Jim Cramer has noticed a remarkable transformation in the market over the last few days. Investors are buying value.
That is, money is going to work in stocks that investors believe are, essentially, too cheap, if the economy is improving.
And in a market that's been hyper-focused on growth, the "Mad Money" host thinks the shift is remarkable.
"I think this value move may have some real legs," Cramer said. "The stocks that are attracting buyers are so much cheaper than the average equity that they could rally for days without running into any kind of ceiling."
What's likely to rally as value investors snap up bargains? The following stocks were on Jim Cramer's radar Tuesday March 25, 2014.
Looking at the valuation Cramer said there's no doubt Caterpillar is cheap relative to the market. "Right now, CAT's trading at about 14 times earnings estimates. That's much cheaper than the S&P 500, trading at 17.2 times earnings," Cramer explained.
Of course, the discount exists for a reason. Caterpillar had been facing serious business challenges. However, Cramer thinks the company's fortunes may be about to turn. "We know from talking with United Rentals CEO Mike Kneeland that there's a renaissance in optimism about commercial construction. That's CAT's bread and butter. Also, the Fed has suggested the economy is improving. Again, that's right in Caterpillar's wheelhouse. And I'm hearing about a revival in trucking. Caterpillar makes engines; they benefit from any kind of rebound in trucking."
Johnson & Johnson
Like CAT, Johnson & Johnson is trading at a discount to the average stock in the S&P. "Value buyers think that disparity can't last," Cramer said. "J&J is the fastest growing major drug company with the best balance sheet of any company in the United States. And CEO Alex Gorsky has talked openly about shaking the company up which should unlock value. Is this the kind of company deserves to trade at a discount to the rest of the market? According to value investors the answer is a resounding 'no.' Shares closed more than 2% higher on Tuesday.
Although Cramer concedes that IBM missed the last quarter, he thinks the relative discount is too substantial given the transformation underway at the company. "It sells for ten times earnings," he said.
"IBM is rapidly transitioning to the cloud. It's much more of a software than a hardware play. At ten times earnings with a new cycle coming, it appears value investors just can't pass up this bargain."
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Microsoft trades at 14 times earnings and yields almost 3% but Cramer thinks value investors could easily send shares higher. "I think the company's new CEO, Satya Nadella, will usher in a new era of glasnost, where everything is on the table. No sacred cows." Therefore, at $40, it's a value.
"Schlumberger is the finest oil service firm in the world with the best technology and the best minds," Cramer added. However it had been trading at a discount to the S&P.
"That ended today when the company spoke at that Howard Weil conference and gave a tremendous outlook," Cramer explained. The company's comments suggested the energy renaissance underway in this country was still in early stages and Schlumberger was positioned to profit as developments unfolded.
Although the stock is no longer cheaper than the S&P average, give the catalysts, Cramer thinks value investors will continue to view it as a bargain.
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