Tag Archives: Jim Cramer

"Mad Money's" one-year anniversary

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Jim Cramer celebrated the one-year anniversary of his CNBC show “Mad Money” in which he screams and prances around the set and tells viewers what stocks to buy and what stocks to sell with a special Tuesday night show.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, who writes the Dealbook on the New York Times web site, critiqued the show and noted that Cramer made a bigger caricature out of himself than he normally does.

Andrew Ross SorkinWrote Sorkin, “With confetti and balloons falling from the ceiling, Mr. Cramer declared, ‘Happy anniversary to me! Tonight’s show is all about me!’ That theme continued throughout the entire show as he mentioned ‘it’s obvious that I’m loved’ and ‘I got a lot more famous.’ He told viewers, ‘Really this show is about you, except actually it is about me.’

“At one point, holding fistfuls of fake $100 bills that he would throw up in the air and at the camera, he said, ‘I don’t want to spend the whole show basking in my own self congratulations, although considering how much self loathing I had before the show began, maybe it would be warranted.’”

Read Sorkin’s review here, and take special note of the reader comments at the end.

Yet another Jim Cramer profile

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“Mad Money” host Jim Cramer was profiled by another newspaper. This time it’s Newsday. Previous profiles this year have been written by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Dallas Morning News.

In Newsday, Cramer talks about his worst stock pick on the CNBC show: “‘Symbol Technologies is probably the single biggest disappointment I’ve had since I started my show,’ Cramer said about the Holtsville-based bar-code scanner manufacturer whose stock plummeted after he was persuaded against his better judgment to give it a plug.”

JIm Cramer and Newsday reporter Thomas Maier also mentions the recent SEC subpoenas in the article: “‘Mad Money’ has caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose staff last month subpoenaed Cramer along with two other business journalists after he said on the air that a stock would go lower. The SEC was looking into the role of an Arizona research firm and possible stock manipulation. SEC chairman Christopher Cox subsequently halted the subpoenas amid questions over whether they should have been issued. Network lawyers advised Cramer not to comment.

“Cramer, a Harvard Law grad and former hedge fund manager reportedly worth up to $100 million, says he’s careful not to step over the line legally. His own stock portfolio is kept in a trust with all its proceeds pledged to charity. ”

Read the profile here.

Cramer needs to disclose conflict

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“Mad Money” host Jim Cramer has been touting a stock that is a large holding of David Rocker, who is also a major investor in the company that Cramer founded — TheStreet.com. At least one person believes that Cramer needs to disclose this conflict of interest on his show.

The Informed Observer blogger Peter Cohan writes today that, “According to SEC filings, with 4.97% of the stock, David Rocker was one of the largest shareholders of TheStreet.com at the end of 2005. While this puts him well behind co-founder Cramer — who owns 9% — Rocker is still a significant owner.

“What I find interesting is that in the last six months, Cramer has been pounding the table for one of Rocker’s significant investments – Powerwave (PWAV) — on his CNBC show and on TheStreet.com. According to SEC filings, with 5.04% Rocker was the largest shareholder of PWAV at the end of 2005 – a position he began building in 2004. Since September 2005, Cramer has sounded a bull horn for PWAV on at least 10 separate occasions, based on my analysis of articles posted on TheStreet.com’s web site. Since his first bullish mention on September 12, 2005, PWAV has appreciated 33%.

“I’m curious whether Cramer’s bullishness on PWAV has anything to do with Rocker’s.”

Read the post here.

An Oregonian editorial about Jim Cramer

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The Oregonian, the daily newspaper in Portland, saw fit to editorialize about Jim Cramer and his “Mad Money” television show in this morning’s edition. They were, surprisingly, positive about Cramer and his position among the talking heads on TV.

Jim CramerThe editorial, titled “A big Booyah! to the crazy man of Wall Street,” stated: “Who would have thought that this hyperactive, balding shouter could host one of the most honest programs on cable television?

“Cramer doesn’t pander. He just barks, paces, gesticulates and raves like nobody’s business in the pursuit of investment success. He is single-minded, enthusiastic and relentless. He is a happy scavenger, fueled by a profit-seeking exhibitionism.

“Contrast him with the other cable heads who compete with him in “news” cable television’s afternoon and evening time slots. Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Nancy Grace, the various business news readers and others, sadly, represent the continuing decline of the American dialogue. They feign outrage, seeking to inflame opinion by embracing the most extreme conclusions the market will bear. It’s enough to make thoughtful people despair.”

Later the editorial notes: “Cramer can’t chill. He’s too much of a raver. He certainly isn’t always right, as he admits. But it’s refreshing to hear somebody talking passionately about ideas, rather than trying to score points at somebody else’s expense.”

