Mad Money

Cramer's take on how this beauty stock could climb to $100


How this beauty stock could climb to $100

JPMorgan's ultra-bullish call on Estee Lauder caught Jim Cramer's eye last week, so he looked into why the analysts see a $100 price target in the beauty giant's future.

"On the one hand, we know that the beauty segment is riding a powerful long-term theme here, the rise social media and the selfie," the "Mad Money" host said.

"On the other hand, Estee Lauder hasn't exactly been a great long-term performer," Cramer said.

Though the stock, which trades at around $85 a share, has rallied 13 percent year to date, it has lagged behind the averages over the last five years, seeing only a 38 percent rise compared to the 68-percent climb.

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Cramer's take on how this beauty stock could climb to $100

In the analyst note, JPMorgan argued that Estee Lauder is well positioned for growth as it is in a secular industry. As social media bolsters selfie culture and online video tutorials gain popularity, the demand for makeup naturally grows.

Analysts liked that the company is massive — the biggest premium player in its category by a long shot — and has a history of doing smart deals, like its $1.4 billion purchase of Too Faced makeup last year.

"Estee Lauder knows how to buy a brand with a loyal following and then promote it to a much larger audience, which in turn helps to bolster the company's sales and earnings growth going forward," Cramer said.

JPMorgan also noted that the beauty giant has plenty of room for global expansion, especially in richer countries, and has major cost-cutting potential that could garner hundreds of millions of dollars in savings thanks to a worldwide shift to e-commerce.

Where Cramer's views strayed from JPMorgan's analysis was on the topic of U.S. department stores.

The analyst note argued that concern about store closures are overblown, and that retailers like Macy's shutting down underperforming locations actually benefits Estee Lauder by cutting expenses.

Cramer disagreed about the concern surrounding brick-and-mortar retailers, but he saw how specialty cosmetics brands like Cramer-fave Ulta Beauty could grow in their wake.

"In fact, Ulta just made a major deal with Estee Lauder to launch the company's M.A.C. brand on its website and in a hundred stores starting in June, something that could give this brand's flagging U.S. business a real boost," Cramer said.

And Estee Lauder certainly faces other risks including a strong dollar, a skeptical Wall Street, and weakness in both its skin-care business and its operations in the Middle East and Asia.

Still, investors seem to be confident in Estee Lauder's growth prospects and the stock isn't particularly expensive at its current price, so Cramer saw reason in JPMorgan's call.

"I could easily see Estee Lauder going to $100, thanks to the leadership of CEO Fabrizio Freda and the way he's trying to pivot the company to benefit from the beauty boom. I think JPMorgan's got it right with this overweight call and I'd be a buyer, too," Cramer said.

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