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Did you miss last night's "Mad Money" on CNBC? If so, here are Jim Cramer's top takeaways for today's trading.
Accenture (ACN - Get Report) : Before you buy any stock, you must first know what you're buying, Cramer told viewers. Understanding what a company does is easier for brands you interact with in your daily life, but for companies like Accenture, figuring out how they make their money is a little tougher.
Shares of Accenture are up 21% since their February lows, but does that make them cheap or expensive? If the stock pulls back, is that a time to buy more or sort selling? Investors can't hope to answer these questions without knowing the basics.
Accenture calls itself a technology outsourcing company, but in fact the company helps other companies respond to technological change. It has been investing big into digital technology including the cloud, mobile and data analytics so Accenture can help other companies do the same.
For example, when food giant Mondelez (MDLZ - Get Report) realized its operating margins were lagging its peers, the company called Accenture, which implemented a new, modern budgeting system that has already saved Mondelez $350 million and is expected to save over $1 billion during the next three years.
Shares of Accenture currently trade at 19 times earnings, which is at a premium versus its peers. But Cramer said the company deserves its premium and he would be a buyer.
Newell Rubbermaid (NWL - Get Report) : On Dec. 14, Newell Rubbermaid announced it was buying Jarden (JAH) for $15.4 billion. With Jarden's board set to vote on the deal this week, is it time to jump into the stock? Cramer took a look.
Both Newell and Jarden have terrific portfolios of brands, so one would think the combined company would have all of those brands, plus an estimated $500 million in cost savings over four years. But some analysts aren't sure, saying the combined company would receive a "conglomerate discount" as bigger usually means harder to manage and harder to understand.
But Cramer called these arguments bogus, saying the combined company will have the scale needed to strike better deals with retailers for both price and placement on store shelves, plus the chance to jettison weaker brands to focus on only the best of the best.
Cramer said he remains a buyer of the new company, which will be called Newell Brands and retain the excellent executive teams from both companies.
Alcoa (AA - Get Report) : In an exclusive interview, Cramer spoke to Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa, the aluminum maker that plans to break itself up in the second half of next year. Alcoa just reported a 5-cents-a-share earnings beat on light revenue, down 15% from year ago levels.
Kleinfeld said demand for aluminum continues to grow and is expected to be up 5% this year, compared to a 2% increase in supply. That means things are moving in the right direction. Overall, he added, things are not as bad as Alcoa predicted in January. Aerospace remains down but trucks and autos remain stable. Europe, he said, is weaker than forecast but is still growing slowly.
When asked about the investigation into Chinese dumping of aluminum, Kleinfeld said he's glad the process has begun, but it will be a long time until the results are known. So he's adopted a wait-and-see approach.
Kleinfeld also commented on Alcoa's aerospace division, where his company is now able to produce 90% of all jet engine components. He said these new capabilities put Alcoa on a different level with customers.
Cramer said investors should own Alcoa for the breakup, which will unlock a lot of value, but we still don't know exactly when that will occur.
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