In Nucor’s Miss, a Sign of Hope for 2011?

Where some on Wall Street see disappointment in the quarters delivered by companies like FedEx, General Mills and Nucor , Cramer on Thursday said he sees hope for 2011. All three companies announced worse-than-expected numbers, but in those numbers were signs that the next quarter should be much better.

Take Nucor, a company devoid of any good news for quite some time now. The company announced it will lose 10 cents to 15 cents per share but still showed a strong progression through the fourth quarter, enough to indicate that Q1 of next year should be much better. So, yes, Nucor did miss the numbers, Cramer said, but CEO Dan DiMicco seemed “subtly bullish” on the conference call.

“This was the first hopeful statement I’ve seen from Nucor in two years,” Cramer said.

The “Mad Money” host also noted that analysts have finally caught on to the strength in mining-equipment maker Joy Global . Most had abandoned the stock when Caterpillar bought JOYG’s competitor, Bucyrus International , apparently thinking there wasn’t enough room in the business for two companies. But Cramer pushed back against that reasoning, saying mining companies’ capital-expenditure budgets are “up gigantically,” and that should mean increased sales for Joy Global. It wasn’t until the company reported a strong quarter that analysts changed course and upped their estimates.

“Where were these guys when Joy fell five points when CAT bought Bucyrus?” Cramer asked.

Goldman Sachs has released a report on the coal industry that was largely bearish but bullish on Peabody Energy specifically. Cramer has been, and continues to be, bullish on BTU.

Lastly, the success of Ciena despite competition from the bigger and stronger Cisco Systems shows that the latter has become too unwieldy while the former is more focused. Cramer said he still believes that Ciena will reach his price target of $30.

“We’re getting there,” he said. “It’s going to hit it.”

When this story published, Cramer's charitable trust owned Caterpillar and Nucor.

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