I admit it: I enjoy watching Jim Cramer's Mad Money on CNBC. Hey, it's a very entertaining show -- something you can't say about most financial- or investing-related programs.
His frenetic style doesn't always make for my idea of good TV, but you have to hand it to someone who can get so many Americans excited about investing and our public markets.
Here comes the "but" ...
But I find myself constantly disagreeing with a great many of his picks. Maybe I'm just an anarchist tourist in what he likes to call Cramerica -- the self-proclaimed "new land of booyah" where stock picking is "driven by logic and common sense!"
For months now, though, Cramer's been all about a stock I own. On this stock, I agree with his bullish assessment -- perhaps because a part of me feels vindicated that somebody is touting it on TV (and in a loud and flamboyant manner!).
You know what, though? I don't really care whether Cramer loves it or says to sell it tomorrow.
Cramer loves my stock, and I don't care. If Cramer hated this same stock, I wouldn't care much, either, other than to test his bearish perspective against my bullish thesis. As a believer in patient, long-term investing -- in businesses that I understand and believe in -- the short-term-focused sentiment of TV personalities doesn't affect my buy/sell/hold rationale.
What's that company?
The company in question is Urban Outfitters
So while Cramer shuns retailers Kohl's
Like I said, hey, that's cool. And of course it's fun to watch his antics on Mad Money; I have vivid and fond memories of Cramer throwing a bucket of popcorn at a picture of Blockbuster's
And when it comes to Urban Outfitters, I've walked the talk of being a true long-term investor, which is anything but mercurial. I've had my eye on that fascinating company and stock since 2004.
Since then, I've often touted the retailer's strengths, and I bought some shares in early 2006 for about $27. Cramer picked it too. Then every investor's biggest fear happened -- the retailer made some fashion missteps, and the stock got brutalized. Many investors -- Cramer included -- left it for dead.
Sell, sell, sell? No, no, no
I held tight to my shares. I believed in the company's smart management team (which boasts high levels of insider ownership); its collection of individualistic brands developed with a passionate, almost sociological zealotry about customers; and the growth strategy that relies on dreaming up new concepts, rather than expanding on existing successes.
Add in its history of solid earnings and sizzling sales, as well as expansion with cash on hand, and I felt this was a long-term winner, even through its major downer period. In fact, back when I picked up shares, it was finally cheap. It wasn't always easy during the period when pessimism ran so high, but now, having held on, my shares are up about 18% as of this writing. If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't buy more when the stock price fell into the teens.
Think differently -- think long-term
Unless I see signs that Urban Outfitters is losing its authenticity or its competitive strengths, I intend to hold on for years. Dismayed as I was during the tough times, I never stopped believing it was a good company, even when it was hitting its lows. And that's why I don't really care what Jim Cramer says about it now.
I don't mean to single out Cramer. If you told me any other TV personality loved or hated my stock, I'd have the same reaction, because I'm looking for solid, long-term companies to buy and hold -- not short-term trades to buy or sell at any change in news or perception.
That philosophy has been practiced by investing legends Warren Buffett and Philip Fisher, and it worked out pretty well for them. Manic trading based on a short-term perspective seems a bit like reading tea leaves to me.
Foolish final thoughts
When I bought Urban Outfitters, I felt like I'd found a solid company -- with a competitive advantage, strong balance sheet, and passionate, invested managers -- trading for an attractive price.
That's the kind of company to hold for the long run, even if nationally known media outlets take a contrary position. In the market, after all, disagreement and debate can only help you make better, more informed decisions.
That's our tack at Motley Fool Stock Advisor, where Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner recommend two stocks a month. We encourage dissension, debate, and, most of all, long-term buy-to-hold investing. Thus far, Stock Advisor is beating the S&P 500 by 35 percentage points since inception five years ago. If you need a few stock ideas and want to join our growing community, we offer a 30-day free trial with no obligation to subscribe. Click here for more info.
Alyce Lomax owns shares of Urban Outfitters. Costco is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Wal-Mart is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy, which has a no-throwing-chairs policy and a no-biting-off-toys'-heads policy.