Jim Cramer is one of the top-watched TV personalities on CNBC. He is the host of Mad Money and also the co-founder and chairman of TheStreet.com. Nearly 250K people watch his show daily on TV and most of these are ordinary investors trying to understand what’s going on in the market. Cramer’s bullish and bearish stock picks on his show are the starting point for many investments made by these folks.
The S&P 500 index lost 6.7% yesterday and here is what Cramer recommended following this huge decline.
Berkshire Hathaway B (BRK.B): Cramer was asked about this storied stock after it recently received an S&P downgrade. Although he recognized the great franchise, the stock doesn’t have yield support and performs similar to financials. Cramer says he doesn’t like financials and won’t be recommending them. Whitney Tilson is one of the most bullish hedge fund managers about Berkshire.
Verizon (VZ): In light of recent labor problems, Cramer said that Verizon needs to remove the costs of operating landlines, as they're not making the money Verizon needs them to in order to justify operations. Billionaires George Soros and Leon Cooperman are among the investors with large VZ holdings.
Nordic American Tanker (NAT): This oil tanker company is the only one Cramer endorses. Currently yielding 7.2%, questions arose to whether the stock’s dividend was safe. CEO Herbjorn Hansson cleared up a story by Reuters that stated the dividend was halved. Hansson said the dividend was not halved and pointed out that the firm maintained the dividend for 56 quarters. Nordic American Tanker’s competitors are over-leveraged and have taken on too much debt in this volatile market. Cramer said he has tremendous confidence in NAT. Unfortunately, we aren’t as confident as Cramer. None of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey has a large stake in NAT.
SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD): With the price of gold up 20.34% YTD, Cramer bolstered his stance on owning gold to insure the portfolio against drops in markets. Cramer stated the SPDR Gold Trust ETF is the safest, most convenient way to play the precious metal. Paulson & Co. has 13% of its portfolio in GLD.
Goldcorp (GG): Cramer's often hesitant to recommend miners over the direct-play SPDR Gold Trust ETF, as miners are subject to the fluctuations inherent in any business. For example, Goldcorp's earnings potential was severely hampered by forest fires, flooding rivers and technical issues specific to the mining industry. However, Cramer said this stock may be a “buy” since its short-term problems are behind it and he feels the stock can catch up to the bouillon.
Gold miners ETF (GDX) underperformed the GLD by around 30 percentage points since the beginning of this year. Personally, we prefer physical gold to any of the miners. However, Daniel Bubis’ Tetrem Capital and Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle have very large positions in GG.
Bank of America (BAC): When a viewer inquired about Bank of America, Cramer used it as an opportunity to reinforce his dislike of all financial stocks, regardless of the company. Interestingly, Cramer still has this stock in his charitable trust’s portfolio.
Pfizer (PFE): A viewer who inherited a large amount of this pharmaceutical wanted to know if he should dump his whole position. Cramer, while not a fan of the stock, said it’s stable enough right now and that it should be worked out of the portfolio over time. Jeffrey Tannenbaum of Fir Tree is also decreasing his position in the pharmaceutical company.
Corning (GLW): Cramer doesn’t like companies that feed at the trough of the government. A lot of what Corning makes is related to televisions and other technology-related products, which are in weak demand in developed nations. Cramer said he isn’t recommending any tech stocks at the moment. In the past, Cramer recommended GLW to take advantage of the huge demand for Apple's (AAPL) iPad. Now he doesn't recommend AAPL, but he still has it in his charitable trust's portfolio.
Humana (HUM) received an immediate sell recommendation from Cramer for its heavy reliance upon the government.
CNH Global NV (CNH): This international agricultural play received a buy recommendation from Cramer. Jim Simons’ Renaissance is one of the large holders of HUM. The stock's gained 20% so far this year, helping Simons beat the market by a huge margin. Through last Friday, Simons’ top stock picks managed to beat the S&P 500 index by more than 9 percentage points since the end of March.
EOG Resources (EOG): A domestic oil and gas producer that reported a terrific quarter and beat estimates by $0.32; Cramer feels this is a growth stock that is poised to do well when oil prices bottom. He thinks this is maybe the best oil company out there. T. Boone Pickens’ BP Capital was very bullish about EOG and increased its bet on the company during the first quarter.
Additional disclosure: I am long physical gold.