Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Tuesday December 13.
Jung and Foolish, Avon (AVP)
It's about time that Avon (AVP) removed CEO Andrea Jung as CEO; Cramer put her on the Wall of Shame as a serial destroyer of value. She never solved the root problems and managed to make loads of money while shareholders suffered. AVP stock jumped 6% on the news of her departure. While a new CEO could create a comeback for AVP, the fact that Jung will be part of the selection process is not promising. In any case, the next chief executive might have to cut the dividend. Cramer thinks Jung should have been booted two years ago, and Avon is a cautionary tale of what can happen if a bad CEO is allowed to stay at the helm too long.
Stocks opened up on Tuesday after a series of upgrades, but the Dow ended 66 points in negative territory on the increasingly dire financial situation in Europe. The FXE (FXE) broke down past a crucial level of $130, and Cramer thinks a Great Recession in Europe is almost inevitable. While there will not be a Lehman-style bank crash, it is likely that major European banks will be nationalized. Cramer's strategy is to avoid giving up gains for the year by having a large cash position, holding high dividend stocks, REITs, utilities and best-of-breed stocks in other sectors.
Cramer took a call:
Dell (DELL) is challenged on the issue of hard drives and flooding in Thailand. While Cramer believes in CEO Michael Dell, "The headwinds are tough right now."
The biggest company in a sector is not necessarily the best. Transocean (RIG) is up only one point from its 52 week low in spite of the fact that it is the major player in offshore drilling, and everything points to demand for oil staying strong for the long-term. The stock is down 50% from its highs earlier in the year. RIG is the largest offshore driller, but Cramer thinks it happens to be the worst. Ensco (ESV), the second largest driller, is actually superior to RIG, with a strong balance sheet and a young fleet. The company poured a billion into buying new rigs since 1996, and is seeing results with less maintenance and shorter downtime per rig. ESV has enough cash left to make smart acquisitions. While ESV rigs are an average of 7 years old, RIG's rigs are an average of 16 years old. Maintenance costs on these old rigs are high, and money is lost on extended down time. RIG's balance sheet is in trouble, and it has had to make a dilutive offering of 26 million shares to pay its hefty 7.5% dividend, which it might have to cut anyway. Cramer called RIG "Just one rung above junk." It sells at a multiple of 12 compared to ESV's multiple of 8. While ESV's dividend is much lower, at 2.9%, RIG will most likely end up having to cut its dividend by as much as 50%, so even yield is not a reason to buy RIG instead of Ensco.
Cramer took a call:
CEO Interview: Steve Sadove, Saks (SKS)
Cramer talked to Saks (SKS) CEO Steve Sadove about pre-holiday sales and the state of the high-end retailer in general. Sadove says holiday sales "have been going well" and were up 9% for November. Popular items include shoes, handbags, jewelry (accessories in general), men's clothing and women's sportswear. Sadove thinks spending is strong because, in spite of economic worries, "The customer is feeling reasonably good about their personal situation." Sadove sees long-term growth over time with higher operating margins. Saks has been pruning back stores, seven so far, while putting up more discount outfits. Saks is opening a new store in Puerto Rico, but Sadove made the point that Saks doesn't need to open a lot of stores, especially with the internet business growing. The company is investing in its New York City flagship Saks store, which generates 20% of its business; "We want to make this the best store in the world."
Off the Charts, Oil Services HOLDRs (OIH)
There could be a serious bottom in the oil service stocks, which should be much higher with crude oil over $100 a barrel. Oil rose $2 on Tuesday, but Oil Services HOLDRs (OIH) dropped by the same amount. Looking at the chart, a reverse head and shoulders pattern has been forming over the past 5 months, but the neckline has yet to be completed. A reverse head and shoulders pattern is almost always followed by a huge rally. The stock is at $115 and needs to reach $133 to complete the neckline; when this happens, the stock is likely to rally up to $165. However, if the OIH drops below $108, the bullish pattern will have been broken.
Cramer discussed why he parts ways with pure technical analysts. A typical technician would buy high, at $133, on the idea the rally is definitely going to happen, and sell low, at $108, when the pattern is broken. Cramer's strategy is to buy low and sell high. In any case, he prefers to buy individual stocks to the OIH, but thinks the sector is on its way up.
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.