“We are in a customer-driven market,” Cramer said Wednesday. “Find out which customers are spending and you’ve got stock winners.”
Consider the home and housing-related stocks, Cramer said, which have easily been the best performing group yet this year. On this earning conference call Wednesday, homebuilder Lennar reported a 20 percent increase in orders. In turn, Lennar has to buy everything that goes into a house, like copper mined by Freeport-McMoRan , lumber harvested by Weyerhaeuser or kitchen cabinets made by Masco .
“Perhaps the pent-up demand for homes is finally surfacing-easy to believe considering that we're building homes at rate that's lower than when we had half as many people living in this country and we're not even building enough new ones to offset the natural home attrition which happens every year from fire, flood and other disasters,” Cramer said. “Sure, there's a big shadow inventory of existing homes, but how much does that really matter when a new house comes cheaper and costs less to maintain than a two or three or four bedroom rental.”
Housing is just of many areas where consumers are spending, Cramer said. The automakers are seeing an uptick, too. So if investors can determine where customers are buying, they may also be able to pick winning stocks.