If you’ve never seen Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show on CNBC, it might help to imagine watching Wall Street Week, but with the ambiance of a night-time infomercial and a hyperkinetic host reminiscent of Sam Kinison. Most serious investors write off Mad Money as pure fluff, and they certainly wouldn’t put much trust in Cramer’s stock picks.
But it turns out Cramer is better at choosing winners than you’d think. According to a recent study published in Applied Financial Economics by Bryan Lim at the University of Melbourne and Joao Rosario at the University of California, Cramer has an uncanny ability to predict the future when touting small caps.
Cramer is well-known for favouring stocks that are already on a roll, a strategy that’s similar to momentum trading. When he fingers a stock, the researchers found that it tends to get a boost—likely because scores of viewers rush in and push up the price.
But what’s surprising is that those stocks don’t immediately collapse, as you might predict. Instead, Lim and Rosario say they tend to stay at the same level over the next six months.
Before you rush out to cash in on Cramer’s latest picks, be warned that Lim and Rosario say that his mid-cap and large-cap picks are largely duds. And you have to get in on his small caps before the market opens the following day, or you’ll miss out on the surge. Finally, it’s worth noting that three other papers on Cramer’s stock-picking skill found no evidence at all that it exists.