Buy American? Yes, But Not Yet

There are lots of macro reasons to feel bad about this market, Cramer said Thursday. But at the micro level we are hearing incredibly positive things from great American companies.

Cramer blamed today’s terrible action, with the Dow off 146 points and the S&P 500 sliding 1.7%, on investors’ fears of what he called “the overall malaise”: the BP spill, debt defaults in Europe, financial regulatory reform here at home. These things have separated stocks from their underlying companies, rendering the fundamentals moot.

But what if the fundamentals mattered again?

“We’d be much higher,” Cramer said.

But the “incredible earnings and cash hoards” of American firms have been ignored, while investors instead focus on the worst-case scenarios for this market. Cramer wasn’t doing the opposite – ignoring the worst-case scenarios – but he sees a host of positives that no one else seems to.

Nike CEO Mike Parker on his earnings conference call yesterday after the bell said, “We’ve never been more profitable.” He also talked about “tremendous momentum,” as the company reported record free cash flows of $2.8 billion and $5 billion in cash on hand. Still, Nike got hit today for $2.89, dropping to $69.63.

Bed, Bath & Beyond saw significant upticks in its net earnings per share from a year ago (53%) and gross margins (40%). Plus, the balance sheet is strong and the company is debt free, but how did Wall Street reward the performance? By taking BBBY down $2.34 today, to $39.12.

Adobe Systems delivered record revenue and a 34% increase in revenue growth, with gross margins up and $2.1 billion in cash on hand. The company also announced it had repurchased 2.5 million shares and said there’s another $1.6 billion in common stock to be bought. Apple’s iPad may not use Adobe’s Flash program, Cramer said, but he thinks 10 other tablets will. Regardless, though, ADBE yesterday sunk $2 in spite of its performance.

You’ll find similar stories in Darden Restaurants, Jabil Circuit and CarMax, too. Good numbers, as Cramer saw them, were met with a pshaw by investors. No, worse – will sell, sell, sell. And if not yesterday then today, as even the most bullish of reports drew skepticism from the Street.

But as real as this gloom is, it eventually should give investors the chance to buy these stocks at unbelievably low prices. Once the fundamentals matter again, these stocks will be primed to rally.

“Although obviously from lower levels,” Cramer said.

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