When an iconic company announces a major restructuring, investors need to ask "what went wrong," Cramer told viewers, as he examined the plight of the iconic consumer packaged goods company, Procter & Gamble ( PG). Despite increasing revenues by 5% over the past few years, Procter has been unable to boost earnings per share growth, causing the company to announce a major restructuring effort that will trim over 5,600 jobs and take $1 billion out of the company's marketing efforts. But will these efforts be enough to turn the consumer giant around? Cramer said probably not. Cramer explained that the Procter of today is no longer the best of breed giant it once was. He said there is no culture of cost-cutting at the company, calling into question whether it can deliver on its promises. But the real issue for Procter is that of the entire consumer packaged goods sector, which has been in a tailspin as birth rates in the U.S. fall and the group sees increased competition from private label products along with higher commodity prices. In a perfect world, Procter would simply raise prices to offset rising costs, said Cramer, but with so many shoppers sticking with private label alternatives, raising prices is no longer an option. He said the same sentiments can be found on the conference calls of Kimberly-Clark ( KMB), Clorox ( CLX) and even General Mills ( GIS). Cramer also called into question Procter's decision to trim its marketing efforts. Marketing differentiation is one of the few things branded products have going for them, he said, cutting back those efforts could have serious consequences. Cramer said that's why he's buying Kellogg's ( K) for his Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. He said Kellogg's acquisition of Pringles, from Procter, is exactly what a company should be doing to reinvigorate its growth. In the case of Kellogg's, Cramer said the estimates are too low, the exact opposite of the estimates for Procter.
5 Oil Trades
Investors looking to play the rising price of crude oil have lots of companies from which to choose, Cramer told viewers, as he ran down five oil stocks, starting with the most secure and ending with the most risky. He told investors to match up their own personal risk profile with the stock that's most right for them. First, on the safe side, Cramer recommended Conoco-Phillips ( COP), an Action Alerts PLUS holding that sports a 3.4% yield. Cramer said this shareholder-friendly company is breaking itself up to unlock value and has big catalysts on the horizon. Second, Cramer suggested Schlumberger ( SLB), another Action Alerts PLUS name. He said this oil service company derives 80% of its revenues from outside the U.S. and is a bargain at just 14 times earnings with a 30% growth rate. Cramer's third recommendation was EOG Resources ( EOG), the top producer in both the Bakken and Eagle Ford oil shale regions. He said this company has bullish prospects and is growing its production and reserves. Fourth, Cramer recommended National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), a company with 70% market share in the drilling equipment business. He said this company needs oil prices to be high and stay high in order to thrive. He said it is not for the squeamish investor, but is still a great company with a promising future. Finally, as a speculative play, Cramer suggested Magnum Hunter ( MHR), a literal drilling machine that's increased production by 455% and boosted its proven reserves by 44% in just its most recent quarter.