Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Friday December 10.
With the restaurant space "absolutely on fire," Cramer searched for the ideal speculative play among relatively small casual dining companies that are regional to national stories and which potentially have a high risk/reward. Each of these restaurants have a market cap of $1-2 billion, a level Cramer calls "the sweet spot for speculation."
The main metric used to measure the strength of the speculation plays is store growth. Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), currently has 163 locations and is planning to increase its store count by a mere 4%. Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), which is located mainly in the Eastern part of the U.S. has 344 restaurants and is looking at 6% store growth for 2011. BJ's Restaurants (BJRI), located mainly in California and on the West coast, is planning to add 12-13 stores to the 103 they already own, for 12% store growth. "BJ's takes the cake!" exclaimed Cramer.
BJ's stock has the strongest performance, with a 107% gain year over year compared to 54% for CAKE and 61% for TXRI. BJ's also has the largest short position, 24%, but the company has created a short squeeze before, and it might repeat this performance. While Cramer admits BJ's trades at an expensive multiple of 39.7% compared to its 23% growth rate, he insists it is "worth every penny" as a speculative stock.
In spite of the good news in the past week, from Obama's compromise on tax cuts and welfare benefits to promising consumer confidence data, the indexes haven't risen much. Concerning the markets, Cramer said, "This one's a raging bull, not an aging bull." He sees a steady flow of money in from the sidelines, largely thanks to the government reforms. "I do not think we have seen the highs for the year." Cramer outlined a game plan for the coming week.
Best Buy (BBY) reports on Tuesday. Cramer expects the company to beat estimates and raise guidance as it did in the previous quarter. Corning's (GLW) bullish comments on large screen TV sales are a good tell for Best Buy.
On Wednesday Joy Global (JOYG) reports what Cramer expects to be a strong quarter, but which will probably be talked down by pundits worried about tightening in China. "Oh come on!" said Cramer, who suggested waiting for the selloff after the quarter to buy a great play on the global demand for manufacturing equipment.
Cramer would pay attention to General Mills' (GIS) call on Thursday. He still thinks GIS is the best packaged goods company, but there is concern about rising raw costs and competition. He thinks Federal Express (FDX), which also reports on Thursday, will benefit from the bull market in transports. After the bell, Research in Motion (RIMM) reports, and while Cramer sees a runup in the stock until the quarter, he warned the company had better report fantastic numbers, or the stock will sell off. He would condone buying RIM on the pre-quarter runup and selling right before it reports, to play it safe.
Other key events on Thursday are the Merrill Lynch conference, which will feature key industrial names, and Procter & Gamble's (PG) analyst day. PG should discuss product innovation and the issue of rising costs. Even though the stock got an upgrade from "hold" to "buy" on Friday, "It's done nothing for ages." The housing starts number will also be released on Thursday, and Cramer says he is praying for a low number to keep supplies down and to stabilize prices.
The "big bad event" in the coming week is Tuesday's Fed meeting, but given Cramer's confidence in Ben Bernanke, he's not concerned; "(Bernanke) will get us where we have to go."
Cramer urged viewers to buy with conviction and to see that there is still plenty of mileage in the trucking bull market. When investors have confidence in their picks, they have the courage to buy on declines. Cramer's favorite in the sector has been Cummins (CMI), but he would also consider picking up Paccar (PCAR) and Navistar (NAV). Cramer sees a future for the trucking bull markets, since the North American truck replacement cycle is still in its infant stages, with the average fleet nearly 20 years old. November's new truck order number was for 26,000 Class A trucks; "That was the best reading since May of 2006."
Cummins predicted in its conference call that truck sales would be up 60% in the coming year, "but no one believed them," said Cramer. Sales are roaring in China, and all three trucking companies cut costs significantly during the recession. Cramer would use any decline as a reason to buy more of these trucking stocks.
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