Pessimism is far too easy

The 2 big trends that brought us here -- autos and housing -- are not going away so readily.

By Jim Cramer Feb 21, 2013 10:07AM

thestreet logoBrown bear (Ursus arctos) roaring, side view (© Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Housing and autos, the twin pillars of the recovery. How much trouble are they really in?


This is the theme of the hour, and when we're faced with smoking hot numbers that might be cooling -- and I acknowledge that fact -- I like to go back to why they might be good in the first place.


Right now there are plenty of projections that the U.S. might be building as many as 1 million homes a year. Weyerhaeuser (WY) said that the other day on Scott Wapner's "Fast Money Halftime Report." This number is considered to be a big deal. But we could probably use another 50% more homes, given the dearth of inventory in California, Florida and Arizona -- and that's especially if immigration reforms are made and the birthrate keeps coming back.


Simply put, 1 million new homes isn't a stretch goal. Despite the National Association of Home Builders' newfound cautious outlook, and because of the Toll (TOL) conference call -- which was actually positive -- I don't think the country will have a problem topping that number. That's good news for this economy that keeps getting factored out.


We're also betting that the U.S. could produce as many as 15 million cars this year. Again, this is regarded as a goodly amount. It's the "over," so to speak. But similar to housing -- for which a few years ago we built a fraction of what used to be built -- we're still trying to catch up with demand. We built only about 9 million cars a few years ago. Now the fleet is aging. There are more people. Gasoline costs more, too. So you need to buy a new car that guzzles less.


In other words, yes, we may see a temporary impact from the end of the payroll tax holiday and higher taxes for the wealthy. But these two trends, autos and housing, aren't running out of long-term steam, even if some think the market is taking a breather.


During days like Wednesday and Thursday, it's very easy to pronounce that every good trend is in jeopardy. I couldn't believe how many execs said that the looming sequestration is going to hurt them. It was almost as if they broke out the fiscal cliff memo. Would they have said this if the market had been flat? I don't know. A lot of self-fulfilling political thinking has been part and parcel to this market ever since President Obama was first elected.


But I come back to saying there's innate pent-up demand, and it's not going to be put on hold because of the changes in taxes or because of sequestration.

It's always right to worry about trends when the stocks are toppy. You get gun-shy. You might have wanted to buy Toll at $28 going to $38, but you never seem to want to buy Toll at $33 after it's already been to $38, right? Plus, given that so many people are chartists, our reaction to any stock that has gone up and then come down is that a head-and-shoulders pattern is upon us. They hit up the chart, it's hideous and they back down.


So, the stock loses its always-skittish defenders in no time. I didn't like some genuine pieces of the Toll quarter, like average price of homes sold. The company has been a numbers-beater ever since things started to get better, so it's logical to question whether that string is over.


But as I wrote the other day, we have seen so much forgiveness in this market. So, why should we think that, in a few days, it won't be forgiven again, especially as Toll approaches -- say -- $30 to $31?


Or do you mean to tell me that the only opportunity in this stock market comes from companies that report perfect quarters and are on an endless northern trajectory, and that everything else is inedible? Would you say the market is a perpetual-motion machine and that now the motion can only be down? If a stock is down, it must stay down?


That certainly hasn't been the case until Wednesday.


I just don't think you can presume that two down days means the end of the rally -- and I'm presuming a bad day today, or even one or two more down sessions. I certainly don't think the big theses that have brought the market here -- autos and housing -- are now dead because Owens Corning (OC) and Toll Brothers missed Wednesday, or because Ford (F) missed not that long ago.


It just seems way too pat to me. I'm from the school that said we ran too much, that the declines are always sharper than the advances and that the market is shaking people out. We're now going to hear sequestration horror stories into the end of the month. Then the market could be ready for another advance, because the trends that brought us here aren't going away that easily, even though some of the points the market just put on sure are.






Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust and is long WY.  


More from

Feb 21, 2013 12:30PM

ALIAS BARRY SOETORO:I`ve just added another limo to my business and will gladly

hire more people.You would never have the brains to study and learn this business.

