Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday August 20.
Look To Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP): Target (NYSE:TGT), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), International Rectifier Corporation (NYSE:IRF). Other stocks mentioned: Icahn Enterprises (NASDAQ:IEP), Synchrony (NYSE:SYF)
It is hard to tell whether the Fed thinks the economy is getting better or worse. Often interest rates are used to gauge the economy, but rates can't be used as a barometer, because money is pouring into the bond markets, and rates are sent lower regardless of economic data. Declining interest rates are a "false tell."
Retailers are bemoaning a promotional environment which makes competition fierce. This is a sign the consumer is looking for discounts. Target (TGT) cut its guidance, but the stock rallied late in the day. Home Depot (HD) said things are better than expected, but competitor Lowe's (LOW) said the environment was difficult. Retailers say the economy is weak.
Goldman Sachs downgraded the semiconductor group with a predicted decline as much as 25%. Yet International Rectifier Corporation (IRF) got a takeover bid and soared 45%. Commodities are telling mixed stories. How can investors develop a game plan with these confusing cross currents? Transports are "honest reads" on the economy.
Union Pacific (UNP) hit an all-time high on Wednesday. It is seeing strength in the transport of industrial goods and material for construction, and this has strong indications for hiring. Coal is 17% of UNPs revenues, and coal has been weak, but it seems that other segments are compensating for it. UNP also carries oil, and is moving quite a bit of it given increased production. Auto demand is also strong. Agriculture numbers are growing because of bumper crops. UNP gives a bullish read on the economy.
Cramer took some calls:
Icahn Enterprises (IEP): Cramer thinks this is good and is an excellent stock to buy. "Carl Icahn is a fabulous investor."
Synchrony (SYF) is on fire. "I can't believe it, but it is proving to be a big winner. Hold onto that stock."
CEO Interview: Irwin Simon, Hain Celestial (NASDAQ:HAIN)
Cramer congratulated CEO Irwin Simon on his strong quarter with 59% growth. The increase in the popularity of healthy food and the desire of conventional supermarkets to increase their natural and organic offerings to compete is helping Hain. Cramer asked CEO Irwin Simon how Hain expects to stay independent given the popularity of its products. "I've been doing this for 20 years, and I am just beginning." Cramer asked about one of Hain's brands, Arrowhead Mills, having its natural peanut butter recalled because of salmonella poisoning, and suggested this might be a downside of natural foods free of preservatives. Simon said that any food company has risks of spoilage involved, and non-natural foods have greater risks because of the low quality of the ingredients. Simon said the 30 million college students are the consumers today and will be the consumers of tomorrow, and they are concerned about healthy food. "This was a very tough day for those who bet against the stock," said Cramer referring to the sizeable number of misguided short sellers of Hain.
Hertz (HTZ) was down after a truly disastrous quarter, and Cramer put the CEO Mark Frissora on the Wall of Shame. Even in a great industry, bad management can find a way to ruin a company. The car rental space was facing consolidation, which should mean automatic upside for the stock. Avis (CAR) saw a huge increase in stock price, but not Hertz. Hedge fund manager Larry Robbins was bullish on the stock, because he saw a potential for a spin-off. Cramer agrees with the long-term thesis, if the CEO would depart, because Frissora has a history of poor execution. As soon as he gets the boot, says Cramer, the stock will go higher.
Hertz cut its guidance and said the spin off could be delayed. "Frissora has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory." He has complained about the industry while competitors are cleaning up. He blamed sequester last year, and blames recalls this year. "He has lost all credibility on Wall Street." Frissora's biggest backer on the board announced his retirement. Carl Icahn owns a large stake, and he might be able to shake things up. Cramer thinks Scott Thompson, former CEO of Dollar Thrifty (DTG), should be brought in at the helm. Cramer says he hopes Frissora will have a brief sojourn on the Wall of Shame, because as soon as he leaves the company, the stock will rise 10%. "As long as you are there, sir (as CEO of Hertz) Avis doesn't have to try harder."
Cramer took some calls:
Trinity (NYSE:TRN): Cramer is bullish on the stock.
Tesla (TSLA) Cramer would not get in the way of it, because it is a cult stock that will likely go higher. Cramer would play it with call options.
CEO Robert Workman discussed Now's (NYSE:NOW) pristine balance sheet and said he plans to "use our leverage to grow this business." Cramer said the quarter was "noisy," and Workman said that part of this was because of its recent spinoff of National Oilwell Varco (NOV). The company participates in all aspects of the market, and its diversity means increased opportunity. Oil is going down, but as soon as the price stabilizes the stock is going higher. Cramer is confident in the company because of Peter Miller "who is Mr. Money of the oil service business."
Get Cramer's Picks by email - it's free and takes only a few seconds to sign up.