Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Thursday February 7.
"What the heck do people want out of a company?" asked Cramer. He was discussing hedge fund manager David Einhorn's comments that Apple (AAPL), a "phenomenal company, creating iconic products that consumers around the world love," should return more of its cash to shareholders. Currently Apple yields 2.3%, but, in the past year, its performance has not been strong. However, in the last three years, Apple has returned 137% compared to the S&P 500's return of 50%. While Apple has not returned as much lately as it did in the past, Cramer summarized Apple's ethos as "If you produce the best products... everything takes care of itself."
Cramer agrees that Apple should use its cash, but for acquisitions, perhaps Twitter or Netflix (NFLX). However, Cramer disagrees with Einhorn that Apple should up its dividend to 4%; "He reminds me of a depression-era grandmother." He added, "I think Apple has the right to hold the cash that it has." Not all dividend hikes help their stocks; Cramer cited Intel (INTC) as an example. "It has to do with the fact that the stock ran to $705 in a fit of irrational exuberance." Cramer thinks Apple is "a victim of its own success." Even though he admits a bigger buyback might attract more investors, Apple really needs to get back to what it does best; to "create the finest products we have never thought of. That is what the market really wants and nothing else." He concluded that if Einhorn doesn't like what Apple is doing, "he can just sell the stock." He added, "I'm confident that, when the time comes, Apple will put that money to work, and I hope they raise the dividend big. Until then, Apple, you have earned our patience. People, give it to them."
Cramer took some calls:
Zynga (ZNGA): "I think it is more of a short squeeze because they did guide down. I don't like the gaming business. Could it go to five? Yes, but I don't want to risk telling you to put your money in Zynga."
Macy's (M) reported a "terrific" quarter. "Its philosophy of having proprietary brands under one roof is working." Cramer would buy the stock at its current level.
Qualcomm (QCOM) has had a remarkable run. Cramer would buy half at the current level and the other half at $62 or $63.CEO Interview: Fritz Von Paschen, Starwood Hotels (NYSE:HOT)
Starwood Hotels (HOT) has 1,134 properties in 100 countries, and reported a 5 cent earnings beat with the available per room metric up 4.1% worldwide. Cramer says the company is not seeing the kind of gains in its stock price that it deserves, given its strong performance. CEO Fritz Von Paschen commented that the company has 20% more hotels than it did prior to the recession. The company plans to build an additional 300 hotels, 85% in emerging markets, and will benefit from the increasing confidence in the Chinese economy; "We are long-term bullish on China. We have more rooms in China than we do in Europe." The growth of the middle class in China and emerging markets is a major mover for Starwood, and as the ranks of the middle class continue to increase, so will Starwood's customers. In addition, the CEO said, "Our balance sheet has never been stronger." Cramer said, "Starwood is hot. It is going to get hotter."
Europe had seemed to be stabilizing in the past few months, especially as many companies reported strong sales on the Continent, but European Central Bank Chairman, Mario Draghi's comments about interest rates and the euro sent shock waves through global markets. Ralph Lauren (RL) reported in its last quarter that Northern Europe was strong, but Italy and Spain continued to be weak. Cramer thinks that, while it doesn't pay to be obsessed with what is going on in Europe, it might be a good strategy to re-focus on domestic stocks that are immune from the problems on the Continent.
Cramer took some calls:
McDonald's (MCD) is a good, consistent stock to buy.
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