and a softening economy could limit people's ability to repay debt."

This sentence, found in the " American Express Sets Cautious Outlook" article, expresses the opinion of the Journal, not the company. The company talked about declining defaults, robust travel and a good earnings outlook.

I feel like I am in two different worlds when I listen to the company and read the paper. After reading this article, you'd think AmEx ( AXP) was down. Of course, not only was the stock not down in a down tape, but it reversed and climbed after the earnings release because things were so positive and the fears were not realized. (Same as Capital One ( COF).)

That this sainted statement gets into so many stories is emblematic of why the papers often shed no light whatsoever on stocks. This sentence is the essence of the " reckless prudence " I keep talking about.

It can be trotted for everything from a Coach ( COH) article to a Fed article, from a Nordstrom's ( JWN) report to a Masco ( MAS) squib, and everything in between. It is valueless and needless boilerplate, except at the chronically negative editor's desk.

I am revolted by it.

When the "occult of hand" got in the papers, there was no harm done. When this sentence gets in, people who might actually be tempted to buy good stocks just get sent away.

Why is that good journalism?

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Capital One.


iPhone Is AT&T's Neutron Bomb

Originally published on 1/24/2007 3:02 p.m.

Apple's ( AAPL) a real battleground. When you have a $500 price point and a potential "vaporware" system that's pushed out six months, why bother to own the stock? What's the data point that will get the bulls to romp and the bears to hibernate?

I think we got an inkling of what it could be today from AT&T's ( T) Cingular Wireless. This company believes in world domination. And it intends to dominate using the iPhone.

Management sounded like kids when talking about the iPhone and how it was going to remake AT&T and that it was the greatest invention they've ever seen.

Now, AT&T's all about market share, and if you read between the lines, I think you see a strategy coming where the device's $500 price point is preserved but the service contract is greatly reduced. I think that AT&T -- and not Apple -- is the key to this next leg, and CEO Stan Sigman can make it happen.

AT&T exists to kill Verizon ( VZ). This is actually war. The iPhone is the neutron bomb.

These guys will use it. Aggressively. And that's the bull case, plain and simple.

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At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.


Wait to Assess Sector Trends

Originally published on 1/25/2007 9:11 a.m.

You know what makes this moment so difficult? We can't see the trends, because things come out piecemeal.

Take the rails. Burlington Northern ( BNI) reports a terrific quarter. But then the next day, Norfolk Southern ( NSC) says the wrong thing, really throwing cold water on the secular growth thesis.

But then CSX ( CSX) reignites it. And Union Pacific ( UNP) makes it happen for sure.

But the only one that gets a big story is Norfolk Southern, so maybe that trumps everything. If you bought the group off Burlington Northern, betting on pin action from its success, you got hammered by Norfolk Southern. That's not what we want.

Or take tech. The market hated Apple ( AAPL) because of sandbag guidance. Seagate's ( STX) good with good margins, but Komag ( KOMG), the guts of the drives, is not good.

EMC's ( EMC) just OK and IBM's ( IBM) just OK, and they sell off.

Yahoo!'s ( YHOO) just OK and it gains. Expectations for eBay ( EBAY) were so low -- including negative stories written the day of the quarterly report -- that it was really easy for eBay to beat.

Motorola ( MOT) stinks, but then people embrace it a few days later. Qualcomm ( QCOM) beats the lowered guidance and it goes up, and Nokia ( NOK) had such low expectations that it rallies. Another group that's hard to figure.

Then there are the industrials. They've actually done quite badly, if you look at Rockwell ( ROK), Eaton ( ETN) and Parker Hannifin ( PH). However, the market liked United Technologies ( UTX)!

Banks are similar. Bank of America ( BAC) looked good to me but sells off. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was terrific and stays up. Washington Mutual ( WM) looked terrible but trades higher and so did Capital One ( COF) and Commerce Bancorp ( CBH). Wow, that's hard.

Drugs are still a wild card. Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) seemed fine, but the market hated it; Pfizer ( PFE) seemed bad but the market loved it. Maybe you hide in Baxter ( BAX) and Becton ( BDX)?

That's why I emphasize that this week is just too darned hard to game. You have to store up the goods and then, when most of the members of a group are done, you take a real look at what's going on. Only then can you make a judgment about what groups are good and which are bad.

When we are through with earnings season, I believe that we will like tech less and industrials more. I believe health care will remain a wild card. But I don't want to make any judgments, either. Just too darned difficult until we see and know more.

It's tough to sit on your hands. Nevertheless, I believe that's the way to play this period. I believe you can lose as much as you can make during this period and lose the opportunity to learn what will do well for the rest of the quarter.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Union Pacific, Yahoo! and Johnson & Johnson.


Steal Some Steels

Originally published on 1/26/2007 9:17 a.m.

False warning! Looks like Nucor ( NUE) cried wolf when it lowered expectations to $1.05 to $1.15 a share in mid-December. If it had waited, it might have reported a decent upside surprise with its $1.35 yesterday.

This matters. Nucor is the cream of the crop. When it seemed to blow it, everyone panicked and sent these steel stocks down.

They started climbing back last week on the great quarter from AK Steel ( AKS) and got another boost Wednesday from that magnificent Allegheny Tech ( ATI) quarter. Now you have to wonder how they can stay at 6-7 times rising earnings as the glut gets worked off.

My take is that this group is still too cheap and should be bought, if only because very few groups stay at those low multiples with rising earnings and good balance sheets. Even the homebuilders with slumping earnings and bad balance sheets could overcome the multiple compression at a certain point.

Steel stocks are a buy. They go down too much, they get a bid or the get multiple support. Nice to have something underneath.

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.

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Jim 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 Action Alerts PLUS. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click here to order his book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here.

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