I worked my way through college and paid my dues.Keep listening to the sour pusses

on Fox and let them think for you.They could care less about you: unless they need

bodies for a war, or improving  the ifastructure.Most Repubs would have to look

that word up.Listen to war hawks like Rush, who never served, how great war is.

Feb 21, 2013 12:25PM
Pessimism? Did you read that home sales have increased and prices have risen? Ever hear of FLIP KITING? Realtors are buying homes after the listing expires for way way less than it was listed for. If someone calls on one, they say "offer pending". It's THEIR offer. They send in a lipstick and make-up crew and relist it. They filter out mature prospects and sell to the ignorant, who find out too late about the quicky fixy job and walk away from it. The mortgage enters the Fed buy-back program and puts us deeper and deeper and deeper in do-do. Commercial is worse. No budding small business stands a chance. PESSIMISM? WHEN do we do something about the corruption? PESSIMISM? When do we Shoot To Kill lobbyists to keep them from bothering our elected Officials. PESSIMISM? When do take our nation back from billionaires and business platforms? The Ivy League was poison. Where will YOU go now that you helped screw up the whole world? Buy a hand basket.
Feb 21, 2013 12:23PM
I think most could agree that a weather balloon was let go yesterday and the ensuing fall in confidence was apparent.  The market needs constant milk from the Guberment tiht. The easy money and bond buying is a main component in these stock values.  I would also add Benanke has, is,  and most agree will continue down this same path until his white knuckles are forcefully pulled off that printing press.  So yes as much has I hate to say and see it stock values will most likely stay nearly the same if not even increase.  It is just down the road we will experience an even more traumatic adjustment.  I think the Fed philosophy is to continue pouring all types of liquidity into this economy in hope someone else might figure out a way to avoid what most of us all know is inevitable.  JMHO
Feb 21, 2013 12:19PM

If you`re not a lot better off than you were 4 years ago you need to blame yourself.My

business is growing by leaps and bounds.I got taxes done and I`m getting $5000 back

and future looks bright.The market is way up and the wars are winding down.Bin Ladin

is gone and many other terrorist have beeen killed.Our far right press doesn`t tell us the

good things.We have a good family man in the WH who makes me proud to say

"I`m an American."The sour puss Republicans just say "no" to peace and prosperity

and only want war to try to unite us on phony hate.We need to improve our infastructure

not start wars we have rebuild.we should rebuild our own.

Feb 21, 2013 12:00PM
As for Autos have you never noticed that when the auto companies offer cheap leases it means they are NOT SELLING ENOUGH CARS by traditional methods !
Feb 21, 2013 12:00PM

CGT!:What are you smoking?Housing market is up,auto sales are up, the market is up 70%,

6 million jobs have been added.Rush and the far right constantly lie about Obama and the economy.

Most people are doing fine.I`m much better off than I was 4 years ago.Don`t forget

the far racist far right is never going to say anything good about Obama.If you want

wars and recessions you have to get Republican in the WH.

Feb 21, 2013 11:59AM

Nice BUY call on monday cramer ......I am sure you made your paymasters happy with that one --- they get out and the little guy gets hosed again .....

You greedy scumbags have been trying to get the retail investor back in for 3 years now. As long as people smell the greed of people like you ...NO SALE !

And gain what were your AA results last year? - 10% - 15% ??
Feb 21, 2013 11:57AM

"I have really been wondering how J. Cramer would look in a Dress and a Wig...

Maybe Active has a great idea, for a new Market/investing reality show.."

I think this is how he spends his weekends so there must be pics somewhere.

Feb 21, 2013 11:48AM
Cramer and his perfect timing
Feb 21, 2013 11:46AM
Copy/Paste in YT search and watch.

Renaissance 2.0: Lesson 5 (part 1 of 2) - The Emerging Global Empire

Feb 21, 2013 11:41AM

Personal opinion: Just believe the Bull is taking a breather..?? Or a coffee break..Hmmm.

Gotta go check the pot..

Feb 21, 2013 11:38AM

Looks like by the end of the day...All or much of the gains since the beginning of the year are going to be down to about 2% instead of climbing onward to 10%....Oh, well.

This gets very tiring..

