As it turns out, the rich really are different from the rest of us. And you can profit from them.
Earlier this year, Jim Cramer introduced something he calls the Gatsby Index, a composite of 13 stocks that he believes can be used to track sentiment among the affluent. These are stocks of companies that make or sell things to the wealthy or those aspiring to become wealthy.
The stocks include the high-end food plays—Whole Foods (WFM), Starbucks (SBUX), and Panera (PNRA); upscale department stores Nordstroms (JWN) and Saks (SKS); specialty retail Michael Kors (KORS), Lululemon (LULU), Ralph Lauren (RL), Coach (COH) and Tiffany's (TIF); cosmetic bellwether Estee Lauder (EL); boat company Brunswick (BC)—which also sells billiard tables, fitness equipment and bowling equipment; and Toll Brothers (TOL) , a high end home builder.
If returns since February 25th, when Cramer first introduced the Gatsby index, are any indication, it seems the rich feel pretty good. "Not only is it killing the averages, it's generating almost double the return," Cramer said.
But what the Gatsby Index has done is neither here nor there. What matters now is that Cramer thinks the outperformance speaks to the state of the market and could signal which stocks continue to perform well in the days to come.
Following are some of the individual components of the Gatsby Index as well as Cramer's insights.
Michael Kors is the maker of high-end accessories, Cramer explained. "And the company reported an outstanding quarter with plus 30% comparables. That's staggering." Although the stock has already advanced considerably, Cramer expects gains to continue. "I don't think it's stopping here."
"People were fretting big-time over Lululemon's recall because of quality concerns," Cramer said. "But I think the move said the company refuses to sell an inferior product. As a result, I think they can raise prices."
In the latest Whole Foods earnings report, "we saw the company's true colors," Cramer said. The company beat on earnings and raised its outlook." When the rich get richer they don't go to Safeway or Kroger."
Cramer cited a blow-out quarter reported by Tiffany on Tuesday as a touchstone for the stock and the wealthy consumer. "Those sales were definitely not hurt by the increase in the payroll tax or even the gigantic hike in the ordinary income taxes," he said.
Cramer thinks 'a strong new line of moderate to expensive footwear' has driven Coach out of a slump. "Coach represents value now for the rich and they do, occasionally stoop to value," Cramer said
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It's worth noting that not all the companies in the index wowed Cramer. The Mad Money host was less than impressed by the performance in Ralph Lauren, Toll Brothers and Brunswick.
Nonetheless, he thinks overall results speak volumes about the affluent and investable trends underway right now.
"If the rich weren't dinged during this period of much higher taxes and much lower returns on savings, perhaps they just won't be," Cramer concluded. "That's why I suspect that this index's outperformance will continue, perhaps for the rest of 2013."
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