3 Words for Jim Cramer

I've got a red-hot icebreaker for you.

The next time you find yourself in a dwindling social situation, where it seems as if the conversation is running on fumes, just fling the following question into the mix:

"What do you think about Jim Cramer?"

It's as easy as that. Cramer is a polarizing figure. Some people love him. Some people hate him. Either way, everybody has an opinion on financial journalism's reigning rock star.

I'll confess to being entertained -- and on occasion enlightened -- by the Mad Money star. However, there is nothing I hate more than when Cramer opens up the phones to kick off the Mad Money Lightning Round.

In rat-a-tat-tat fashion, callers will swap boo-yahs and holler a ticker symbol Cramer's way. They'll get a snappy line or two in response, occasionally with a silly sound effect as an exclamation point.

It may be entertaining to watch, but it's the equivalent of nails against a chalkboard to me as an investor. After all, we're all looking for stock ideas. It's just not right to boil down due diligence to the ring of a cash register or a charging bull.

Every lightning round finds me with the same three-word plea that is never heeded by Cramer.

"Tell me more!"

Walk a short mile in Cramer's long shoes
Let's play a game. I'm going to pretend to be hosting Cramer's lightning round. And you're going to throw out the names of some of my favorite stocks. I'm going to splice out all of the ego-massaging banter and get right to the nitty-gritty one-liners.

Ready? Go.

  • Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) : There are 1.3 billion people in China, and they must be searching for something.
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) : Farewell, barista. Hello, K-Cups.
  • Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) : All we are saying is give Pre a chance. 
  • Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) : It's a long shot, but the jackpot is huge if it turns around.
  • Mosaic (NYSE: MOS  ) : Fertilize me, baby, and watch me grow.

Next caller?
Did any of that work for you? I hope not. It may be a worthwhile exercise to boil down a stock's buy thesis to a Cramer sound bite or a cocktail-napkin scribble, but you really need to know more than what five seconds of a talking head will tell you.

Baidu isn't just China's leading search engine. The company is sporting chunky margins, and analysts see earnings climbing 25% higher this year. Green Mountain Coffee is the company behind the Keurig machines that make premium home-brewed java, one cup at a time. The company sold 711,000 home brewers over the holidays, so demand for the company's K-Cup coffee refills will be huge in the near term. Palm was supposed to be the fading smartphone pioneer, but now it has a chance to regain its edge with this year's introduction of the head-turning Pre.

Las Vegas Sands has been pummeled, as most casino operators have been over the past year. However, analysts see the company returning to profitability next year. If even weaker players get snuffed out, survivors like Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN  ) will greatly benefit when gamblers come back. And Mosaic is a fertilizer maker selling at a single-digit earnings multiple. The global economic slowdown has merely paused the boom in developing nations like China that will continue to pump up demand for agricultural and livestock products. Players like Mosaic and PotashCorp (NYSE: POT  ) will be there to cash in.

You have to be hungry for more
Fleshing out snappy sound bites to a few sentences -- as I just did -- is better, but it's still not enough.

As a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers analyst team, I don't settle for bullet points. When I recommended Baidu and Green Mountain Coffee to subscribers of the growth-stock newsletter service, my advice came in the form of a thorough buy report, complete with financial data and dozens of exploratory observations. There was also a Q&A session with a fellow analyst.

Due diligence doesn't end there, of course. A vibrant community of analysts and subscribers continue to discuss the recommendations, with updates as the fundamentals change for the better or worse.

Does Mad Money do that? Of course not. It may be weeks, months, or even years before a stock is revisited during the show's lightning round. And, as you can expect, you'll be left hanging with the same three words.

Tell me more.

Whether you join me and my fellow analysts for a free trial in time for the next batch of monthly recommendations or not, never settle for less information than you deserve when the time comes to plunk down your hard-earned money on a stock.

You deserve better than that.

Boo-yah!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz realizes that wedding vows may take all of two words, but stock relationships need more. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Baidu and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters are  Motley Fool Rule Breakers   recommendations. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (31) | Recommend This Article (40)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 1:11 PM, pondee619 wrote:

    is the lightning round the only portion of the show you watch, or is it the only portion of the show upon which you comment?

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 3:14 PM, BillMallory wrote:

    When he backed down on the Obama statement he lost my attention.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 3:23 PM, catoismymotor wrote:

    I have four words for him: Sit Down Shut Up. Watching his show is like going to Chuck E. Cheese, just as noisy and nutritious.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 5:26 PM, DougH11 wrote:

    You do have to give credit to Cramer as a master of marketing....and Motley Fool isn't far behind.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 5:31 PM, tomd728 wrote:

    The Lightening Round is show biz !!!!!!!!

    "I don't know the stock beforehand etc.".......

