Cramer on why he hates when analysts ‘throw in the towel’ on stocks

Investing


CNBC’s Jim Cramer actually gets worried when Wall Street analysts “throw in the towel” on given stocks for one reason or another.

“Why do these towel-throwers scare me? You might think it’s always a good thing when the bears surrender or the bulls lose patience, but if the stock market does take a downturn — by the way, there will always be a downturn eventually — there will be no upgrade cushions to stabilize things. The upgrades will have already happened,” the “Mad Money” host said. “If anything, these analysts who lack the intestinal fortitude are more likely to downgrade once we get slammed with that sell-off.”

Cramer started with the Sherwin-Williams, the large paint manufacturer that surprised the Street with its acquisition of competitor Valspar in 2016.

Initially, analysts were skeptical about the $11.3 billion deal due to worries that the housing market was peaking and construction was slowing.

But after the stock came back and rallied 40 percent, a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch analyst that had been negative on the paint maker gave Sherwin a double upgrade, to “buy” from “sell.”

Initially, the analyst cited Sherwin’s high valuation, acquisition of Valspar, potentially peaking margins and slowing volume as reasons to sell. But in his upgrade, he said that the stock’s valuation was still high, but the other concerns no longer held weight.

“Wait a second, so the acquisition’s now good, the margins aren’t peaking, there’s no slowing volume?” Cramer asked. “Put it all together and this upgrade is a genuine towel throw. It’s a total capitulation of the ‘I can’t take it anymore’ variety.”

The second “towel throw” Cramer noticed was Canaccord Genuity’s upgrade of Microsoft on Thursday. The firm cited Microsoft’s productivity, position in eSports, marketing and Azure cloud platform as factors that would contribute to the company’s success.

“When I read the report, it was almost written by Captain Obvious,” Cramer said. “The only thing they left out was CEO Satya Nadella’s cool black t-shirt look.”

One paragraph of the report told Cramer right away that this was a “towel throw” upgrade.

The analyst wrote, “We had hoped for a random correction in Microsoft shares or a correction in the overall stock market. Neither happened.”

Cramer hates upgrades like these because they don’t end up giving investors much value. Research that comes out after a major move in a stock or because a stock didn’t end up declining means investors probably already missed most of the gains, he said.

“While I’m not bearish on the overall market, I have to admit that when you see this kind of research, you know that you’re no longer early to a move. You are late,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Remember that, and remember that when we do go down, none of these towel-throwers will be able to make an impact with their upgrades. They’ve already happened. And that’s why these upgrades are a shame, not to mention a ridiculous waste of paper.”

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