As U.S. consumers scoured the web for Cyber Monday deals, CNBC’s Jim Cramer found some bargains of his own in the downtrodden retail sector.
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Cramer said on Monday that he liked Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target and Amazon at these levels. He noted that recent weakness in the retail cohort — much of it tied to worries about the Federal Reserve’s impending interest rate hikes and the Trump administration’s tariffs on China — has already been “baked into some of the really good companies.”
“Any positive developments from the Fed or the Chinese [are] going to send these things roaring,” he said on “Mad Money.” “It’s all about assessing the risk-reward, and some of these names, I think, have become a lot more attractive.”
Macy’s, for one, is finally seeing its turnaround efforts come to fruition, Cramer argued. Both of the department store operator’s last two earnings reports had higher-than-expected results for earnings and same-store sales, a key metric for the retail industry that tracks how existing stores are performing versus new ones.
But after the most recent report, Wall Street latched onto the idea that “while the numbers may be good now, there’s no way they can stay this good,” leading to a 29-percent decline in Macy’s stock since its summer peak, Cramer said.
Still, CEO Jeff Gennette’s mission to shutter underperforming stores, pay down debt, keep inventories under control and bolster Macy’s digital wares is paying off in droves, the “Mad Money” host said. He added that top competitors Sears, J.C. Penney and Nordstrom are stumbling, leaving room for Macy’s to grow.
“Best of all, the stock is incredibly cheap. Right now, Macy’s sells for less than nine times next year’s earnings estimates,” Cramer said, adding that it could go still lower. “As for the tariffs, Macy’s is prepared and ready. I think it’s a buy, especially since you’re now getting a 4.6 percent yield … that’s safe.”
Kohl’s is similarly prepared to take market share in a changing retail landscape, said Cramer, whose charitable trust owns shares of the retailer’s struggling stock. Shares of Kohl’s have plunged about 20 percent in the last two weeks.
Still, Kohl’s performance and execution have been strong, he argued, pointing to its latest earnings report, management’s notably bullish guidance and its store restructuring, complete with an Amazon-fueled kicker.
In short, “the estimates [for Kohl’s] haven’t really changed, the stock’s just been hit that hard, which is also why Kohl’s, [with a] solid balance sheet, has got a 3.7 percent yield,” Cramer said.
Target recently reported disappointing quarterly results, making its situation “a little different,” the “Mad Money” host said. The big-box retailer missed earnings and same-store sales estimates, and management spooked Wall Street by deciding not to issue a 2019 forecast.
But “Target only disappointed because the expectations had gotten too high,” Cramer argued. “While Target’s 5.1 percent same-store sales growth was lower than anticipated, it’s still a number that most retailers would kill for. Their digital business is roaring. Their balance sheet is clean as a whistle. Their new stores are successful. Traffic’s terrific.”
Target’s stock currently sells for 12 times next year’s earnings estimates, down from 15 times earnings one week prior, and boasts a 3.7 percent dividend yield — a bargain deal, in Cramer’s view.
“And while we’re looking for Cyber Monday bargains, let me give you another one everybody hates all of a sudden: Amazon. It’s the biggest beneficiary of e-commerce,” he added. “The stock’s now down nearly 23 percent from its highs. Again, in a rolling bear market, I think it could get cheaper, but it’s real good and everyone knows that.”
On the whole, even though the potential pressures of interest rates and tariffs remain as threats to the retail sector, Cramer found these four operators’ stocks to be bargains in an otherwise unappetizing market for investors.
“I know wagering on retail’s a dicey proposition here, … but Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target [and] Amazon are high-quality companies,” Cramer said. Their stocks, he added, “are bargains. Yes, they’ve been put on sale. Can they go lower? Absolutely. But you’ve got yield protection. You’ve got good managements. I like all [four]. They’re buys.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Kohl’s and Amazon.
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