Cramer's Mad Money - The Gatsby Index (2/25/13)

by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Monday February 25.

The Gatsby Index: Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU), Whole Foods (WFM), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Panera (NASDAQ:PNRA). Other stocks mentioned: Coach (COH), Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), Roundy's (NYSE:RNDY), Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX)

As the author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "The rich are different than you and me." Cramer feels, based on the performance of high-end stocks, that the very wealthy do not cut down on spending, like the middle class do, when consumer confidence dives. He put together "The Gatsby Index" of stocks that measure the movement of the high-end sector: Ralph Lauren (RL), Nordstrom (JWN), Michael Kors (KORS), Lululemon (LULU), Whole Foods (WFM), Starbucks (SBUX), Panera (PNRA). He told viewers that he doesn't necessarily recommend buying the stocks, but to follow them as an indication of how the sector is moving. Cramer didn't include Coach (COH) or Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), because sentiment is against COH right now because of the perception that its brand is not as strong as it once was, and CMG reported a few disappointing quarters.

Nordstrom's (JWN) management said it saw no signs of weakness in consumer spending. The company beat earnings estimates by 6 cents, with same store sales up 6.3%. The company raised guidance and is expanding its store count, with 24 new openings expected for this year. JWN is benefiting from an increase in sales made by customers using mobile phones.

Ralph Lauren (RL) is doing well, even though its stock isn't reflecting its recent success; the company beat earnings by 22 cents.

Lululemon (LULU) is a powerful growth story, because it is marketing a lifestyle, based on yoga apparel and accessories. The company could potentially double its store count without becoming saturated. The stock has pulled back 13 points, and while its performance has been mixed, Cramer thinks LULU will turn around.

Michael Kors (KORS) blew away earnings with a 21 cent earnings beat and revenues that rose 17%. KORS is increasing its store count by 20%. Same store sales have been remarkable.

Panera (PNRA) is a healthy restaurant chain that inspires customer loyalty. The company has shown that it can raise prices without losing business. Same store sales rose by 5%, and it is expanding at a rate of 8% per year. Earnings per share grew 27%, and it trades at a multiple of 19.4 while its growth rate is in the high teens.

Starbucks (SBUX) is one of the best-run, most consistent companies, and is benefiting from the rise of the middle class in emerging markets. Same store sales were up 6%, and it is performing well in every region except Europe. SBUX reaffirmed its guidance.

Whole Foods (WFM) is the largest retailer of natural and organic items. The company reported a disappointing quarter on February 13, and although it beat The Street's estimates by a penny, it was considered a low quality beat on lower than expected costs. Same store sales were at 7.2%, when The Street expected 7.7%, and since then, the stock has drifted lower, mainly because it reaffirmed guidance rather than raising it. The chart is not a thing of beauty, and WFM might have further to fall. Cramer called WFM "The Achilles' Heel of the Gatsby Index."

Cramer took some calls:

Roundy's (RNDY) is a stock Cramer admitted he should not have recommended, because he believed business was better than it actually was.

Crocs (CROX) is strictly a speculative play, and is for investors who understand that it is volatile.

Don't Panic. Stock discussed: Masco (NYSE:MAS)

With the Dow declining 216 points, the most severe drop in 3 months, Cramer cautioned viewers not to panic and to remember to use declines as buying opportunities and rallies as chances to lighten up on stocks that aren't working. Last week, there were two selloffs, one because of anxieties that the Fed might raise rates, high oil prices and rising payroll taxes. The other selloff was prompted by renewed worries about China and Europe. However, Cramer noted that stocks rebounded quickly after these selloffs; this is a good sign of the general health of the market; "There are always better opportunities to sell than in the teeth of a selloff," he said. He reminded viewers, "No one made a dime by panicking." It isn't enough for investors to think that buying or selling just "feels right," since sentiment can easily shift.

Cramer took a call:

Masco (MAS) is a stock that rose and came back down. Cramer would buy it on weakness, because he believes that the housing rebound is in its early innings. At $17, Masco is a buy.

Why Is Gas So Expensive? Core Labs (NYSE:CLB), National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Cummins (NYSE:CMI), Trinity (NYSE:TRN)

Why are prices still so high at the pump when the U.S. is experiencing a drilling boom? One answer could be speculation, and possible manipulation. Another contributing factor is the decrease of production in Saudi Arabia. However, the drilling rate in the U.S. is increasing drilling dramatically, thanks to new finds, stellar shale assets held by companies like EOG Resources (EOG) and improved technology developed by Core Labs (CLB), National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and Halliburton (HAL). The main problem is that the oil and gas cannot be transported efficiently enough, and the government scrapping the plans for the Keystone Pipeline contributed enormously to the problem. In addition, the Jones Act does permit only American crews and American ships to be used for transporting oil and gas between two domestic ports. It is unlikely that unions will allow this law to be repealed. While railroad companies like Trinity (TRN) are building more tanker cars, this development will take considerable time before any benefit is seen. Cummins (CMI) has developed a natural gas engine, and there may soon be converter kits to make it easier for a combination of diesel and natural gas to be used in cars, but there are not enough gas stations that offer the natural gas option. Until the U.S. government gets behind natural gas powered vehicles, permits the Keystone Pipeline to be built and the Saudis ramp up drilling, the problem of high fuel prices won't go away any time soon.


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