16 June 2008

Jim Cramer Contrary Indicator for Financials

Is Cramer's new column in New York magazine a contrary indicator for the financials? No, not a magazine cover indicator, since it's Hillary's mug, not Jim's on the cover of the current issue.

Is his sky-is-falling lament about massive I-bank layoffs and wilting profits mean it's time to give the financials some serious consideration?

As if all that weren't bad enough, news came last week that Lehman Brothers is fighting for its corporate life. As someone who has great respect for Lehman CEO Dick Fuld, I'm stunned at the size of the reported $2.8 billion loss for the quarter just finished, especially considering how confident the company was about its prospects for that quarter a couple of months ago. They just raised $6 billion in capital at what I thought were fire-sale prices, but immediately the stock went below the $28 offering price, even though that figure already represented a hefty discount versus the previous week's price. The people who bought into this deal have to feel like they just leased an apartment in Dresden after the first 400 bombers hit, not realizing that there were another 900 behind them.

Back in April, Cramer seemed almost-optimistic about Lehman Brothers. Guess he changed his mind...again, and thought invoking the late-WWII firebombing of Dresden would really bring the point home.

After Cramer's big bad boo-boo of a call on Bear Stearns, he seems to be all over the place regarding the financials, often describing the sector's rough action while at the same time, looking for a bottom.

The awfully drab chart of XLF below does show signs that we have seen a double-bottom, with two tests of almost $22-per-share.

I can't say I pay all that much attention to Cramer's shtick anymore, but perhaps it's time to pay heed to his histrionics, and pick up some shares of XLF or UYG.

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