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.

  • E*TRADE (Nasdaq: ETFC  ) : That talking baby tells it like it is. Goo, goo, gah, gah, buy, buy.
  • MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI  ) : Just say "si" to Latin America's eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) .  
  • Ancestry.com (Nasdaq: ACOM  ) : How do you turn a family tree into a money tree? Just ask Ancestry.com.
  • Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) : Stern or no Stern come 2010, this stock is a buy-buy-booey. Premium radio is the future.  

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.

E*TRADE still has a few mortgage portfolio demons to shake off, but its discount brokerage business continues to take baby steps forward. If sector consolidation doesn't find shareholders cashing out at a reasonable premium through a TD AMERITRADE (Nasdaq: AMTD  ) or Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW  ) buyout, the fundamentals will have to do it.

MercadoLibre may have many of the same components as eBay with its popular online marketplace and PayPal-esque financial platform, but the company is also on a growth tear. Revenue grew a whopping 47% in its latest quarter.

Ancestry.com is profiting from the natural curiosity to trace family roots. The site recently topped the million-subscriber mark. Even during last year's recession, revenue still managed to climb 14% higher.

Sirius XM Radio has resumed its winning ways, as subscriber growth is back on the menu despite the introduction over the past year of new fees and a proliferation of Internet radio-capable smartphones. Consumers have choices and they're choosing Sirius XM.

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 we recommended MercadoLibre to subscribers of the growth-stock newsletter service, our 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!

This article was first published May 28, 2009. It has been updated.

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. MercadoLibre is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Schwab and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (25)

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  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2010, at 4:42 PM, southernbeachguy wrote:

    Good Going RicK....... Cramer is a So-So Entertainer, not a Stock picker, I have taken his advice on 2 stocks and lost on both. I have gone against him on 3 stocks and made money. And you are totally right..... SIRUS is and will be for a long time, THE future of Radio. If you listen to Sirus for one week, you will never go back to terristral.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2010, at 5:36 PM, wildman7654 wrote:

    I like JIM Cramer.Sometimes hes right, sometimes he's wrong and some times hes very wrong.As far as sirius satellite radio, he's been wrong for over a year now.Dont worry though,after a few more gains, he'll have to relinquish that he was wrong.You dont have to call names and make fun of him for this to happen.When he comes around hes a better friend than not.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2010, at 7:16 PM, cantbefoolish wrote:

    The only real good piece of advice Cramer has given, is to start a position in a stock, with a small amount, and then buy in tiers if it goes down. But he often doesn't stick to his own rules. Like saying to buy SIRI high and sell low. Around this time last year, he panicked on BAC, as it got down to about $3, which is when I was loading up on it. He came on CNBC for his morning spot, and said to sell BAC, because he feared the whole 'banks being nationalized' thing. Then, after BAC nearly tripled from the low, he said to buy it. I also remember a time on the lightning round, when he said to a caller, "mark my words, U.S. Steel is going to $30". This was back in 2005, when (X) was around $35. So, it eventually went to $30 and below, last year, but not before going to almost $200. And like an idiot, I took his word, and sold most of it between, $35 and $40. That's why I would just stick to the system, and not make any sudden moves based on what he says. Also have some shorts in your portfolio, as a hedge to the downside.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2010, at 7:39 PM, ItAintCool wrote:

    wildman7654 wrote: As far as sirius satellite radio, he's been wrong for over a year now.Dont worry though,after a few more gains, he'll have to relinquish that he was wrong.

    Do you mean "relent" or "admit"? "Relinquish" means he would have to give up the idea that he was wrong. Which I wouldn't be surprised about because Jim always likes to rewrite history. Jim was very wrong about SIRI, even if he might say it's worth buying now. At least Rick predicted (like many of us) that SIRI would not declare bankruptcy in 2009. Cramer was spitting on SIRI's supposed dead carcass at .5 cents, instead of telling people to buy in and make a 2,000% return.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2010, at 11:38 PM, cajun021 wrote:

    the point of Cramer. when says buy that means sell when he says sell that means buy... If hes talking about a stock hes either shorting it or getting paid to bash/pump it. He is a pimp of stocks. plain and simple...

    "What? you dint make money fa me?! you betta get back an do a trick before b***hslap you!"

    any way you put it, a pimp is a pimp.

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2010, at 12:00 AM, BigVincent wrote:

    Everything Cramer has told me to do as a investor I have done the exact opposite. Done very well in the market place without him. I honestly think he has an agenda like any hedge fund. Get millions of small investors to purchase common stock, raise the share price, then the hedge comes in to take it all away. Where ever there is a buyer there is seller. Jim Cramer is the 2 face playing both sides of the field.

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2010, at 12:39 PM, scottgeiger wrote:

    If you make investment decisions based on a one-liner from Cramer (or anyone else for that matter) you are an IDIOT!

    Do you're homework, research, then research it again. Cramer is an entertainer, he can be amusing to watch and *might* give you some ideas to look at, but that's about it. For anyone who thinks otherwise, I got a great stock tip for you - just send me all your money and sit back and don't worry ;)

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2010, at 12:44 PM, jacat wrote:

    Cramer is a "pump & dump" operator and I'm surprised the SEC hasn't taken some action against the show. Investing is too serious a topic to dumb down by this dancing dunce. His "recommendations" are self serving and rarely pan out.

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2010, at 7:12 PM, SUPERMANSTOCKS wrote:

    I love MELI!

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