The underestimated X factor affecting your stocks

Leadership & the X factor

Jim Cramer sees one crucial element of an investor's portfolio that is often underestimated—execution. At the end of the day, it cannot be overlooked. Good leadership is what drives both the company and the stock. And, unfortunately, Cramer is seeing this element disregarded more and more each day.

"We don't have enough respect for execution. Nobody talks about it, about the sheer power of execution, of a management team fulfilling unmet needs or changing course during changing times. Yet, it's a huge part of this terrific, long-term rally," the "Mad Money" host said.

For example, there is a misperception that stocks are too expensive right now. Cramer was surprised to see various articles released by financial news outlets expressing concern on Wednesday that Costco would disappoint, citing it was too "richly valued."

Well, Costco released earnings early on Thursday morning and reported an amazing 8 percent same-store-sales growth for the quarter and a 4 percent gain in February.


In fact, considering how strong CEO Craig Jelinek and his team are, Cramer considers this stock to be both undervalued and underestimated.

Then there is Kroger, which was up almost 7 percent when it beat all expectations in earnings.

"I've been pounding the table on this Kroger story ever since I spent some time with management and recognized how competitive they are and how they're leveraging their scale to wrench the profits from the food companies that supply them," Cramer added.

Cramer loves the company's strategy overall and has taken note that it has taken share from everyone as the nation's second largest supermarket chain. That means that Wal-Mart, Target and even Whole Foods need to watch their backs.

What struck Cramer as the most innovative approach with Kroger was how the natural and organic foods were integrated right into the other options in its aisles. They had more natural and organic produce on display, and they were beautiful. They had fabulous customer service, too.

That's what Cramer calls execution, and this is why he still considers this stock inexpensive. Bubble? What bubble?

The next stock on Cramer's radar was Pharmacyclics. This company had a market cap of $36 million just six years ago, and on Thursday it boosted AbbVie's pipeline with a $21 billion bid. And while Pharmacyclics might seem completely overvalued without a bid, Cramer doesn't think so at all.

Though Pharmacyclics had two other bidders, AbbVie was willing to dish out so much for the company because it has another blockbuster drug, Humira, that is about to go off patent in a few years. It desperately needed a replacement, or its earnings would have been torn to shreds.

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Before this delicious bid for Pharmacyclics, the stock seemed to Cramer as if it were in a bubble. But then thinking about how smart AbbVie is, Cramer now can't help but to question the value of other stocks like Isis Pharma, Receptos or BioMarin, too. These companies could easily be acquired the same way that Pharmacyclics was.

"Many of these stocks belong to companies that are managed by people who are capable of going well outside what's expected them, rendering their stocks cheap, even as they seemed very expensive," Cramer added.

So while many companies might look expensive on paper, Cramer keeps his eye on the leadership of a company. All it takes is one takeover bid or release of terrific results to shed entirely different results on to a stock.

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