Has business journalism arrived in the popular culture when the mainstream media now editorializes about one of its most famous practitioners?

Read the editorial here.

Is the business press fair game for the SEC?

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CNBC commentator Charles Gasparino, who is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, wrote a commentary for Newsweek magazine on the recent actions of the SEC to subpoena business reporters as part of its investigation into an investment firm. Publicly, the SEC has backed off enforcing the subpoenas.

Gasparino, however, concludes that is not the case from talking to sources within the SEC about the public back-tracking from Chairman Christopher Cox on Monday.

Charles GasparinoGasparino writes: “Cox didn’t rule out ever calling reporters in as witnesses, and putting them through the paces that other SEC subjects are put through, meaning they must not only answer questions, but also hand over documents, e-mails and possibly most damning for any journalist—their sources. In fact, my own sources at the SEC tell me that [Marketwatch columnist Herb] Greenberg and the other journalists involved in the Overstock.com story may still be called in to testify about the case. Cox, they say, wants the testimony of journalists to be taken only rarely, and only as a last resort.”

“To be honest, I am not all that comforted by Cox’s go-slow approach. In public, Cox appeared to rebuke Thomsen’s decision to subpoena journalists, but my sources at the commission say he acted much differently privately. One said he called both Thomsen, and the SEC officials leading the Overstock investigation in the commission’s San Francisco bureau and gave them his ‘unflinching’ support. Cox, these people say, wasn’t so much concerned about sending subpoenas to journalists, rather, he didn’t like the public perception that the SEC was somehow trying to curtail the free flow of information about stocks, something it has vigorously defended in the past. In other words, under certain circumstances, Cox might not have a problem hauling a bunch of journalists down to SEC headquarters and having them answer questions and possibly hand over their sources.”

Later, he concludes: “SEC may be on firmer ground than we journalists may think. Remember last summer when The New York Times’ Judith Miller was thrown in jail for not revealing her sources in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case? Public opinion wasn’t on the side of Miller as she languished in jail before finally announcing that her source had given her permission to reveal his name before walking free. And I bet, if Linda Thomsen and the SEC chose to pursue journalists in the Overstock case, public opinion would come out the same way.”

Read Gasparino’s column here.

Former BusinessWeek writer Gary Weiss comments about Gasparino on his blog. He writes: “But with whom are the subpoeanaed journalists (Herb Greenberg, Carol Remond and Jim Cramer) ‘consorting’? ‘Malefactors’? Or stock analysts dedicated to rooting out overvalued and manipulated companies? What’s out of kilter here is that the SEC is investigating people who are indeed on the same side as the agency– that is, on the occasions when it deigns to pursue stock fraud.

“Meanwhile, the bad guys — the stock touters promoting the fictitious ‘stock counterfeiting conspiracy’ — are the ones cheering on the feds.

“This is not the first time that the anti-shorting crowd has screamed ‘stock manipulation’ and tried to push the feds into engaging in a wild goose chase. A good example came in the mid-1990s, and involved a company called Solv-Ex that also blamed shorts for its crummy stock performance. The company’s top officials pressed hard for SEC action.”

Impact on financial reporters for ignoring subpoenas

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Louis Victor is wondering about the effects on business journalists in response to the reporters who were subpoenaed by the SEC because he says they incorporate their opinions into what they write or state about companies.

Jim CramerVictor writes: “If this weighs down the stock then who is to blame then, Overtstock.com or the financial reporters that found issues with their earnings?

Jim Cramer, Herb Greenberg and Carol S. Remond should come out fine from this but what does this mean for financial reporting, are financial journalist going to be restricted from giving their opinions or insights that are an asset to the investment community?

“Let’s hope not because the insight that is given from journalist have exposed some of the biggest scandals in the financial industry history, like Enron, Worldcom and Health South.

“So we will see how this develops in the coming weeks.”

Read Victor’s post on the NAMCE wire here.

TheStreet.com and Cramer were also subpoenaed

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Mad Money host Jim Cramer disclosed Monday night that he received a subpoena from the SEC in relation to its investigation into a hedge fund. Online financial news site TheStreet.com, which Cramer helped found in the 1990s, also received a subpoena, according to an article on the Web site.

The article noted: “Cramer, meanwhile, disclosed the subpoena on his “Mad Money” television show on CNBC Monday night. Through its general counsel, Jordan Goldstein, TheStreet.com disclosed that it, too, received an SEC subpoena. A spokesman for CNBC said the network did not receive a subpoena.

“Goldstein said TheStreet.com won’t comply with parts of the subpoena that demand communications between journalists and sources.”

