Mad Money

Cramer: Five Stocks That Couldn't Fail – But Did

Needless to say people get scared and sell when the companies they thought would never fail start to fail. That’s why Cramer’s focused on capital preservation these days, and not the Next Big Stock.

Just look at AFLAC . Cramer called this one of the best-run firms in the world, especially considering the AFLAC’s extremely fair executive compensation models. But the company’s investment officers dumped billions into British bank hybrid bonds, something Morgan Stanley said was a big, big mistake. The news cost AFLAC a third of its market cap.

Cramer on the Markets

State Street , once one of Cramer’s favorite financials, invested billions in asset-backed securities whose value is shrinking by the day. Now, with the fundamentals so shaky, not even talk of a takeover can boost this stock. STT’s share price was cut in half Thursday.

SunTrust used to be another Cramer darling. This formally conservative regional bank, we now know, loaned money to people who couldn’t pay it back. So the dividend had to be slashed – by 84% – to compensate. Fifth Third took a hit, too. This Cincinnati-based outfit saw its stock reduced by a third today.

Then there’s stodgy, old Microsoft, the fastest-growing company in the world at one point, which is laying off 5,000 workers. Cramer hasn’t liked this stock in years, he said. And why would he, when Apple, IBM and Google are performing so much better?

These companies – AFLAC, State Street, Microsoft – were too conservative, too predictable to fail. So when they stumbled, the market reacted accordingly, which is why we lost 105 points on the Dow after such a big day on Wednesday.

That’s why the strategy right now is to hold onto your money. Diversify your holdings. Stay away from finance and technology. Buy recession-resistant companies, the food and drug stocks. And look for high dividend yields. As we said, Cramer wants you focused on capital preservation, not appreciation.

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