Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday November 30.
It Doesn't Matter How Well Citigroup (NYSE:C) Is Doing. Other stocks mentioned: First Niagara (NASDAQ:FNFG), Banco Santander (STD), New York Community Bancorp (NYB), Toronto Dominion (NYSE:TD), Disney (NYSE:DIS)
With the recent rally, some have taken a more bullish view on banks and believe they might finally be too cheap to ignore. However, the rally and even the improving fundamentals of some financials are not compelling reasons to buy, since the big problems have not gone away. The government's dislike of the sector and its punitive regulations combined with the possibility of Europe's credit crisis spilling over into the U.S. trump any bullish picture of banks.
Credit Suisse and Oppenheimer recently upgraded Citigroup (C) on its improved balance sheet, profitability, dividend hike, restructuring and the strength of its credit card business. Its valuation seems compelling, since Citigroup trades at a 40% discount to book value. However, the reports contained only one or two paragraphs about the real problem: Europe. The domestic and international risks are too great to consider buying the banks right now, and the macro picture trumps fundamentals in the sector. "You have to be insane to get caught up in this debate," Cramer said. "It doesn't matter how Citigroup is doing." The only banks he would consider buying are those based only on deposits, are not involved with derivatives and credit default swaps and banks that give a crystal clear picture about what they own. Toronto Dominion (TD) is an example of this kind of bank, with a 4% yield. Otherwise, he would stay away from financials.
Cramer took some calls:
First Niagara Financial Group (FNFG) and New York Community Bancorp (NYB) are great banks, but that doesn't matter. There is little loan growth and they face government antipathy.
Banco Santander (STD) is not worth buying since the Spanish economy is in shambles and the 9% dividend is not trustworthy; "Go with Disney (DIS), which is raising its dividend rather than Banco Santander, which may have to cut it."
The market rallied beautifully on Wednesday, with the Dow up 490 points, the S&P 500 rising 4.3% and the Nasdaq up 4.2%. Cramer gave Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke partial credit for the rally, with the kind of helpful intervention that might have prevented a Lehman-style bank collapse in Europe. China's easing interest rates was another driver of stocks, and now Cramer thinks industrials like Cummins (CMI) can be bought. While he expressed concern about Wynn Resorts (WYNN) a few days ago, he is now bullish on this stock, as well as Starwood Hotels (HOT). Oils are also buys, since demand should rise, especially as events in Iran heat up. Now it is time for Germany to make a move and find a solid resolution to the European crisis. If there is a valid solution, European bonds may actually be worth buying. Cramer would use any strength to lighten up on financials.
CEO Interview: Angel Martinez, Deckers (NYSE:DECK)
Deckers (DECK) is one growth stock worth buying even in a risky economic environment because of its strength. The maker of UGG boots and Teva sandals has seen a 1,300% gain since Cramer got behind it in 2005 and a 112% rise since Cramer reiterated his recommendation in June of last year. The stock jumped from $104 to $117 after a fantastic quarter, one of the best moves of the year, but has recently fallen back to $109 where Cramer thinks it is a "bargain." The company is expanding into new markets and reaching new customers with a 20% growth in Europe. Of China, Angel Martinez said, "We have a brand portfolio that appeals to the Chinese consumer," and the premium, youth-driven products are selling well in China. While some were worried about the possibility of a warm winter negatively affecting Deckers' sales, Martinez said a cold winter would help but is not decisive, since the returning consumers are in "replenishment mode," and will buy new UGGs no matter how the weather is. Cold weather, however, brings in new customers.
Men's UGGs have been a great success and have seen 20% growth. The marketing strategy is very different from that used to sell women's boots and shoes. "Man outside, UGGs inside" is the motto. The rising cost of sheepskin, up 30% last year and 40% this year, is a concern for Deckers, but the company has adapted by using other types of hides in addition to sheepskin and making modest price increases. Angel Martinez thinks the minor price rises will stick; "Once you have UGGs in your closet, you will always have UGGs in your closet." Cramer thinks Deckers is going higher.
Jim Cramer was up 31% in 2009. Click here now to trade alongside him.
Get Cramer's Picks by email - it's free and takes only a few seconds to sign up.