Will megastorm be another earnings excuse?

Hurricane Sandy could become one more caveat, one more 'lost day' that couldn't be made up that shouldn't matter at all.

By Jim Cramer Oct 29, 2012 9:05AM

TheStreet logoDigital Vision Ltd., SuperStockAre we looking at another asterisked quarter?


I have to presume this shutdown now comes under the category of "We would have made X if it weren't for the hurricane." We will then be suspicious of what business was really missed, especially in an online world. where people can shop on the Internet and make decisions about business that don't require them to leave their homes.


I can already hear RadioShack (RSH) say the hurricane hurt business and Best Buy (BBY) saying it was just beginning to turn around, but . . .


I mention this caveat only because these quarters that are just being reported are all about caveating. What would have happened if the euro had gone higher. What would have been the case if September were colder. What might have been the number if we weren't worried about the fiscal cliff. The economic turmoil in Europe cost us X.


Why is this so important? Simply because if business were really good, we wouldn't know the difference. We would just be saying, "Of course, sure, wow, that number would have been terrific."

I have spent most of this earnings season simply trying to figure out how bad things really are and how bad they are going to get simply because governments around the world aren't doing much to stimulate growth or are simply delaying strategies that could help business. There seems to be no core business support at any government level in Europe or the United States. In China we are getting some, and in Canada it seems to be the ethos.


But without government support -- not just for small business but for business itself -- we are caught here just twiddling our thumbs. The storm becomes one more caveat, one more "lost day" that couldn't be made up that shouldn't matter at all. It just makes things bleaker.


And bleak they are. The binary world we find ourselves in is who is doing badly right now and who is about to do badly. No one is thought to be doing well, except those companies that do a lot of business in China, because the perception that's becoming clear there is that the government simply overtightened and that policy has been turned over.


Of course, the companies you buy because of China are now suffering from weakness in the United States, and they are going to lose valuable days because of the storm, not just because of the fiscal cliff or the election, for that matter.


So we are all about alibis and alibis that don't hold up as we wait for everyone to disappoint, even the companies that aren't about to.

Jim Cramer's face 

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 has no positions in stocks mentioned.


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Oct 29, 2012 2:30PM
KOO, you forgot the "K" on the end of your screen name.
Oct 29, 2012 2:19PM

Here's the transcript from the Letterman show, with Maddow;

“DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: "Here’s what upset me last night, this playing fast and loose with facts. And the President Obama cites the op-ed piece that Romney wrote about Detroit, “Let them go bankrupt, let them go bankrupt,” and last night he brings it up again. “Oh, no, Governor, you said let them go bankrupt, blah blah blah, let them go bankrupt.” And Mitt said, “No, no, check the thing, check the thing, check the thing.”

"Now, I don’t care whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you want your president to be telling the truth; you want the contender to be lying. And so what we found out today or soon thereafter that, in fact, the President Obama was not telling the truth about what was excerpted from that op-ed piece. I felt discouraged."

RACHEL MADDOW: Because the “Let Detroit go bankrupt” headline you feel like was inappropriate?

LETTERMAN: Well, the fact the President is invoking it and swearing that he was right and that Romney was wrong and I thought, well, he’s the president of course he’s right. Well, it turned out no, he was taking liberties with that.”

Oct 29, 2012 2:18PM
The Stock Market has become a waste of time, as the Liberals have made the economy of this once great nation as futile as the Socialistic lifestyle they crave. Perhaps once Gov. Romney becomes President Romney things will begin to return to life in America. Until then... I won't invest one more cent with Wall Street.
Oct 29, 2012 2:13PM

OK, Cramer appears to be saying the governments of Europe and the U.S. are not doing anything to help small business. Usually, being Jewish and working on Wall Street means you are a Republican. Is this Cramer's spineless way of endorsing Romney without really just being a man and coming out of the closet and saying he endorses Romney? Reason being, Romney is going to lose. So, why expose yourself as a right-wing sympathizer unless you really have to. C'mon, Cramer, tell the truth about this. Who are you voting for? I want to know because I want to know your reasoning because if you say you aren't voting for Obama because he has done nothing to help small business then I think you are crazy. Taxes are low, interest rates for borrowing are very very low and the Small business S-Fund enjoyed by the federal employees Thrift Savings Plan is higher than the C-Fund or I-Fund which track blue chips. In short, tell the truth, because your comments are a lie. I go to Europe every year. In Barcelona alone, the second best economy in the world for small business, there were 20 McDonald's five years ago operating two shifts. Now, they have 36 McDonald's running all three shifts. Every American fast food restaurant we have is in Barcelona: Dunkin' Donuts, Papa John's, Domino's, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Burger King, etc... What are you talking about there's no support? It takes tourism and local interest to support a service industry economy. The biggest problem for Europe is high airfare prices caused by Bush paying bribes to murdering dictators and causing Arab Spring. Also, poorly managed airlines. We need the government to get back into the airline business. Deregulation in Europe and America has resulted in horrible flying conditions: poor food or no food choices, sardine can seating, old planes, old stewardesses with bad attitudes, drunk pilots and horrible prices. Who do you support, Cramer?

