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If you're going to pick stocks, focus on the fundamentals and not on the prevailing "wisdom" of patterns. That was Jim Cramer's lesson to his Mad Money viewers Monday as once again February opened with a round of "As goes January, so goes the year" anecdotes.
Make no mistake, there are patterns to things, Cramer told viewers. Technical patterns are a weekly focus on Mad Money, as are economic ones like "don't fight the Fed." But when it comes to seasonal patterns, they just don't hold up.
So many of the old tried-and-true patterns were proven wrong last year. Cheap gasoline always translates into more consumer spending, but not last year. Maybe that's because online sales are hard to measure, or maybe it was due to unseasonably warm winter weather. No matter the reason, it didn't happen.
The decline in the price of oil itself doesn't make sense either. Typically, oil demand is what drives prices, but not last year when supply was in the driver's seat, Cramer said.
Whether you're looking at our market's inexplicable link to China, or the pricing of bank stocks, nothing that used to work seems like it currently works anymore. That why Cramer told viewers to forget the traditional wisdom and go back to the other tried-and-true way to make money, by doing your homework.
Off the Charts
In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleague Carley Garner over the direction of both oil and the markets and the crazy linkage between the two.
Looking at a daily chart comparing the S&P 500 versus west Texas intermediary (WTI) crude, Garner noted a strong correlation between the two, a correlation that soared to 95% as oil prices fell below the key $40 a barrel level. She noted that in a normal market, that correlation would be close to 30%.
Garner fell short of falling into the trap that is trying to predict where oil will bottom, but she noted that a retest of the $26 lows is likely and if that test doesn't hold, the next floor of support is $18 a barrel.
As for the markets overall, Garner said the relative strength indicator for the S&P is extremely oversold, more so than during the financial panic in 2008. The index is likely to go lower before it goes higher, she concluded.
Is Coach for Real?
On the surface, Coach's 1 cent-a-share earnings beat on weak revenue and a 4% decline in same-store sales make not seem that impressive, but Cramer said compared to where those numbers were a year ago Coach is on fire.
Cramer pinned the turnaround at Coach to its new CEO, Victor Luis, who took the reins in January 2014. Luis has since put renewed focus on the brand and its products as well as on the company's ecommerce operations and its stores, 40% of which will be remodeled by the end of fiscal 2016.
Investors can snap up all of these positives and a lot more, in a stock that trades for just 17 times earnings, which sports a bountiful 3.6% yield.
Executive Decision: Tom Farrell
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Tom Farrell, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Resources (D) , which on Monday announced the acquisition of Questar (STR) , a Utah-based natural gas company, for $4.4 billion in cash.
Farrell explained the assets that Dominion sold in 2007 near the highs of the market were in the oil and gas production space, while the acquisition of Questar, near the market lows, is a well-run natural gas infrastructure company.
Farrell is bullish on Dominion's prospects for exporting liquified natural gas by late next year. He said Dominion has signed 20-year contracts for the facility and those contracts don't rely on the underlying price of the commodity.
Farrell is also upbeat on Dominion's data center business, primarily located in Virginia. He said there are another nine major data centers coming online this year in Virginia, thanks in part to the state's low cost of reliable electricity. Dominion is also building a solar farm in Virginia to provide an Amazon.com (AMZN) data center with renewable energy.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer reminded viewers the Federal Reserve does matter. He said it's vitally important to have an independent central bank, and having one adds to our political stability as a nation.
That said, Cramer said the Fed is doing a "sub-optimal" job with its continued mantra of needing four rate hikes in 2016. More rate hikes will send the U.S. back into recession, Cramer said. But the Fed is full of smart people, so he hopes they'll see the data and respond accordingly.
Is it too much to ask to actually see some inflation before we start "fighting" it, Cramer asked? Is it too politically incorrect to assume that the wage inflation we're seeing might be tied to many states raising their minimum wages? These are both questions the Fed needs to answer and, one hopes, will do so correctly.
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