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A Local Stock That Beat the Street

Wednesday, 4 Apr 2007 | 6:41 PM ET

Cramer isn’t going to come strolling into Hoosier country empty-handed. He’s bringing a stock pick that’s special for a couple of reasons – the first is that it’s based locally in Columbus, Ind., a mere 30 miles or so from IU’s campus. The second reason this stock is special is because Cramer thinks it could make you truckloads of money.

He says truckloads because the company makes truck engines. Cummins deserves a “triple Back-to-School buy,” Cramer says, even though it isn’t cheap at $144 per share. Even if you’re a student and can only afford a single share because the rest of your money is going to tuition, textbooks and the occasional beverage on the weekend, Cramer recommends buying CMI. He’s betting it’ll be worth your while.

Other than being a great stock, Cummins’ story is one that everyone - from first-year business students to Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe - should know and know well because it teaches one of the single most valuable lessons one can learn about stocks, according to Cramer.

Cummins
The single most valuable lesson you will ever learn about stocks



Wall Street is often, if not always, wrong, he says. If you listen to the analysts and don’t check what’s happening at the company and what the company is saying, you’re going to miss out on way too many opportunities.

Cummins exemplifies this tenet of Cramerica perfectly. It was a stock that nobody believed in – not the Wall Street moneymen, not even Cramer himself. All the research said the company, which primarily makes heavy-duty diesel engines as well as emissions-control systems and power generators, was hopeless. New emissions standards were going to kick in, making 2006 the last year to buy “dirty engines.” This meant, to the analysts, that all the orders Cummins processed were front-loaded and borrowed, and ’07 would be an absolutely terrible year for the company. In addition, truck sales in America have been weak, and the Street assumed that would mean even weaker engine sales for Cummins.

Cramer isn’t disassociating himself from the pack here. In fact, he’s even more to blame than the analysts. At least they came up with their own reasoning for why Cummins was to be avoided – Cramer just listened to them. He didn’t do his homework. Wall Street analysts are supposed to have a lot of credibility, but they were way off here, Cramer says.

Cummins beat the expectations by implementing manufacturing changes in emissions during the back half of ’06 that should make for big improvements starting around now. In addition, the theory that weak American truck sales equals weak numbers for Cummins turned out to be wrong, too. The analysts didn’t take into account the rest of the world – especially Mexico – whose orders saved the company.

So when the company delivered much better than expected guidance for 2007 and said they were expecting more strength from the global trucking market, the analysts did nothing. This is an addendum to the lesson: Wall Street moneymen are stubborn to the point of stupidity, Cramer says. Right now, the stock has five sells, five holds and only one buy.

The Bear Stearns analyst who covers Cummins has had a sell on the stock since it was at $72. It has now doubled, and he’s still saying sell.

But you don’t have to follow the lead of the analysts. When it’s obvious that Wall Street’s been beaten – this time by the Indiana heartland – don’t be too stubborn to change your mind. Cramer changed his.

Cummins Pt. 2
Cramer takes call on the most valuable lesson you will ever learn about stocks

Bottom Line: Cummins has beaten the Street one time too many. Cramer recommends buying this stock, even if it's only one share, because he thinks it could go higher.

But wait, Cramer came all the way to Indiana, and he's not about to end the segment without hearing from some Hoosiers.


Mari from California has a question about Steel Dynamics . Another Indiana-based company, STLD is up nearly 100% since October. Mari wants to know what their secret is, and if it's too late to get in.

Cramer says the company is incredibly well run, but he thinks it doesn't trade actively enough. It's a little too high for him to recommend it, but it is a great American company, he says, and he just wishes he got to it sooner.

Indiana native Bernard says he's in a house of pain with Finish Line . He wants to know what this shoe retailer needs to do to turn around.

Cramer made a mistake on this one, too, when he recommended it a long time ago. He didn't realize how competitive the shoe business is, and says if he had it to do over again he would have recommended DSW. FINL is well run, he says, they just happen to be in a "very tough category."

Questions? Comments? madmoney@cnbc.com

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CMI
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FINL
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