If you think Cramer is dancing around the issue with this article, please Thumbs up.

Oct 29, 2012 2:10PM
Obama has been putting over 1,000 people per day on SS disability. It's at an all time high. More on food stamps, more on disability, more on welfare, more with free cell phones and computers......buying votes with your money. 
Oct 29, 2012 2:08PM
All of the polls, except Rasmussen and Gallup have been weighted off of 2008 election models. 

Use a combo of 2004 and 2008, which is much more realistic, and Obama is ......FIRED. His internal polling must show this because he is panicking. 
Oct 29, 2012 2:06PM
Even David Letterman says he is disappointed with Obama's lies concerning Romney and auto bailout. 

You know you have screwed the pooch when Letterman distances himself from the Messiaha
Oct 29, 2012 2:04PM
The best stimulus for America is for Gov't to shut down for several weeks or better yet, months.
Oct 29, 2012 2:03PM

I think business has been government stimulated to death.  The leaders of these companies don't have to be good at what they do because they have been on the government dole too long and have become so complacent it's unbelievable. 


I personally wish everything would collapse so we could find our center again.  At least at ground zero we will  know we are at zero and not some bull-shut island of make believe.

Oct 29, 2012 2:03PM
Axlerod is searching YouTube for video of Obama's demise.
Oct 29, 2012 2:02PM
Voting for Obama is like wiping your butt before you poop. Just makes no sense at all.

Oct 29, 2012 2:00PM
More HYPE less fact, buy this, sell that only makes Wall Street  rich.
Oct 29, 2012 1:53PM
"Hurricane drowns all the rich bankers" is the headline I'm waiting for. I'll even help with the concrete overshoes! Gladly!!!
Oct 29, 2012 1:51PM
I'm surprised you are not among the sick capitalist profit mongers offering recommendations for stocks that can 'profit' from the hurricane? After all, you are about making a buck at anyone's expense; for you to make money somebody has to lose money and you have no problem with that. Sick you are all sick.
Oct 29, 2012 1:13PM

Excuses do not change the fact that a company's bottom line is what it is. 

Oct 29, 2012 12:53PM
I'm waiting for the headline;

"Hurricane Shuts Down Cramer"
Oct 29, 2012 12:49PM
I seriously doubt that that many, on either side, who will actually read the reports, are yet to make up their minds anyway.
Oct 29, 2012 12:38PM
A Sharp, " Unite our Congress to get things done " The last time Republicans controlled Congress and the White House it was a disaster " Government spending went through the roof, they added TSA, No Child Left Behind, Medicare D, Homeland Security, Two un-funded Wars, $607 billion in added discretionary spending. A 61% increase in spending in just 8 years. I thank God each day that Obama has stopped the spending madness, reducing it from 61% to a projected 8 year 11%, 5 times less than those idiot borrow and spend Republicans. But like a battered wife many believe the Republicans lies, when they say their sorry and it wont happen again, 3 times in a row is enough for me, if you want to get socked in the jaw again go ahead, vote Republican.
Oct 29, 2012 12:30PM

" governments around the world aren't doing much to stimulate growth or are simply delaying strategies that could help business"...


Please  NO MORE government interventions, NO MORE stimulus...it is madness.

And in the second part of your comment you're right, Govmts interference is only delaying things for business while creates a mortgage for this and future generations.


And talking about nature...Nature's wisdom ( after some billions of years of test): Whatever is not working must be gone. After this natural process life goes on...just see through your window and all those natural marvels  are the result of such simple and amazing process.

Govmnt interference is just delaying the inevitable; govmt intervention is picking winners and losers...for now. But eventually everything must come to its natural balance.


Oct 29, 2012 12:23PM

Not going to get into this blame game....But you woosies back East had better pack your stuff and get to high ground.....

If you aren't prepared by now, or don't heed any of the advice; It's basically YOUR FAULT.

Good Luck..

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