And the Oscar Goes to ... Bernanke
Investors looking to blame someone or something for the market’s midday dip were quick to point their collective fingers at Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve chairman’s congressional testimony wasn’t as positive as Wall Street had wanted, and that pushed down stocks. But Cramer on Tuesday was just as quick to remind these people that it was Bernanke who made the rally of the past few months possible.
“Without Bernanke's willingness to start the presses and do everything he could to create credit and stabilize the system,” Cramer said during Mad Money, “the [Caterpillars] of the world would never have been able to deliver much better than expected earnings despite much worse than expected sales.”
Cramer was alluding to Caterpillar beating Wall Street’s quarterly estimates today and guiding higher for the full year. Like many firms, CAT pared down to the essentials, laying off workers and cutting costs so they could make money even during the downturn. The company also mentioned that it saw signs of improvement in the world’s economies. No doubt that’s a bullish statement, and it was the reason CAT finished the day $2.81 higher, pulling the Dow with it.
But the man formerly known pejoratively as Uncle Ben on Mad Money answers to a higher authority, namely the Obama administration and the very Congress in front of which he was testifying. So there was no way he could tell Capitol Hill that the economic and market outlooks were good after giving US banks billions of dollars in bailout money. Such a move would have set off a witch-hunt on par with Senator Joseph McCarthy’s search for Communists during the 1950s, Cramer said. And it would have meant the end of the federal money that’s fueling our recovery.
Investors listening to Bernanke today might have thought that the Eatons , PPGs and Freeport-McMoRans had already peaked, and that this was Caterpillar’s last good quarter rather than the last bad one, which is what Cramer believes. But the Mad Money host doubted that was the case. Now that these companies are lean and mean, they can make even more money once the economy stabilizes, and that seems to be where we’re headed.
“I need you to ignore the man in front of the curtain,” Cramer said of Bernanke. “I’m not buying into his negativity.”
“While Bernanke doesn’t want to say it,” the Mad Money host continued, “happy days will eventually be here again.”
Cramer's charitable trust owns PPG Industries.
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