Feb 21, 2013 11:35AM
sssssppp....Glad you cleared that up...I was thinking of another in out...And I hadn't been drinking.
Feb 21, 2013 11:34AM
Remember the old business cycle with autos? Boom and bust.  Well, we are heading down the downward slope with auto sales starting this year. Soon we will be able to take autos away as the reason for our baseless optimism. Housing is likely to flatten out after this slight uptick. If you haven't noticed, new lending standard recently announced will continue to lock out the first time home buyer (even those that do not have a ton of college debt).
Feb 21, 2013 11:33AM

I have really been wondering how J. Cramer would look in a Dress and a Wig...

Maybe Active has a great idea, for a new Market/investing reality show..


We can just call it "The Biotches from Westwick."

Feb 21, 2013 11:24AM

There is NO MANIPULATION....Traders are booking Pofits....Because of the FED, Europe(again) and the rest of the World is spooked, from reports coming from America...?

Seems pretty simple to me...BUT in Reality, it is not.?

I probably should have cut some issues along with the Big Boys...But am not that worried yet..

Goes around, comes around.


Yes, I believe there has been a sale on Gold, but don't think it will really last much longer...?

Just a GUT feeling...Who knows??....Too many pros and cons.


ACTIVE...You worrying me a little,corrections maybe? But I still have Home improvement and Autos.

Maybe I should have booked some cash, eh ?

Feb 21, 2013 11:20AM
Jim, It might be time to get out in front of this one and call it for what it is...a stock market bubble induced by the Fed. It is interesting that investors have become numb to the constant flow of sub-normal economic numbers. We celebrate mediocrity. Things are far from normal and I sense we have reached a critical mass of headwinds. You should be telling people to grab their profits and head for the exit. 
Feb 21, 2013 11:14AM

I believe this new rise in acquisitions signals the beginning of the final stage of the bull market.  This reminds me a lot of 2007/2008.  Gas prices rising and a market being pushed up with help from corporate mergers and acquisitions.  I believe we have 6 to 12 months before the next big decline.  We might be starting a minor correction now but a 1- 3% only presents a buying opportunity as stocks will continue to rise for the next 6 to 12 months.  After that......

Well Brazil is hosting the next World Cup of Soccer and the 2016 Olympic summer games, this means heavy infrastructure spending and at least temporary boom in the country, so a possible safe haven for your money. 

Another is Canada with the eastern Canada pipeline almost a sure thing this will create some jobs but it will allow oil sands companies to have new customers which they desperately need.  Right now their oil is land locked and they can only sell to the surrounding provinces and to north west USA refineries.  As a consequence they are paid the least on earth for their oil, this pipeline gives them the ability to charge more which will be reflected on the TSX.  The west coast pipe line and Keystone are less likely to go a head, but are really gravy if the east one goes through.

Feb 21, 2013 11:09AM
Jim, I might be time to get out in
Feb 21, 2013 11:01AM
Why folks don't get the arbitrage going on in our economy is unfathomable.  The more cheap labor stuff Americans buy the more pressure to devalue their own worth.  It is simply water level economics.  Picture a barrel with a bunch of holes in it from the bottom to the top.  The water level will never rise above the lowest hole.  The same with the standard of living.  As Americans buy more and more cheap labor products the economic arbitrage is too lower the inherent value of that production whereby Americans must work or accept the same value as the person in China, Korea, or Mexico that that worker was paid to produce or assemble it.  So allowing cheap labor products to enter our market is about the same as allowing a drunkard to buy cheap booze to kill himself.  Our elected officials and the International Corporations are making money while they watch Americans destroy their own economic futures. It is simply a matter of time before Americans will have the same buying power of one of the 800 million Chinese workers.  It is called a given!  So how does this affect stock values? Well as we continue to lose water through the lowest hole in the proverbial barrel these American Internationals will be able to make less and less profit until there will be no difference between selling here or China.  Profits will most definitely be less and consequently we see these organizations refusing to invest in new plant and equipment, hire more employees, or commit to any long range product development.  And as many recognize they are presently  hoarding their money.  Many of these CEOS have actually  stated that increasing future profits from American consumers will become much more difficult.  So to suggest  improvements in the housing and auto markets with long term fundamentals clearly suggesting otherwise is unwarranted.  JMHO
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