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Cramer Decodes Topsy-Turvy Stock Reactions

Thursday, 16 Aug 2012 | 6:15 PM ET
Jim Cramer
Jim Cramer

A positive reaction to negative earnings, and vice-versa, takes a bit of explanation, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said Thursday.

“First and most visible today are the two Dow stocks, Wal-Mart and Cisco, that glaringly call for immediate analysis,” he said. “If you saw the action in Wal-Mart today, down $2.30, you might have thought that the Bentonville colossus blew up, that it missed the numbers by a mile and then gave a miserable outlook. No, not at all. Wal-Mart beat the estimates nicely and guided higher. To me the quarter was exactly what you would have expected from the biggest retailer in the world.”

Cramer said that’s exactly what went wrong: Wal-Mart hit its targets “and not one penny more.”

On the other hand, there’s Cisco.

What's Really Moving the Market
The Street's expectations on quarterly earnings has played a huge role in how stocks move, Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

Positive results for the technology company meant its share price jumped 9.6 percent.

“We’re used to Cisco merely doing the number and then giving us disappointing guidance, often really disappointing,” he said. “This unexpectedly downbeat attitude and outlook had become the expected, so when Cisco’s CEO John Chambers didn’t guide down but was actually quite rosy, it was a shocker.”

For some real surprises, Cramer suggested looking at Sears Holdings.

The retailer reported negative same-store sales, but here’s the kicker: Its gross margins actually grew.

“I know you were probably flabbergasted that still one more negative same-store sales number could produce an upside explosion, especially when Wal-Mart got hammered on positive numbers, but think of Sears as a company in a coma that suddenly opened its eyes and moved its arms and legs,” he added.

There’s also NetApp, a tech play whose stock jumped $1.20 on lowered expectations.

“But NetApp lowered less than people expected them to lower,” Cramer said.

Yet there were still some names that would appear to make perfect sense.

One example is Home Depot, which reported a strong quarter and said that housing spending had finally increased.

“That stunned the market, and the stock’s been up for several days, as it’s dawned on people that the long national housing nightmare is truly over,” he said.

“The market’s not nuts, although you may need a nut to make sense of it. When companies awake from comas with smiles on their faces, we sit up and take notice,” Cramer added. “When healthy companies report healthy numbers, we yawn or perhaps even do some selling.”

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