Should You Stay Away From Jim Cramer?

Last year, Canadian newspaper the National Post gave Cramer its own "booyah," reporting that Canadian stock picks Cramer made in April 2006 resulted in a 13.7 percent one-year return -- four percentage points higher than the Toronto Stock Exchange composite index.

Michael Zhuang, however, gives a lackluster assessment of Cramer's stock-picking prowess.

Zhuang, the president of MZ Capital, a Maryland-based investment advisory firm, analyzed stock picks Cramer made in January and February 2007.

On the financial Web site seekingalpha.com, Zhuang wrote that of Cramer's January picks, more than one-third -- 35.6 percent -- were accurate.

Zhuang arrived at his conclusion by taking stocks that Cramer said were bullish or bearish on and then comparing their one-year returns to that of the S&P 500.

Cramer's February '07 picks, Zhuang told ABC News, were considerably better, with 56 percent of Cramer's calls proving accurate.

Steel would not comment on Zhuang's findings, saying that he hadn't been provided access to either the criteria Zhuang used or information on the stocks he included in his analysis.

Zhuang is no fan of Cramer. Like Swensen and Ehrenberg, he argues against frequent trades and says Cramer may be influencing investors to overreact to financial news.

"The Jim Cramer show is really making a lot of people trigger-happy," he said.

But some have come to Cramer's defense.

Gail Liberman, the co-author of the book "Quick Steps to Financial Stability," conceded that while she's never acted on Cramer's advice, she believes his show has educational value.

"He has been very successful in stock trading, and it's interesting and I find it interesting to hear what he has to say," she said.

Viewers contemplating his advice, she said, should be doing it with an eye toward gambling -- not toward paying the bills.

"The bottom line is his show is called 'Mad Money,' and it's exactly that: It's money that you can afford to lose," Liberman said. "If viewers can take that under consideration, there are some very educational points that the show makes."

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