Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday, May 1.
The Pharmaceutical business is not just about near term earnings and not about the next quarter, but pharma stocks live and die by the pipeline. Merck (MRK) reported a quarter that was panned, but since it has 35 drugs in the pipeline, management knows it has significant potential upside with its Phase III drugs. Merck's management has taken advantage of the decline to buy back shares that amount to 10% of the company, and with a 3.75% yield, investors are being paid to wait.
Stocks can get crushed by the pipeline, too. Allergan (AGN) fell 13% in one day because results were not as bright as expected for its drug to treat eye disease. Bad news for Allergan was great news for Regeneron (REGN), which has the leading drug currently on the market for macular degeneration. The shorts were gathering around REGN, hoping for a sell-off from the spike after it was added to the S&P 500. However, Allergan's tragedy was REGN's victory, and the short trade "got busted."
Eli Lilly (LLY) didn't blow away the numbers, but it is developing a drug for Alzheimer's disease. Pfizer's (PFE) earnings were disappointing, but there is talk of another spin-off to create value. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is another company that might realize that breaking up is good to do. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has a robust pipeline and a solid yield.
On a final note, Cramer said the way to play pharma is not just to try to predict FDA approvals. He noted that Merck, as it was developing its revolutionary cholesterol drug in the 80s, kept rising dramatically on successful clinical trials. Those who held Merck through the entire period saw more substantial gains through trials than from the ultimate FDA approval alone.
The Dow slipped 139 points on Wednesday. Cramer detailed reasons the bears are giving for the decline: weak economy, Fed policy, European woes, China slowing, "Sell in May, go away," taxes dampening consumer confidence, stocks are too expensive, earnings aren't good enough etc. However, all of these worries existed 4,000 points ago, when the Dow was around 10,000. Cramer recalls buying his first stocks in 1979 when the Dow was at 850. He was told then that stocks were expensive.
The best way to approach stocks, given the current decline, is to buy as if shares of solid companies are heavily discounted popular brands at a retail outlet. Domino's Pizza (DPZ) and Eaton (ETN) are worth buying in this "sale." Cramer added that he would be cautious if there were any identifiable reasons for the decline, but since the bears have been singing the same song for the last 4,000 Dow points, it is time to regard declines as discount sales.
Cramer took some calls:
Zoetis (ZTS): "Animal health is one of the greatest businesses in the world." Cramer would buy ZTS. He added that if Merck spins off its animal health business, the stock could reach the 50s.
Cracker Barrel (CBRL) has "one of the most amazing buybacks in the world." It reduced its share count from 31 million to 23 million.
CEO Interview: Rick Hamada, Avnet (AVT)
Times are tough for tech, but some companies in the sector are performing better than others. Cramer spoke to Rick Hamada, CEO of Avnet (AVT), the "largest supermarket of tech," to get a read on the industry.
"Uncertainty is the new norm, but we aren't standing still." said Hamada. The company reported a 3 cent earnings beat on higher than expected revenues. With tech generally weak, Cramer asked what could generate upside for the company. "We cover broad industrial segments," replied Hamada. In 2012, there were declines in semiconductors and industrial tech, but according to industry experts, these sectors are looking stronger.
The tech revolution is not just about devices, but connecting various devices. Avnet is producing technology to facilitate interconnections. Hamada said that Europe is "crossing over" into positive territory, Asia has made the crossover, and the Americas is "a laggard on a year over year basis, but positive on a sequential basis." When asked what he plans to do with extra cash, Rick Hamada says he will consider MA options and is planning to return gains to shareholders through a buyback. Cramer noted that AVT historically has bought back shares at the $28-29 level. "This is the best company in a tough neighborhood," said Cramer.
CEO Interview: Jim Griffith, Timkin (TKR)
If a global turnaround happens in the second half of the year, Timkin (TKR) may be the cyclical stock to buy on the possible uptrend. The company makes bearings and alloy steel products for a host of end markets. The stock has rallied 30% since Cramer got behind it in October. Timkin beat earnings by one penny on revenues that were lighter than expected because of weaker demand. Timkin is embroiled in a controversy because some major shareholders want the company to spin off its steel segment, but CEO Jeff Griffith is against the move, and wants Timkin to remain a unified company.
He noted in a Mad Money interview that the weakness of many steel competitors reflect the problems that would beset Timkin's steel segment if it were to stand alone. Griffith said business would be hindered in China, for instance if the companies were split; "It would be difficult to leverage the synergies of being a global company if we were to break up."
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