The Obama administration and his allies on Capitol Hill are working hard to push a number of policies through Congress. Cap-and-trade, health care and now immigration reform are all priorities for number 44, and it’s this latest initiative that gave Cramer the idea for his newest stock pick.
The Mad Money host hasn’t been a big fan of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He thinks her meddlesome hands have shaped Obama’s agenda into something less than friendly toward US businesses. He certainly didn’t like the way she turned the much-needed stimulus bill, one that was supposed to create jobs, into a pastiche of handouts to state and local governments. But if Pelosi leads the Democrats in passing comprehensive immigration legislation, she might actually help stocks this time rather than hurt them.
So who benefits if the 12 million illegals now living in the US are offered a path to citizenship? Western Union , the money-transfer company of choice for people who send cash back to relatives in their home countries. And if we see the recovery that Wall Street expects in late 2009 and beyond, that will generate even more business.
Investors may assume that Western Union suffers during a recession, and there’s no doubt that a strong economy is better for this company’s earnings, but the second quarter reported Tuesday was “decent,” Cramer said. WU played middleman to $16 billion in consumer-to-consumer cross-border remittances, and transactions were up 3%. Apparently, immigrants are sending money home recession or not.
Once that recovery happens, Western Union will be a much stronger company than it was before the downturn. Big-time competitor Moneygram International is all but out of the picture, Western acquired FEXCO’s money-transfer business in February, and an agreement was reached to buy Custom House, a leading international business-to-business payments provider. There are also newly signed partnerships with US Bank, a US Bancorp subsidiary, as well as Fifth Third . And Western Union is making a bigger push into Europe and China.
All the pieces seem to be in place for Western Union to make a good recovery of its own, and that’s why Cramer thinks this stock is a buy.
“When you hear Nancy Pelosi or President Obama talk about immigration reform,” Cramer said, “don’t think political. Think ‘buy Western Union,’ the uncontested king of the remittance market that’s also a terrific play on a global economic rebound.”
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