Cramer's Mad Money - How To Play Friday's Employment Number (3/6/12)

Includes: CTAS, PNRA
by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Tuesday March 6.

Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS)

The employment number on Friday is expected to be good, since the last few numbers have been positive. How should investors play Friday's jobs number? Cintas Corporation (CTAS), the largest uniform rental company, with 37% market share, has 900,000 clients. Most of its exposure is to the U.S. market, so it is immune to the problems in Europe. The stock has risen 40% in 5 months, and only recently dipped 2%, to create a buying opportunity. CTAS provides a service for dropping off clean uniforms every week and picking up dirty ones. Its rentals are 71% of its business, with uniform sales making up 11%. It also has a small first-aid supply segment. The company beat earnings by 9 cents and reported a 7.9% increase in revenues, the greatest in 7 years. New accounts and more effective customer penetration was the cause of its strong quarter; if employment numbers continue to get stronger, the company should see a huge upside. Gross margins increased 60 basis points. The company has raised the dividend for 29 consecutive years, and even though it yields only 1.4%, that is due to the rise in its stock price. Cintas has made aggressive buybacks; the most recent one will take out 12% of the float. Cintas should see a pop on a strong employment number on Friday.

Pin the Tail On The Sell-Off

With the Dow declining 204 points, many speculated as to the reasons for the decline: Middle East tensions, Greece slipping again, gas prices going higher, earnings disappointments because of a stronger dollar and rising raw costs, or the fact that China's growth is on the precipice. Cramer thinks it is not too late for investors to get out of stocks they have been wanting to get rid of. Cramer is concerned that the crisis in the Middle East could escalate, with the result that oil and gas prices will skyrocket. The fact that the Greece issue hasn't been solved yet means a "wait and see" attitude about Europe that will still affect stocks. Earnings of domestic companies will be affected by all of these headwinds, including slowing growth in China. Under these conditions, Cramer recommended raising cash by taking some gains in "winner" stocks, because the decline may continue.

CEO Interview: Ronald Shaich, Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA)

Panera Bread (PNRA), which operates 1,500 locations, opened its first location in Manhattan. Panera has been a trusted name for high-quality, healthy, delicious food served in a comfortable environment. The stock has risen 220% since Cramer got behind it in 2008, but fell 7% on a quarter that was just in-line. CEO Ron Shaich discussed growth, which he sees as strong for the next 3 years. Many Panera locations now have drive-thrus, and 10% have table service. While other restaurant companies are concerned about rising gas prices, Shaich said higher prices at the pump have been good for PNRA, because people want to eat at convenient locations close to home or work and go to Panera. The company has made smart acquisitions of franchises and has a buyback program. The marketing strategy of loyalty cards has been successful, and PNRA is able to track its loyalty customers' preferences and market products directly to them. Shaich says he is not concerned about raw costs, especially since the price of wheat has come down. Cramer is bullish on Panera.


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