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Cramer scoffs at Target's sharp decline, calls the stock a better buy than Walmart

Key Points
  • CNBC's Jim Cramer said Target, like Walmart a day earlier, should not be trading lower because the big-box retailer's quarterly results on Wednesday were "terrific."
  • "The one that probably makes the most sense to buy is Target," Cramer said. "I just think Target said nothing that makes it so it merits being down this much."
  • "People don't want to hear that you ate anything [in terms of higher costs]. They want everything to be eaten by the customer," he added.

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Why Jim Cramer thinks Target is a better buy than Walmart

CNBC's Jim Cramer said Target, like Walmart a day earlier, should not be trading lower because the big-box retailer's quarterly results on Wednesday were "terrific."

"It is just a conundrum to see Target down $12 [or roughly 5%]," Cramer said, referring to the stock's premarket decline at the end of "Squawk Box." Target shares opened down about that much.

"The one that probably makes the most sense to buy is Target," he said. "As they come down, Target is a better buy than Walmart, which my charitable trust owns. We sold some higher. I just think Target said nothing that makes it so it merits being down this much," he added.

Target reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped estimates. The big-box retailer raised forward guidance. However, like Walmart on Tuesday, Target investors worried about margins as the company absorbed some of the higher costs of supply chain disruptions and labor shortages rather than passing them on to consumers.

Cramer said, "Perhaps they didn't guide up enough. But Target has been up, up" — with the stock up more than 40% in 2021. "People don't want to hear that you ate anything [in terms of higher costs]. They want everything to be eaten by the customer."

Walmart on Tuesday delivered third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations. The company won back grocery shoppers as it used its size to help manage through snarled supply chains and price pressures. Walmart boosted full-year earnings guidance. But the stock closed down 2.5% on Tuesday and inched up slightly Wednesday to nearly $144. Shares were around breakeven for 2021.

"Walmart is keeping prices down aggressively and therefore their gross margins are down. But they are taking share from everybody," Cramer said Tuesday, calling Walmart an "inflation fighter" and a "share taker." He blamed Wall Street's shortsightedness, saying, "This is the moment to take share during the inflationary period."

On Oct. 26, Cramer revealed in his CNBC Investing Club newsletter that his charitable trust sold 150 shares of Walmart at just over $149 each. Following the trade, the trust owns 850 shares of Walmart, representing 3.18% of the portfolio.

Disclosure: Cramer's trust owns stock in Walmart.