On the October 12th edition of Mad Money, Jim Cramer interviewed Carl Icahn and congratulated him on the bid by software giant Oracle to acquire BEA Systems (BEAS), which Icahn had been working on for months. Cramer had been recommending BEAS consistently since the summer of 2006 on a takeover possibility. In the December 11, 2006 Lightning Round, Cramer again reiterated his recommendation on the stock stating, "It has obviously been hurt by the options ugly stick, but BEAS should not be punished. That is a legitimate software transaction platform that I think one day, if they don't get the stock up, will be purchased by Oracle (ORCL)."
Again on September 18, Jim recommended BEA Systems (BEAS) on account of billionaire investor Carl Icahn's increasing share of the company, saying a buyout was imminent. Investors pocketed nearly a 40% gain in less than a month when Oracle (ORCL) announced a bid to buy the lesser competitor. (A chart of Cramer's BEAS recommendations is shown below)
Near the end of the interview with Carl Icahn, Jim turned the discussion to Mr. Icahn's ongoing interest in Motorola (MOT), saying that MOT should now be bought (overturning a previously negative view on the stock) because of the activist investor's stellar success with BEAS, calling Icahn the "great value investor of our era." (A chart of Cramer's MOT recommendations is shown below)
Despite the large gains from the BEAS recommendation, however, using the stockTagger database, I set out to discover whether Cramer's piggybacking off Icahn's picks has been a worthwhile activity for Mad Money viewers, or simply a one time opportunity with the BEA Systems (BEAS) buyout. Using the 5 (trading) day, 10 day, 30 day, and 60 day closes after Jim Cramer's recommendation, I examined the performance relative to the S&P 500 of the five stocks he has recommended in the past because of Carl Icahn's activist holdings, including WCI Communities (WCI), Temple-Inland (TIN), Vector Group (VGR), Kraft Foods Inc (KFT), and BEA Systems (BEAS). For each recommendation, the relative S&P 500 gains are calculated from the same date and the cumulative returns for both the stocks and the S&P 500 are calculated below.
|Date of Call||Symbol||next day close||next day S&P|
|Symbol||5 day close/return||5 day S&P|
|WCI||19.81/ -9.95%||1423.9/ -0.46%|
|TIN||59.81/ +0.10%||1428.61/ -0.45%|
|VGR||22.26/ +4.46%||1506.34/ -1.05%|
|KFT||34.55/ -2.40%||1511.04/ -2.27%|
|BEAS||13.27/ -0.82%||1517.21/ -0.77%|
After 5 trading days, the stocks have underperformed the market, although Cramer has told viewers many times to wait 5 days before buying his recommendations, so we won't get too flustered about this.
|Symbol||10 day close/return||10 day S&P|
|WCI||21.75/ -1.14%||1445.94/ +1.08%|
|TIN||61.22/ +2.46%||1437.77/ +0.19%|
|VGR||22.15/ +3.94%||1525.4/ +0.21%|
|KFT||32.48/ -8.24%||1455.27/ -5.88%|
|BEAS||13.73/ +2.62%||1546.63/ +1.15%|
After 10 trading days, the recommended stocks have only slighty underperformed the market, losing only -0.07% versus a gain in the S&P 500 of 0.24% for the period. Of these, Vector Group (VGR) performed the best relative to the index. Overall, not bad, but not good.
|Symbol||30 day close/return||30 day S&P|
|WCI||20.26/ -7.91%||1387.17/ -3.03%|
|TIN||59.78/ +0.05%||1495.92/ +4.24%|
|VGR||21.75/ +2.06%||1472.2/ -3.28%|
|KFT||31.52/ -10.96%||1432.36/ -7.36%|
|BEAS||18.82/ +40.66%||1548.71/ +1.29%|
For the 30 day returns, the BEA Systems (BEAS) buyout is included, and the stocks have wildly outperformed the market by about 5%, but take away BEAS and the cumulative return of Cramer's Icahn recommendations are losing you -4.19% versus a loss of -1.63% in the S&P 500. Vector Group (VGR) is again holding up the other three losers.
|Symbol||60 day close/return||60 day spy|
|WCI||22.18/ +0.82%||1471.48/ +2.86%|
|TIN||61.46/ +2.86%||1522.97/ +6.13%|
|VGR||23.08/ +8.31%||1484.25/ -2.49%|
|KFT||34.04/ -3.84%||1562.47/ +1.05%|
|BEAS||18.82/ +40.66%||1548.71/ +1.29%|
The 60 day returns are again including the BEAS gain of 40% (we are not arbitrageurs!), but without it, we are sitting on a gain of only 2.04% versus a gain of 1.77% in the S&P 500 index! Vector Group (VGR) beats the index by over 10% while WCI Communities (WCI), Temple-Inland (TIN), and Kraft Foods Inc (KFT) are losers.
So, ineffectively, without the BEA Systems buyout, the gains from piggybacking Carl Icahn via Mad Money are merely inline over a three-four month period. From a statistics perspective, 1 out of 5 is not enough to make any sort of reliable future predictions on an 8% lead over the S&P. Viewers will have to decide whether to follow these piggybacking recommendations in the future, but suffice to say, I will not be one of them. And if you waited to buy these stocks after the five day rule that Cramer frequently advises, then your gains only increased by a modest 0.72%. Based on these findings, Cramer should stop recommending stocks based on the Icahn factor. Will investors follow Cramer's latest call to buy Motorola (MOT) on account of Carl Icahn's activities? In later posts, I will unveil more ways that Jim Cramer tries to make you money, and the real performance you won't find anywhere else. Readers are welcome to give their feedback below.