On Thursday evening, Starbucks reported what Jim Cramer considered to be a fantastic quarter. Yet shareholders responded by dumping the stock hard.
“When will Starbucks and its amazing management team finally be given the benefit of the doubt?” the “Mad Money” host asked.
Cramer considered the latest quarter to be the strongest quarter in the company’s history. For those shareholders who dumped the stock, he traced the issues to two unexpected negatives: softer sales in Europe after the Paris tragedy and the slowdown in Chinese growth to 5 percent from 6 percent.
When Cramer spoke with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on “Squawk on the Street,” he thought Schultz replied to these negatives in ways that exposed the stock’s sell-off as an opportunity.
Schultz explained that all of European retail was weak in the wake of the Paris tragedy. But Starbucks’ traffic has since bounced back to strong levels; it just wasn’t included in the quarter announced.
Second, Schultz took a long view of China and noted that his company’s sales are still very strong as it continues to open stores daily.
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Cramer Remix: Snowstorms could make this a winner
Cramer: Oil’s insane connection to rallying stocks
Cramer: Oil could go to $10
“Schultz said that the company never gave guidance in China in the first place and that anyone who believes their Chinese business isn’t on fire is just plain dead wrong,” Cramer said.
And that is where the disconnect lies. It seemed to Cramer that every year the analysts doubt the strength of Starbucks. Cramer recalled a time when critics claimed there were too many stores in the U.S.
Two years ago the price of coffee spiked to more than $2, and once again critics fretted that the higher prices would hurt the bottom line. Schultz said it was a minor cost and Starbucks was hedged anyways. Eventually coffee prices were pummeled and there wasn’t even a hiccup in the company’s earnings.
The stock did rally more than 40 percent last year, but Cramer thinks that only left Starbucks ripe for profit-taking in the wake of this most recent quarterly report.
“I think it’s time to start trusting Howard Schultz when he refutes the critics,” Cramer said.
Maybe the stock is the stock that keeps on giving, and this should be considered a one-time bargain to buy the stock at cheaper levels than it deserves.