Cramer's Mad Money - What The Presidential Debates Say About Stocks (10/4/12)

by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Thursday October 4.

What the Presidential Debate Says About Stocks: American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), Southern Company (NYSE:SO), Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), Exxon (NYSE:XOM), Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN), KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY), Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX), Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO), Dollar General (NYSE:DG), Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Vringo (VRNG)

With the Dow rising 81 points, partly due to a perceived victory for Mitt Romney in the debates, Cramer discussed what the candidates can tell us about stocks.

1. Cramer thinks investors who rushed to buy coal stocks on Mitt Romney's criticism of President Obama's draconian measures against coal were wrong-headed. They are not taking into account that coal stocks are more affected by demand in China, which is waning, than by EPA regulations in the U.S. Cramer would play a possible relaxation of coal regulations with American Electric Power (AEP), Southern Company (SO) and Union Pacific (UNP).

2. Romney took President Obama to task about the latter's plan to cut defense spending. Those who believe that Romney will win should consider buying General Dynamics (GD). Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NOC) are also buys. Also, a remark Romney made about Tesla Motors (TSLA) indicates how dependent the company is on the government. Cramer thinks Tesla is a good short.

3. President Obama criticized Exxon (XOM), and yet the stock rallied 52 cents following the debates. This demonstrates that Exxon might be bigger than a few remarks by the President. Romney discussed increasing drilling; Schlumberger (SLB) and National Oilwell Varco (NOV) would benefit from this development.

4. Both candidates discussed financial reforms. Cramer would stick with stable players like Wells Fargo (WFC), or community banks like U.S. Bancorp (USB), Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) or KeyCorp (KEY).

5. Romney said Obamacare will hurt small businesses. Paychex (PAYX) might be a buy on a Romney victory, but Cramer cautioned against shorting it on the belief that Obama will be re-elected, because it has a sizeable dividend.

6. Romney criticized the increase in the use of foodstamps. Family Dollar (FDO) and Dollar General (DG) generate significant revenue from foodstamp users, and those who feel a Republican Administration will make cutbacks should avoid these stocks.

7. One false assumption is that Obamacare is necessarily bad for Big Pharma and HMOs. Actually, many of these companies benefit from Obamacare, and Cramer would not automatically buy or sell these stocks based on the idea that Obama's policies will harm the sector.

8. No matter who wins the election, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) should not be bought.

While the above contain many investing ideas, Cramer emphasized that they are suggestions, and he discouraged wholesale gambling on an Obama or Romney victory. One should only buy stocks with strong fundamentals, and a potential to perform well no matter who wins. However, if one is deciding between two quality stocks and believes strongly that one particular candidate will win, then stock ideas from the debate might aid the decision making process.

Cramer took a call:

Vringo (VRNG) is too small a company to consider investing in.

CEO Interview: Al Monaco, Enbridge (NYSE:ENB)

With the price of oil spiking, partly due to the ongoing Middle East conflict, many in the U.S. are looking to the recent domestic oil finds as a way to achieve energy independence. Not only will putting these resources to use release the U.S. from OPEC, but during the Presidential debate, Mitt Romney said that the transition to energy independence would create a potential 4 million jobs. Al Monaco, who recently took the reins as CEO of Enbridge (ENB) does not think this figure is too high, and noted that his company has hired 2,500 additional people in the past year, and needs thousands more workers to complete the goals outlined in its 5 year plan.

Enbridge is a major pipeline player, has the longest pipeline in North America, and CEO Al Monaco says that there are ample potential reserves, but infrastructure is needed to transport the oil. In the company's recent Analysts Meeting, management said that in the U.S., there is "significant opposition to every kind of energy development," however, Al Monaco added that "we will work through that issue." ENB recently was confronted by the EPA because of a leak in its pipeline in Kalamazoo, MI. While pipes can burst and leak, Monaco says that the goal of zero leaks and spills can be achieved. He expects to maintain a 12% compounded growth rate over several years, and ENB has $18 billion in secured projects. The stock yields 2.8% and has risen 30% this year. Cramer got behind the stock a year ago and still likes it.

Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Boeing (NYSE:BA)

Jefferies and Cowen analysts gave conflicting ratings for Alliant Techsystems (ATK) on a red letter day for the company. ATK just signed a lucrative defense contract that could be worth $2 billion over the next ten years. While Jefferies gave its downgrade of ATK from Buy to Hold prior to this announcement, the analyst said the contract did not change his view, given the possible price reductions that ATK might need to implement and the fact it is levered to NASA, which might be facing cuts.

However, Cramer thinks Jefferies' bearish position would make more sense if ATK were trading at $61 rather than at $51. While ammunition is a weak industry, the stock has lagged behind its peers, and has fallen 23%. The new contract could mean a 20% upside for the company over the next 6 months, according to the Cowen analyst. In addition, ATK has a substantial buyback. Even if President Obama is re-elected and defense is cut, commercial ammunition sales are expected to increase ("This really happens, I'm not making this up," said Cramer). Cramer agrees with Cowen about ATK.

Boeing (BA) has been a frustrating stock to follow, but Cramer thinks it will report a strong quarter.

Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC)

Symantec (SYMC) is in the popular cyber security space, but the stock has been a laggard. Management overspent, was unable to grow revenues and was inflexible about change. SYMC has a more expensive cost structure than its peers and has had difficulty competing with larger companies. Cramer put the stock on the Sell Block after it fell from $19 to $13, thanks to poor management decisions. However, when Board member Steve Bennett took over as CEO, SYMC's future began to look brighter. Bennett grew sales from $1 billion to $2.7 billion and increased margins. He bought a significant number of shares, and saw the stock rise from $13 to $17. While SYMC faces a lot of problems, at least having a CEO willing to address them is half the battle. Cramer has released SYMC from the Sell Block. Its earnings report is October 24. He suggests buying the stock only on declines and building a position gradually.


Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS: Trade right alongside a Wall Street pro! Start your 14-day FREE trial today.

Get Cramer's Picks by email - it's free and takes only a few seconds to sign up.