- the recent upside in natural-gas stocks;
- how a recent China tiff could spoil Apple; and
- why investors should bank on BB&T and First Horizon.
Nat-Gas Stocks Get Sudden Upside Posted at 4:26 p.m. EST on Friday, Feb. 17. There's no way that natural gas can stay down here when Devon Energy ( DVN), EOG Resources ( EOG) and Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) are simply throwing in the towel on new drilling, and Ultra Petroleum ( UPL), which is all nat gas, is cutting its budget in half. Southwestern Energy ( SWN) has also indicated it will do the same. That's pretty much everybody who matters. It's as if there is a driller's strike, as it is all going the way of oil now, given the sky-high price of crude. This development is what's causing Chesapeake to go higher today. That, alone, is saying bottom in nat gas. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll If this is indeed the floor, then you have to be thinking that Chesapeake, which is so, so heavily shorted, might be a decent bet, but once again, I come back to Devon being a terrific play, and EOG, which is down today after running up gigantically these last few days, as a close second. I think that the cessation in drilling is going to put a floor on nat gas, but I don't think it can run too much because there is still so much of it. I would bet that it might not get above $3 and change anytime soon. But it comes at an important time. As good as oil is, it can't make up for the heavy declines in the price of natural gas if they keep heading lower. Let's just say it is good news for all of the natural-gas-dependent independents, and it would be a nice kicker to their 2013 earnings estimates, which are all hanging in the balance if natural gas keeps going lower. Random musings: Is H.J. Heinz ( HNZ)(HNZ) the new General Mills ( GIS)? Sure seems like it. What a role reversal! At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Apple Must Avoid Fighting China Posted at 11:12 a.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 16. You can't get into a fight with China. That's what people are worried about with Apple ( AAPL) today. They fear that this is stage one of Google ( GOOG) vs. China, and even though this patent dispute is not about censorship it is most certainly a genuine dispute. We have all learned that the way to cap your growth is to be excluded by the world's largest growth market. Google has never been the same since it stood up to the Chinese. What's so bothersome about this Apple tiff is that it's pretty clear that Apple can change the iPad name in China or pay off the respective disgruntled parties. But it can't let this tiff escalate and run the risk of a loss of the market that is so important to first-quarter growth. It's so easy to talk about island reversals -- the intraday reversal that Apple suffered yesterday -- or the possible negative rebalancing that the Nasdaq might do that would cause selling simply because Apple's become too big. But the simple issue here is clear. Apple plays ball or the growth rate comes down because of a loss of China, and growth rate declines are not tolerable in a momentum stock like this one. Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long AAPL.
Regional Banks Break Out Posted at 6:52 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 16. We are beginning to see some real breakouts in these regional banks, breakouts that signify there's some real loan growth out there, that there's no longer as much credit risk and that the franchises that are intact are probably worth more than they are selling for. There's tons of these smaller regionals -- I am not talking about Wells Fargo ( WFC)/ U.S. Bancorp ( USB) (USB) which are huge -- and the two I think that are the most exciting are BB&T ( BBT) and First Horizon ( FHN). Both companies made mistakes, like every other bank out there, but BBT made fewer, and First Horizon worked harder than most to clean up its mistakes and clean them up quickly. Both have good enough balance sheets to support good growth. BBT has really carved up Bank of America ( BAC) in its hometown and expanded rapidly throughout the southeast. I know that there's some hyperbole to this statement, but it does seem that First Horizon seems to be the only bank in Tennessee that's really doing well.