Jim Cramer's Best Blogs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- 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:
  • When and how you should buy Whole Foods; and
  • the compromise that needs to take place on the fiscal cliff.

Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time.


How to Play a Selloff

Posted at 7:23 a.m. EDT on Friday, Nov. 9

You can go back to stocks of companies that have done well that got hammered anyway. You can decide to start picking at stocks you have been waiting for to come down, the preferred way of Action Alerts PLUS. But the one I want to focus on this morning is to look at stocks of companies that are doing terrifically, but they simply got too expensive.

Consider the case of Whole Foods ( WFM). Here's a company that reported 8.3% comparable sales numbers, one of the highest of all the companies I follow. It has a huge growth path as it only has 342 stores with the ability to have as many as 1,000 before it starts cannibalizing itself. It remains a revered institution with a Good Housekeeping seal of approval aspect that amazes while at the same time it has been able to close the price gap between "regular" supermarkets and itself to the lowest level since it came public.

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Best of all, it is spewing cash and has the least-stretched balance sheet in the business, one that allowed the board to raise its dividend to 20 cents from 14 and to continue to buy back shares.

There's only one problem: It has a price-to-earnings ratio of 31. In this environment, where people are selling anything that's not nailed down, where Whole Foods represents a huge capital gain and therefore a giant tax hit next year if nothing is done about the fiscal cliff, Whole Foods becomes Public Enemy No. 1 for the taxable investor. There's just too much gain not to take.

So what do you do? You figure out, OK, where would Whole Foods be a gift? At what price would a 15% grower that can grow for years and years be regarded as cheap? What would you pay for the roughly $3.00 that the company can earn next calendar year?

To me, an ideal price might when it has a P/E of 25. You are not going to get a quality company like this on the cheap, not one with this reputation, this management and this balance sheet.

I think anything more than a P/E of 25, or $75, you take a pass. Remember, this is how you use a sale, not how you let it use you. Plus, when it gets to $75, I wouldn't even put on a full position. Much better to buy half and then wait, say, until it has a P/E of 22 to buy more and then a P/E of 20 to buy the rest.

Sure, if the growth rate suddenly slows you are going to lose a lot of money. But you will be buying it at a cheap rate historically, and that's the correct prism for higher-growth investing.

You can do this exercise with a whole bunch of companies. I am only picking on Whole Foods because the quarter was everything you could ever want out of a company except for one that is so expensive that nothing could ever be enough.


Fonzi vs. Clint

Posted at 7:15 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Nov. 8

Which is more realistic, conjuring a a Happy-Days-Are-Here-Again Democratic Party or expecting the Outlaw Josey Wales part of the Republican party to vanish?

Right now I would say the next 1,000 to 2,000 Dow points rest on these curious visions of the future.

Let me explain.

First, there's some amorphous talk out there that the president, in the second term, will become more hospitable to big business, to the trigger pullers, to the corporations who have not had his ear. The idea is that there are enough companies out there that want to break bread with the president and there's enough give to the president in his second term that a new rapport, a new friendship is about to break out.

Somehow, that Happy-Days-Are-Here-Again skein of thought is in the ether and I have to tell you I don't understand it at all. Why does Obama have to compromise? What did he do to have to make peace or break bread with anyone? He won this victory by appealing solely to his constituency, which is growing much faster than the Republicans' constituency. I see him going the opposite. Big business doesn't want to play ball with him? To heck with them. Banks and bankers gave tens of millions of dollars to defeat him? Forget about them. Bury them, even.

I saw nothing in this election that would make the relationship with business cozier. In fact, I think quite the opposite. Things are going to get more chilly because he believes that they aren't going to hire no matter what he does, or at least hire here.

The idea that he is suddenly going to make nice with the potential big hirers, the oil and gas and refining and chemicals businesses because energy is so cheap? Good luck with that. The companies and leaders in those industries tried to bury him. They did everything they could to crush him. Now he is supposed to be magnanimous? Why? Would you be? I sure wouldn't be. Because of legacy? What's the legacy of the fossil-fuel gang in a green presidency.

The bankers and the oil men were the big losers Tuesday night and the stocks reflected it yesterday. They can recover because they did well before when he disliked them and they will do well now when he dislikes them. But they won't ever have a friend in this White House.

Don't believe me? Consider this. In the first Obama campaign he received tens of millions of dollars from bankers and business people and he did little to help them. Then they turn on him and now he's supposed to help them?

The president will not get you 1,000 or 2,000 more points on the Dow because of some new attitude. That attitude doesn't exist. Stop your dreaming.

Now, the other side is more intriguing and more important. There's a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, and it is made up of people who fear losing their seats in Washington vs. the true believers, the guys who holed up with the Outlaw Josey Wales at the beginning of that fabulous movie. These are people who refuse to surrender when the War Between the States was over because they never accepted that it was a lost cause and intended to fight on no matter what.

Call these people the Tea Partiers. They have no sense of self-preservation because it doesn't intrigue them. What matters is the cause or causes.

I think the leadership of the GOP, whoever that might be right now -- let's call it John Boehner 'cause he's trying to lead -- is worried about losing in 2014. Boehner seems worried about not even being speaker. You have to figure that he and the party minions have figured out that if they can't sweep when unemployment is almost 8% they aren't ever going to sweep. The idea of throwing us into another recession where unemployment goes to 9% isn't necessarily a winning strategy if it didn't work at 8%.

So, rational people would argue that you have to eliminate the Outlaw Josey Wales factors. I say factors, because some of them have to do with social issues, which lost the votes of women. I don't know if the GOP can ever stop single-issue candidacies.

But the major Outlaw Josey Wales factor has to be dealt with, which is the perception that no matter what, rich people must not pay more taxes. That tenet, I believe, made it almost impossible for anyone who doesn't make a lot of money to vote GOP.

Put simply, the Tea Party were perceived as class warriors, not the Democrats. They were perceived as warriors carrying the plutocracy banner. The presidential candidate didn't help because I think the vast majority of people, including the considerable number who pay little or no federal income tax, can't believe that he paid little or no federal income tax.

These people are lost to the GOP. They went Democratic.

So here's what all of this comes down to. Does the GOP leadership realize that running on the principle that the rich should never have to pay more taxes is a loser? Does the leadership recognize that 90% of the country is being sacrificed for the right of the 10% to pay less?

Forget ideology. Forget what the government does with the money. Forget the bloated budget. Accept that without compromise we will fall over the fiscal cliff and back into recession and it will be man-made because the losing party didn't adjust.

No one is going to blame the winning party for not adjusting. It won, for heaven's sake.

The losers have to adjust. If they cast out the Josey Wales lost-causers and stop defending the 10%, particularly the 1% that funded so much of their campaigns, then we go higher, much higher.

If they don't compromise we are sunk. The next 1,000 to 2,000 is down until we readjust to a worse economic world where we can't be the engine and China can't be the engine and Europe just splinters and falls apart.

That's why, reluctantly, I can write 1,000 words on politics, and not stocks, and actually have it matter!