Which stocks should be in Santa’s sack?
Up on the housetop reindeer pause. Out jumps good old Santa Claus. Down through the chimney with lots of stocks. They're the kind of gift that really rocks.
We know that's not exactly how the song goes, but maybe it should.
Cramer thinks stocks make fantastic holiday presents. Not only could they spark interest in the market but they should retain or increase in value over time. May we remind that toys, games, skates and bikes tend to depreciate.
If you share Cramer's enthusiasm for stocks, either as gifts or otherwise, following you'll find a list of stocks that the Mad Money host thinks are buyable now for the long-term.
Cramer will be introducing new stocks every day through Friday December 20th. Check back again for the complete list.
Cramer thinks many pros are still very skeptical of Apple and he believes that skepticism creates opportunity.
"I think the stock is ridiculously cheap, and if you buy it around $550, you're still benefiting from low expectations—too low in my opinion," Cramer said. "Apple's got a terrific product lineup right now, with fabulous demand for the iPhone 5S and 5C, not to mention the iPad mini with retina display or the iPad air, all of which sport an excellent new operating system and the software is way ahead of the competition. Taken together, I think these products could give the company's sales a really nice boost."
Also Cramer believes that margins will start to stabilize, another bullish catalyst and he expects the company will complete a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest wireless provider.
And "on top of that, it offers a decent dividend and it's got the biggest buyback on Earth."
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"Now, before you start thinking that I'm crazy for recommending Caterpillar which is negative year to date, you should know that one of the main reasons I like Caterpillar is that the stock is so hated," Cramer said.
That is expectations are so low and so many negatives are baked into the stock, Cramer doesn't think it will trade a whole lot lower.
However, if Caterpillar can perform relatively better next year, he thinks the upside is substantial. And Cramer doesn't think it will take much to perform relatively better.
"Going into next year, not much has to go right for CAT to earn $6 per share," Cramer said. If the company can rack up 6 to 7% growth in its construction and power systems segments and if CAT can simply contain the declines in its Resources division then I think the company can hit earn that $6 per share earnings figure. If that happens I see the stock propelling higher."
Also Cramer added that Caterpillar has slashed costs. "In the first nine months of this year, CAT cut operating costs by $5 billion, a 12% reduction," he said. Cramer says that too, should help ignite some enthusiasm on the Street.
Although the entire tech sector is busting with opportunity, Cramer likes Ciena because it's pegged to a technology trend that he thinks is unbeatable – the cloud.
"As more and more people and companies migrate their data and applications to the cloud, they need a lot more infrastructure to allow their employees to connect," Cramer explained. "That's where Ciena comes in. It's a network equipment maker."
And around $22 Cramer thinks the stock is relatively inexpensive. "At that price, I view Ciena as a stock with great long-term potential that trades at a discount."
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Another play on the future of technology, Cramer likes Xilinx because the semi-conductor chips that it makes can be used by a wide range of clients.
"They make what are known as programmable logic devices or PLDs—these are chips that can be programmed and customized for each customer as needed, very different from your typical semiconductor, where the functionality is built-in and can't be changed," Cramer explained
"Because you can change the programming on Xilinx chips, it makes them much cheaper than the competition from traditional semiconductor, hence why these PLDs are critical for a host of sectors, including communications, data processing, industrial, consumer, and autos."
Cramer sees potential galore.
"Xilinx benefits from the telco infrastructure spending. It wins from the transition to smaller 28 nanometer chips as well as the global build-out of 4G LTE wireless networks, especially in China."
Cramer sees Google not only as an industry goliath but also as an aggressive growth company that's inexpensive – a rare combination.
"Google is the sultan of the Internet search business, responsible for 60% of all searches around the globe—not only do they control more than half the market, but that 60% figure is more than five times bigger than Google's next closest competitor," Cramer said. "Get this: 40% of all online advertising revenue in the United States goes to Google."
However, Google isn't resting on it laurels. Google is also actively maneuvering itself into "the sweet spot of mobile, social and the cloud," something Cramer calls the triumvirate of new media.
And Cramer believes Google's industry advantage isn't priced into the stock.
"Google is growing like a weed yet it's cheap. Yes, this $1072 stock is cheap. Google trades at barely more than 20 times next year's earnings estimates, with a 16% long-term growth rate."
"Compare that to Facebook, which sells for 48 times next year's earnings estimates with 30% growth," and you'll see that Google is cheap with a capital C.
#8 Bank of America
Although banks in general, and Bank of America in particular, have been relatively unappreciated by Wall Street, Cramer thinks that's about to change.
First, "banks are one of the few groups that actually benefit as interest rates rise," Cramer said. So if and when the Fed tapers, this stock stands to benefit.
However, in the case of Bank of America, "it's one of the biggest banks in the country, with lending exposure to everybody from the consumer, to small business and large enterprises," Cramer noted. Therefore as the economy improves BofA has multiple ways in which to leverage the improvements.
In addition, Cramer likes that Bank of America has been cutting costs. "Expenses were down 1% sequentially in the latest quarter, and management predicts another $1.6 billion in cost cuts by the end of 2014," he said.
"Plus, the company still has $3 billion left in its buyback authorization, and I think that could get raised."
To make the stock all the more attractive, Cramer doesn't think all these tailwinds are baked into the price. "Bank of America trades at just 1.1 times its tangible book value—that's much less than, say, Wells Fargo, which trades at 1.9 times tangible book. I could easily see this stock heading to $20 in the not too distant future, a 33% gain from these levels."
#9 Johnson Controls
Jim Cramer called Johnson Controls a turnaround story and a bet on new CEO, Alex Molinaroli, who just took the helm at the beginning of October.
"In recent meetings he's signaled to investors that there will be changes at the company—specifically, he wants Johnson Controls to become a more diversified, global, multi-industrial leader with better capital allocation and less dependence on the auto market," Cramer said.
Cramer thinks the company could be about to embark on either a restructuring program or a spin-off, either of which would unlock shareholder value.
In addition, as a maker of auto parts, Cramer sees Johnson Controls as a long-term bet on global recovery. And he added, "Just last month the company boosted its dividend by 16%, bringing the yield up to a not too shabby 1.7% and they also announced a $3 billion increase to the buyback—pretty serious for a $34 billion company."
All told, Cramer believes Johnson Controls is in the beginning of "a multi-year turnaround leading to more consistent earnings and a higher multiple for the stock."
#10 - GE
In the near-term Jim Cramer thinks shares could advance as GE shifts its focus back to its core industrial business and away from its banking business, an area that burned the conglomerate during the downturn. As the transition accelerates, Cramer believes the market will reward the stock with a higher multiple, in part because it stands to benefit "as the global economy picks up speed."
And over the long-term, Cramer sees many other bullish catalysts too. "With a $229 billion backlog, I think the company can get its revenue growth up into the mid-single digits, which would be huge for GE's earnings," Cramer said "On top of that, management has some pretty aggressive cost cutting initiatives going. Also GE just boosted its dividend by 16% on Friday and the company already has a $10 billion buyback underway, and I could see that expanding over time, too, as the cash flow rises," Cramer said.
(Check back tomorrow for two more names that made Cramer's 'nice' list.)