Financial theater's rock star is once again in Barron's crosshairs.
The weekly financial publication is ripping into Jim Cramer, leaning on research that suggests that his picks on CNBC's Mad Money are losing to an already sinking market.
"Cramer's recommendations underperform the market by most measures," Bill Alpert writes. "From May to December of last year, for example, the market lost about 30%. Heeding Cramer's Buys and Sells would have added another five percentage points to that loss."
Accusations are bound to fly, of course. Now that News Corp.
Or so the conspiracy theory goes.
In reality, no financial celebrity should be allowed to pontificate unchecked. I've ripped into Cramer in the past, given his zigzagging swings on Intuitive Surgical
Some would suggest that I also have an ax to grind. Fool.com competes with Cramer's TheStreet.com
What would conspiracy theorists suggest, that no financial site or publication dare to question Cramer's track record on his fast-paced show? Does anyone really want him to be an unquestioned celebrity?
I don't expect anyone, Cramer included, to beat the market consistently. I am part of the analyst team for Rule Breakers, and we too got pounded in 2008. Accountability is important, and I think investors will learn more in down years than they ever will when everything is rising. However, when you put out a book called Watch TV, Get Rich you better darn well get used to the idea of scrutiny.
Me, I'm a fan of the Baron of Boo-yahs.
"Cramer is worth every penny," I wrote when he signed a contract extension with TheStreet.com last year. I won't always agree with what he says or the impulsive nature of dismissing due diligence for the sake of a lightning round, but I think his ambassadorial ways have helped make stock investing cool and interesting to mainstream audiences.
I rarely watch his show, though. In fact, I have never sat through an entire episode. That will change this week. I'm going to watch Mad Money every day this week. I'll be back the next morning, praising him when he's right and calling him out when he's wrong.
I don't for a second believe that I'm better than Cramer. I just think that his audience deserves a second opinion.
Bring it on, Jimbo.
Other Cramerica tales:
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Cramer and even read his autobiography a few years ago. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Intuitive Surgical. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.