Dow Jones, whose two journalists received a reply last week, has already said that it would not comply with the subpoenas. The SEC is also backing down from the subpoenas.

Overstock's Patrick Byrne and financial journalists

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The New York Times’ Joe Nocera wrote a column this weekend about the efforts of Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne to discredit financial journalists who write negatively about his company or who question the “naked short-selling conspirary” that he has espoused for the past year. Nocera’s column is part of Times Select, so I haven’t posted about it until now since it is appearing in other newspapers and can be read for free.

Patrick ByrneSome background: Earlier this year, Byrne responded to interview questions from BusinessWeek’s Timothy Mullaney and the New York Post’s Roddy Boyd by posting his answers on an Internet site. Byrne took this tactic to circumvent what he thought were going to be negative storis written by journalists being fed a story line by short sellers. In fact, Byrne has sued the alleged short-selling firm.

Then comes this week, and one of the business journalists — the Marketwatch’s Herb Greenberg — is subpoenaed by the SEC, along with Dow Jones reporter Carol Remond, looking into Byrne’s allegations against the short sellers. According to Nocera’s column, Byrne has knowledge of the subpoenas and sends some strange — and menacing — e-mails to Greenberg. One of them read: “”As I take a sip, ‘I find myself curious: do you guys know? Are you sitting somewhere, blithely oblivious, still chuckling about Whacky Patty, and all that? Or do you understand now that this is going to end badly for you?”

Carol RemondNocera’s analysis: “This is what Bryne does: along with O’Brien, he bullies and taunts and goads the small handful of reporters who dare to write about Overstock, making it clear that there will be a price to be paid for tackling the company or its chief executive. And as a result, financial reporters have become very chary of taking him on.”

I am sorry to say that I missed Byrne’s appearance earlier today on CNBC’s Kudlow & Co. But apparently he called Greenberg, one of the most respected business journalists in the field, a “crooked reporter.” That’s at least what former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss, an acquaintance of Greenberg’s is stating on his blog.

Greenberg replied on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show, saying that Byrne had libeled and slandered him. “I’m proud of what I do,” said Greenberg. “The SEC and I, we’re kind of doing the same thing. What I do for a living is help people avoid getting taken advantage of.” At the end of the segment, Cramer said to him: “Listen buddy, you’re not corrupt.”

I don’t expect this to be the last we’ve heard of this.

When Byrne posted his interviews on the Internet, I took it as a case of the changing relationship between business journalists and sources with the Web coming into play. But to go onto cable television and call a journalist “crooked” smacks of vindictiveness and a thin skin. I can see now why a lot of people think that Byrne is strange.

CNBC's Ron Insana to leave anchor desk

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The cable network announced in a press release this morning that the well-liked Ron Insana will stop being an anchor and instead become a “senior analyst” at the business channel.

The release states, “Insana will offer daily commentary on the biggest economic and business news stories. He will appear on the network’s signature morning broadcast, ‘Squawk Box,’ once a month as well as on other CNBC programs.”

Apparently the move is part of Insana’s other ventures. The release notes that Insana is planning to start his own business and a subscription-based financial newsletter. Both will operate independently of CNBC.

Still, the move is just another in a series of shakeups at CNBC as it anticipates the competition from the upcoming Fox business channel scheduled to start operations later this year. The release did not state who would replace Insana on the ‘Street Signs’ program on CNBC.

The TVNewser blog had this to say about the move: “Insana’s departure from Street Signs ‘is the beginning of the ‘Squawk Box-ification’ of CNBC,’ an insider tells TVNewser.

“‘You’ll see more ensemble shows dayside and more CNBC in-house experts like David Faber and Insana and Dylan Ratigan and Joe Kernen and Jim Cramer and newcomer Erin Burnett all over the air at all times,’ the insider adds.

“So we’ll see more ‘pretty faces’ reading the stock prices, while experts explain what the stock prices mean? (Don’t get me wrong — Faber and Kernen and Cramer have pretty faces, too…)”

TheStreet.com reports first profitable year

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TheStreet.com, the online business news service, has reported its first profitable year since its inception a decade ago when Jim Cramer and others helped found it.

According to this report on NewYorkbusiness.com, “TheStreet.com earned $246,000, or 1 cent per share, for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $2. 2 million, or 9 cents a share, in 2004. Revenue rose 10%, to $33.7 million.

“Its latest annual results were helped by strong profits from its electronic publishing business, which earned $5.8 million, along with the shutdown of its securities research and brokerage business in June. Excluding discontinued operations, the company earned $5.8 million, or 22 cents per share, up from $3.6 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier.”

Read the entire report, which includes an item about the CFO leaving, here.