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:
- the death of journalistic integrity;
- the foolishness of trading off Fed chatter; and
- Ethan Allen's upside.
R.I.P. Journalistic Integrity
Posted at 11:47 a.m. EDT, Monday, July 26 If you are like me, you hate it when there are articles that totally throw you off and impact markets and stocks in ways that you cannot game because the articles aren't, well, true. I want to highlight two because they were particularly impactful. Also, if you don't mind my saying, they were refuted by me here and on the show, yet it didn't' matter. There were no corrections. The most visible of these wrong-news cycles came during the height of the euro crisis when the Financial Times reported that the Chinese were going to sell their European bonds. I have no idea where this story came from, and it made no sense. Europe is China's biggest market. The Europeans are totally tariff-happy. If they saw China boycott their markets or start pulling out in a crisis, they would simply throw up tariff barriers to shut down a huge amount of Chinese imports. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll It helped drive the euro down to the lows. It helped caused the world to dip into a vicious bear market. On July 14, we saw the truth. China was buying bonds, not selling them, including Spanish bonds. By that time, of course, the crisis had past, but in the FT article that talked about China buying, there was no mention of the big breaking story about China selling. C'est la vie. The second story that had no gravitas: the Justice Department investigation of Goldman Sachs ( GS). A host of papers reported when Goldman Sachs was in the $160s that the Justice Department was examining Goldman to bring a criminal law suit against the firm on the Abacus deal. I immediately said that this was just untrue, using some pretty decent Justice Department sources. The SEC has to tell the Justice Department what it is doing. But the stories talked about a "referral" to the Justice Department, which implies a recommendation to file criminal charges, something that sank the stock all the way to the $130s. Much of that move came because people were worried that a Justice filing would wipe out the firm. We now know that there was no referral -- it stayed at the SEC -- but there was no correction. Nobody wrote, "We got this one wrong." Two stories. Two wrong stories. Total immunity. Done with impunity. And boy were investors ever crushed by them. I guess being a journalist means never having to say you're sorry. At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
Trading Off Fed Chatter Is Just Plain Dumb
Posted at 1:28 p.m. EDT, Thursday, July 29 I just heard a Fed governor sneeze. We gotta short the SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY)! It could be a signal, perhaps a code, that we could be turning into Japan, with no growth and deflation. This, right on top of a cough by a Fed president yesterday, clearly meant to flag that growth on Tuesday slowed, and slowed dramatically, from Monday, particularly in the half hour between 4 and 4:30. I wouldn't be all that concerned except the Fed beige book came out the other day and it turns out to be exactly as grim as Ben Bernanke described it, which must mean that the economy has decelerated rapidly. Why else would the statements be pretty much identical if the Fed weren't trying to send a message of rapid deterioration. In response, we should sell everything. Or at least that's what we did. I have some late-breaking news: When we start trading off the musings of this Fed governor or that Fed president, we are going to make a ton of mistakes. These Rotarians -- and I like the Rotary Club, but I am putting it in context -- get to muse all they want, and if James Bullard from the all-important St. Louis Fed -- which is as all-important as the Philly, Richmond and Dallas Feds ... as well as all of the other Feds -- wants to mention Japan in the same breath as the U.S. and we want to sell on it, the market's become even more stupid than I articulated yesterday. Pass Bernanke a tissue -- he's liable to set off a crash! At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
Get Comfortable in an Ethan Allen Stake
Posted at 8:07 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 30 Why in heck is Ethan Allen ( ETH) still in business? How can we afford to make furniture anymore? How can we do custom design -- isn't it too expensive? Upholstery? Must be all Chinese by now, no? The answer is that Ethan Allen can stay in business, unlike pretty much every other furniture maker in the U.S., because Farooq Kathwari runs it and he won't let it happen. The man's been in charge for 25 years, a 25-year period where pretty much everyone else went under. He's having a pretty darned good year, too -- one that's much better than last year (admittedly easy comparisons), and one where the gross margins are looking really amazing. He used the Great Recession to close a huge an unwieldy distribution and manufacturing system -- they are a domestic vertically integrated company -- and streamline the whole process from the creation to the stores. They have also shifted toward the high end, to custom, and to more than half of the product being made with cloth -- upholstered -- not just their hallmark wood. The result? I think the estimates will prove too low, and the stock -- which went from $7 to $25 and then back to $15 -- is undervalued. In fact, I think that the multiple "sells" on the name, a legacy of when the company looked balance-sheet stressed (they bought back too much stock high) and when the consumer fell off a cliff, will be dead wrong. You've got an interesting situation developing in this name. First, it is highly correlated to employment, but, because of its clientele, it is highly correlated to the stock market. If the stock market goes higher, they do better --