Tuesday, April 20

It’s not a good time to be a company like United Rentals

CNBC’s Jim Cramer knew he had to explain the stark weakness in shares of United Rentals after the stock of the largest equipment rental company in the United States lost 15 percent on Thursday and hit another 52-week low Friday.

“October has been a Freddy Krueger-esque nightmare for United Rentals. The darned thing is down 28 percent just since the beginning of the month,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Part of the problem? United Rentals is “incredibly cyclical,” meaning that its success is tied to the state of the economy. And the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike agenda isn’t exactly boding well for the industrial giant, Cramer said.

“When the Fed signals that it’s going to keep raising interest rates, making new building more expensive, everybody on Wall Street knows that’s bad for business,” he said. “In a potential Fed-mandated slowdown, stocks like United Rentals … become totally toxic.”

And even though Cramer thought the company was actually doing “just fine,” he warned that the actual earnings results don’t matter to Wall Street in the same way they used to.

“Investors [are] looking for any excuse to bail because they know the numbers will be a crushed in a slowdown,” he said. “So be careful, because until the Fed relents, we could see many more cyclicals that get crushed after reporting good quarters that just happen to have a slight amount of hair on them.”

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