    The rest you can take or leave but Cramer is a very smart guy and I can't think of another qualified stock picker who could deliver this schtick.

    He implores due diligence,begs the watchers to not buy in after hours,often puts entry prices if and when, and behooves to buy next week if you do.

    Easy to rap on......sure.Informative.....absolutely.

    Did I ever buy one of his recs.......twice and I had them on radar to begin with.

    It ain't all about recs.And I admit I can't take it every night.

    Tom

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 5:41 PM, portefeuille wrote:

    "Tell me more!"

    --------------------

    I would prefer "Shut up " followed by a word of your choice and "!".

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 9:19 PM, guitz wrote:

    Getting his opinion on things is one thing...using it as your sole deciding factor is another. He's a smart guy...viewers should be to. I love the show because it's the only one I can think of that makes the stock market seem entertaining!

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 9:37 PM, biglemon wrote:

    Cramey, "Off the Air",,, a good three words for him.

    During the hey day of the dotcom bubble 98' 99' , I foolishly subscribed to Cramers newletter, got pounded badly in the market following his rants.

    I wish I could find the email but Cramer had the audacity to send an email out to his subscribers saying verbatum. "What do you people think because you pay me I owe you my thoughts." Well yes you selfproclaimed Genius this is exactly why we pay you for competent advice.

    Cramer made a career out of giving empty advice, does he even invest his own money per what he recommends?

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 9:48 PM, swrussel wrote:

    Er...Cramer cannot trade on his own account.

    However, he trades for a charitable trust. The holdings of that trust are on line.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 9:59 PM, jesse2159 wrote:

    I'm sure Jim is a nice person, but is it really necessary to reduce investment discussions to a circus atmosphere? CNBC treats financial discussions in the evenings as if it's a day-time game show. The morning shows are informative and dignified. CNBC should remember that the viewers are not "be-tweens" with ADD. We don't need hype to keep our interest.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 10:30 PM, thomsonfamily wrote:

    I wonder did the Mortgage Lenders use Cramer's "Lighting Round" ideology in it's mortgage approval decisions? If people buy into the "haste makes waste" advice from financial planners & brokers.... no wonder it became a Global Recession. Cramer seems to get viewers 'hyped up" with this Lighting Round (a.k.a. marketing device for upping viewership) - that before you know it.... you're sold on a stock based on Cramer's hasty hype. I teach my kids - "if it sounds too good to be true..." type of advertising is 99.99% junk.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 10:31 PM, skyliner500 wrote:

    I like Cramer.

    I tivo Mad Money and watch the 8-10 minute intro everyday. Sometimes I watch the whole show, but mostly I value is wrap up of the day's market. He gives me a useful and bullish view of the day and it is one of the many tools that I use to try and get my head around the "big picture".

    In Real Money, the book he wrote and mentions every single show, Cramer teaches that all investor should not plan to "buy and hold" but rather to "buy and homework".

    He never, ever advises or recommends or even hints that anyone should buy any security on a "tip" which is exactly what the lightening round seems to be -- a fast and furious tip session.

    In fact, Cramer recommends that you should try to explain in great detail to someone else (start with yourself) exactly why you think that a stock is a buy (sell) and that you should routinely question your story and look for pitfalls and holes.

    So I think that Mad Money is kind of like wiskey. It's an acquired taste and it should only be used by adults, but for me it is a good thing.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 10:34 PM, Matt8265 wrote:

    When Cramer come on, the TV goes off. There are already too many axxclowns in the world.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2009, at 10:36 PM, Matt8265 wrote:

    Three Cramer words ... " I'm usually wrong".

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 6:52 AM, dividendnut wrote:

    A master at manipulating the market--to his advantage.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 7:09 AM, devilinside wrote:

    Cramers show reminds me of a carnival.

    "It walks it talks and crawls on it's belly like a reptile".

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 8:26 AM, wassercom wrote:

    At least Cramer doens't charge viewers for his recommendations...unlike the Motley Fool Rule Breakers.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 8:42 AM, phwill wrote:

    When I was first trying to learn about stock investing, Cramer's book was a useful source for the basics.

    His show is a different animal entirely. He does a poor job of defining risk and time horizon for his recommendations. Often, its difficult to figure out whether he's advising a trade or an investment.

    If you don't know better, the show is poison. He's a perma-bull, so it's good to get that side of the picture - but you have to expect that going in. His venom for shorts borders on irrational.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 9:39 AM, vetroy wrote:

    The program format is certainly something of discussion. It goes without saying that it may or may not appeal to you. I would not expect details in the short amount of time a 1 hour program provides.

    The responsibilty is always with the invester and Cramer makes it clear that you need to do your homework.

