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I can't do any more broad market commentary this week. I'm totally burnt out picking apart two words from the new Fed chief. I'm tired of hearing borderline-useless guidance expressed by stock promoters; it's as if the majority have no original thoughts. The consistency of their "advice" is indicative that many only have strategies to trade the tape instead of thinking through longer-term aspects of the global business community on a deeper level. Maybe they discuss such stuff behind the scenes, enter positions to profit from unforeseen asset-class imbalances and then present their ideas later to the public (as they exit positions) -- but only they know for sure. So, let's end the week talking about companies.
Starbucks Loves Beer
Starbucks (SBUX) selling alcohol is the company trying to train a new generation of its coffee drinkers, currently aged 13 to 19, that it can be your local classy cool bar to have a happy hour jam session after your first week on a new job at age 21. For those already over the age of 21, this is Starbucks trying to change perception that it just sells coffee and is, in fact, the place to take the family for healthier food as opposed to Red Lobster.
I want to jump back on the Starbucks bull team as, yes, these new product announcements are exciting and will fundamentally add to sales and earnings in the future. But overall, meh. The truth for any retailer is found in its stores, and I continue to see issues related to menu expansion that are causing inefficiencies.
Wal-Mart's Spring Black Friday
The bottom line on ridiculous marketing: Wal-Mart (WMT) holding Black Friday in March is a sign the company's first quarter is running below its expectations amid continued over-ordering of seasonal merchandise. It's a major problem that I been raising for over a year, most recently in this piece.
Watch this video for an interesting tidbit I learned talking to Nike (NKE) executives responsible for the Fuelband wearable last week. Kind of creepy. Broadly speaking, a solid quarter from Nike with some eye-popping revenue growth numbers. However, the quarter may not receive the love from the market given three things: a new inventory issue in China; less than robust EBIT margin expansion from emerging markets on very strong sales; and the company is simply on a runaway spending stretch on digital product innovation and World Cup marketing.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 12 p.m. EDT on Real Money on March 21.