Jim Cramer's TV show may be more popular than ever, but his stock picks still stink, says Barron's columnist Bill Alpert.
“The guy is a hardworking genius with a word of advice for everyone ... many words of advice, actually,” Alpert writes.
“He dispenses thousands of buy and sell recommendations a year and has declared that those stock picks will help you get rich.”
“The only regrettable thing about any of this is that CNBC and Cramer won't meaningfully discuss how his advice pans out.”
Alpert says that Cramer's recommendations underperform the market by most measures.
For example, from May to December of last year, the market lost about 30 percent. Acting on Cramer's investing advice would have added another five percentage points to that loss, according to Barron’s latest tally.
Interestingly, the time to buy is before Cramer mentions a stock.
Cramer’s buys rose 4 percent in the two weeks ahead of his recommendations, while his sells dropped 7 percent over the same period.
A 2007 Barron’s review of Cramer’s investing advice found that the only way to reliably profit from Cramer's stock picks was to short them.
These facts don't mean that viewers should avoid Cramer’s informative and entertaining show, Alpert notes, just that they should just be wary of his stock picks.
CNBC responded by describing Cramer's picks as “primarily momentum plays.”
"Jim likes to recommend 'what is working,'” a CNBC representative said. “So it is no surprise there would be movement in these stocks prior to Jim mentioning them."
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