    But let's consider the most important thing.....the bottom line. Simply put, I wish I could make only a fraction of the gains from Motley info that I have made from Cramer info.

    Like anything else in life, you have to filter everything you see and hear.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 10:00 AM, skip2047 wrote:

    He's NOT trying to sell us somthing every time he speaks like the FOOL does Skip 2047

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 10:36 AM, McCrikey wrote:

    Three words: STOP THE MADNESS.

    Six words: STOP THE MADNESS, YOU STUPID #$@%8.

    Nine words: STOP THE MADNESS, YOU STUPID #$@%8. YOU'RE SPREADING IGNORANCE.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 12:43 PM, ednln wrote:

    Yes, Cramer is nothing but a blowhard and a TV presence trying to attract ratings. He lost all credibility when he was totally shredded by Jon Stewart, a comedian, regarding his continuing advocacy of Bear Stearns and other sins. See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6bxKAAHzQ

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2009, at 4:28 PM, ETMatyahoo wrote:

    "...but is it really necessary to reduce investment discussions to a circus atmosphere?"

    Nassim Taleb's books seem to suggest that humans really need that environment to take heed of things.

    What I'd like to see is the author of the 'Black Swan' and Mr. Cramer (who I enjoy too) appear on some hour-long show. Radio might work.

  • Report this Comment On May 30, 2009, at 12:51 PM, dragracerdad wrote:

    The Howard Stern of Financial InfoVision.

    People listen because they hate him.

    People listen because they love him.

    Ever notice that you never see Jim Cramer and Howard Stern at the same time? Thank God

  • Report this Comment On May 30, 2009, at 11:54 PM, awallejr wrote:

    The lightning round does have to go. It is dishonest to the show and the watchers. It is contrary to all the advice Cramer gives regarding investing. It is impossible for him to know the details of every stock he spews a buy or sell call on.

    Just replace it with more of his TA vs FA stock segments. Those segments are alot more informative and interesting.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2009, at 11:21 AM, jperkins123 wrote:

    I sure would like to get a response from "vetroy" and "awallejr". It seems there are two viewers here that think totally opposite.

    Vetroy is making money, ie "bottom line".

    Awallejr seems to think that one human being cannot follow all these stocks. What is TA or FA?

    Can you guys qualify these ideas?

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2009, at 11:08 AM, awallejr wrote:

    Technical analysis vs. fundamental analysis. He has been doing segments where he will discuss both regarding a particular stock. I find that segment far more entertaining and informative than random shouting 1 liners as to whether buy or sell literally 100s of stock calls per week.

  • Report this Comment On June 03, 2009, at 2:42 PM, latinpicker wrote:

    I'm not a big fan of Cramer; I'd even say his dangerous, particulary the diversification advice withouth any regard of the viewer personal situation (age, occupation; etc). But is just me or all this attacks to Cramer have greatly intensified since he started advertising his Foll competing blog more?

  • Report this Comment On June 04, 2009, at 9:24 AM, MD2003XLT wrote:

    I happen to like The Lighting Round and Am I Diversified for the same reason I browse this and many other sites. I hear stocks mentioned that I may not be familiar with and from there, I can do my own research to see if something fits into my own financial plan. Frankly, I have been “tipped” off to more profitable stocks [numbers of stocks that aroused an interest, not necessarily better or more profitable than other stocks] from Mad Money than any other single source but I have also had to do a considerable amount of due diligence to make my own decisions. I won’t entrust my money to anyone else’s recommendations any more, that’s why I no longer use a full service broker.

    I guess Cramer is a polarizing figure but if people can’t find information they can use from ANY source, then just go somewhere else. God knows there are more sources of information now than any other time in history so I say quit your bashing and complaining. No one put a gun to your head and said “you MUST do what I say." If you are so lazy or gullible that all it takes is a mention of a stock in the right context to have you buy it then you need to take your licks. Learn from those mistakes and move on to a better process that works for you. Or, you can pay someone to do it for you; Then at least you can blame someone else for your financial mistakes.

  • Report this Comment On June 04, 2009, at 4:54 PM, miself238 wrote:

    I THINK, THAT CRAMER IS EASY GOING, HE TELLS REAL THINGS IN EASY WAY, BUT HE IS ACCURATE, AND YOU CAN MAKE A LOTS OF MONEY, JUST LISTENING. WATCH THE SHOW AND MAKE YOUR IDEA.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2009, at 11:25 AM, paducah5102 wrote:

    There is a lot of information in the lightening round. It gives one his general estimation of the stock mentioned and reinforces or discourages further due diligence.

    You folks, MF, are just as guilty. You write up these blurbs and do so much commenting on certain things, but if one also feels the "tell me more," its off to the subscription. I often feel it is useless to read the articles. I can only afford one publication and I get sick of all the promotions.

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