This article originally appeared on Jan. 31, 2014, on RealMoney.com. To read more content like this plus see inside Jim Cramer's multimillion-dollar portfolio for FREE... Click Here.
The buyers are demanding growth, but not just any growth. They want real growth, top-line growth. They aren't buying the manufactured earnings-per-share numbers from the companies that have low top-line numbers. They want Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) and Google (GOOG), which have no fences to their growth. Heck, this market is so discerning, it is taking Amazon.com (AMZN) to the woodshed because its growth might be ever so slightly deteriorating.
What else do the buyers want? They prefer industrials to the consumer stocks, that's for certain. With the breakdown of the retail ETF, we are seeing real question marks, major ones, about the whole notion of shopping. Sure, there are a couple of bright spots: Costco (COST), Macy's (M) and Starbucks (SBUX) were able to put up 5% same-store growth, and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) put up a beast of a number, a plus 9, made up with traffic, not price.
But for the most part, retail, including Wal-Mart (WMT) today, has been a disaster. We keep getting divided opinions about why. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz famously declared that there is a secular sea change against the mall. Customers are window-shopping the mall and seeing if they can get it for less elsewhere. Amazon.com certainly did nothing to dissuade me from that view, and neither did Google (GOOG), which on its triumphant call directly cited the process of consumers Googling while shopping.