Cramer: McCormick the ultimate 'at home' economy play with plenty of spice

Judging by the strength in stocks like Netflix, Amazon and Domino's Pizza, it was clear to Jim Cramer that consumers would prefer to stay at home than to go out.

Both the supermarket and packaged food stocks have become almost toxic lately, leaving Cramer to focus on another food name.

"With more people choosing to eat at home these days, I think McCormick is a natural winner because if you are going to cook for yourself, you need to buy your own herbs and spices," the "Mad Money" host said.

McCormick is the global leader in spices, herbs, seasoning mixes and condiments that makes both private and branded labeled items.

The company has two main lines of business, with 60 percent of sales from the consumer through products at the grocery store. The other 40 percent is in industrial sales to supply spices to food manufacturers, quick-service restaurants and chefs.

Cooking spices manufactured by McCormick & Co.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
Cooking spices manufactured by McCormick & Co.
"I think McCormick is a natural winner because if you are going to cook for yourself, you need to buy your own herbs and spices." -Jim Cramer

Three weeks ago, the company delivered both an earnings beat and stronger-than-expected revenue, up 2.9 percent year-over-year. Management also raised its full year sales and earnings forecast for 2016, and said it plans to return cash to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.

Yet, the stock was clobbered, down 5 percent since the beginning of October.

"I think some of it is simply guilt by association, as McCormick gets tarred with the broader weakness in the supermarkets and the restaurants, even though we know McCormick is in good shape," Cramer said.

Many analysts and investors worry that the stock has become too expensive, trading at roughly 23 times next year's earnings estimates and 21 times the 2018 earnings estimates.

However, Cramer argued that the stock deserves its premium valuation. McCormick is growing sales at 3 percent, while the average stock in the S&P 500 grew by 1.2 percent in the second quarter. McCormick's operating income is growing at a high-single-digit pace, and the average stock in the S&P saw operating income shrink in the first two quarters of the year.

McCormick also has a smaller dividend than the typical consumer packaged goods stock, but Cramer said that could be a good thing. Many investors who hold others in the group do so for the yield, and they are likely to sell once the Fed raises interest rates and bonds become more attractive.

"I think the recent pullback in this stock is giving you an amazing buying opportunity and I wouldn't be too worried about the valuation, given management's ability to execute," Cramer said.

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