i'm jim cramer. and welcome to my world. >> you need to get in the game. >> they're going to go out of business, and he's nuts. he's nuts. they know nothing. >> i always like to say there's a bull market somewhere. >> "mad money," you can't afford to miss it. i'm cramer. welcome to cray america. i'm doing some teaching tonight, so call me. earnings season. i dread earnings season! why? because it is overwhelming with so many companies reporting at once and so much data being thrown at you. it's hard to keep track of the expectations and know what's
better than expected. to know what the real benchmark that must be beaten is. i have a really bad back and i can't stand carrying all those printed out versions of the conference calls as i come from downtown manhattan to my studio here where i do "mad money." but tonight i want to do something different. i got to help you this earnings season. most of you watching the show are not these day traders that i think high jack a lot of it. you're not trying to game it. it's become so difficult to predict and often the initial moves aren't accurate because something nasty just occurred in the market because of europe or the election. in other words, other than for those shorting or going long stocks ahead of the quarter, these reports need a context to make you money. they can't be relied upon anymore, because they aren't as predictive of future behaviors as they once were.
they are a piece of the puzzle, a part of the mosaic. but they are only one of many important parts of what predicts where a stock will go over the intermediate term. that tends to be the focus today. this is a teaching show and i want you to know the metrics of the stocks i recommend here. i also want to teach you how to listen to these conference calls or read them in the transcripts. at least give you my opinion of what matters and how i let them factor to my picking of the stocks. i'm hoping this show will, once and for all, tell you how to use earning season as a way to evaluate your portfolio, figure out what you need more of, what you need to trim. let it help your stock selection. earning seasons are important for what it tells you about a host of issues. big report cards. it's not just the trajectory of the estimates. i'm so tired of the estimates
are bumped a penny or two. that's not making anybody any money. but we can't dismiss earnings season. we just got to put it in context. first, i assess them for the predictive value for the year. i try to discern where analysts go with their estimates after the reports. let's say apple issued a report that it's better than not only the posted numbers, but beats what is known as the high man, the analyst who was the most aggressively high estimates on the street. that will always cause a raising of numbers for the rest of the year by everyone. or if it is the end of the year for the numbers in the year after it. i use that increase in earnings per share, to figure out several things. first, i try to figure out the increases from actual sales.
did they do better? and not just accounting changes. to do what i like to do, i look more at the revenues than the actual revenues because the company can't change the sales line except by producing more, gaining more customers. they're making a better job. they're doing a better company. they're working it better. but a company can easily change the earnings by buying back a ton of stocks. it changes the number of shares. revenue growth in the quarter, particularly the holy grail, accelerated revenue growth, argh, both quarter to quarter and year over year drive my thinking. they allow me to figure out earnings. that allows me to figure out what to pay for the stock in the future. lots of people make a determination of the stock's worth in what i call the pe
vacuum. they see a stock that sells at 20, 30 times at earnings when the average stock sells at 11 times. and they say, that's too expensive. lazy thinking. what you need to do is figure out what that growth rate is using the prizm i just laid out for you. figure out how fast the company is growing and then calculate that trajectory versus the growth rate. if a company's growth rate is 20%, you know what? you probably have a big bargain on your hand. we call that using the peg ratio. again, the priced earnings to growth ratio, a much more important ratio, because it puts the multiple into context. as a rule of thum, i'm willing to pay a price earnings multiple that may be twice the growth rate of the company.
meaning there's a scarcity value of fast growing companies. 70 times earnings at 40% gets me nervous. even if 40% growth is hard to come by, that's nose bleed territory and there are too many things that can go wrong with a stock when that happens. the converse ask true, too. when i see a stock that sells less than one times its growth, i begin to salivate. i have to find other reasons not to buy it. so bottom line, i use the actual earnings per share reports to figure out the growth rates of the stock and if the growth rate is high and the price to earnist multiple is equal to or less than twice the growth rate, enough to proceed with the rest of the work that this special show will detail. i need to go to brad in south carolina. brad? >> caller: jim, i want to give
you a big ron paul booyah to you. >> i'll take that. >> caller: i'm just wondering how to best prepare for this earning season in terms of online research resources? give me the inside scoop as you stay on top of the market updates. >> what i like to do -- first of all, i watch cnbc and i'm not kidding. i go to the websites. the websites are so, so good that they will have the analyst reports, a lot of projections and i like to look at the news stories to get a sense of what the consensus is, and i look at the analyst reports the day after. and all that has to be done if you're going to sink your teeth in. start with the website of the stock. let's go to darrell in california. darrell? >> caller: boo-yah, jim cramer. i have a question, what is meant by a reverse split stock? >> that means that there's a
million shares, let's say that do a 3-1 -- what is typically done is if you have like 300 billion shares, you divide it by three, you get 100 billion. it raises the price, but you just have fewer shares. tyler in florida. >> caller: jim, a big south florida boo-yah. >> i need to go there now, always. what's up? >> caller: hey, quick question for you. when you talk about the economy, you know, really booting off again, it seems like you talk about it in terms of consuming and not producing. i'm thinking from the way i think about it, you need something to be produced before it's consumed. so in terms of a growing economy, you talk about consumption instead of production. that's what it seems like to me. >> i do, because in order to raise price, you need demand. if there's a shortage of supply,
sure, that can mean something. but not if there's no demand. if you have shortage of supplies that nobody likes, doesn't mean anything. that's why we focus on demand. a company has their earning stars before you buy it, use the eps to figure out the growth rate and take it from there. "mad money" will be right back. .
>> welcome back to the "mad money" earnings season, how not to be overwhelmed and to put it in perspective so you can profit from them in an informed way and make money at home. we talked about figuring out the growth rate, and whether the stock rate is too expensive or cheap against the sector and the rest of the market. the next way i use the earnings report is important because of the etf' zation of the market. i measure the stocks easternings growth and quality of the earnings growth against the cohort. and then whether the cohort is worth owning or forgetting. for most of hi investing i accepted that the sector is important. it has counted maybe as much as 50% of the stock. and because people trade as
etf's and they are important for people and hedge funds to make decisions, the sector is super seeded. it's an after thought at times. the banks, it did not matter whether they had weak or strong earnings or were in the red or black. people did not want to own the xlf, it did not matter how a bank did. they had little exposure to weak in europe and -- j.p. morgan stanley with tremendous exposure. that is why at times i had to dismiss the earnings per share gains entirely if the cohort was radically out of favor. but i never just forget them, instead, i try to choose, figure out which ones can at times break the tug of the sector and which can shine, because if the
sector falls back if favor, i have to be ready. ever since the market's bottom, remember the march bottom, general ragzal, we have seen sectors of retail and stocks within that out perform. i like to 11 to earnings of all the retailers but i am wrapped by the groups doing the estimate about. by far the top performers have been the discount stores. particularly the dollar stores, dollar general and dollar tree, i go back to my memory and reach for them, they have the most earnings momentum, i know that because i listen to the calls. when they talk about the etf, i'm in there with the ones with the best momentum. and i've been in bed bath and beyond during the sectors, when they grab a sector, because they have the most inexpensive earnings momentum.
and there's another strategy that i want to let you in on. when i know the best are the best in earnings because i focused on a call, i might, to hedge my bets sell the etf and buy the best performers in the etf according to my earnings per share worth, that way if the move is for the worst and we get a government number or weakness out of europe, i can lose less than people playing the earnings momentum game, because i own the best. and technology, the group of stocks that is just about 15% of the s&p 500, the tech is a big part of the category. cell phones, tech -- infrastructure stocks, and each has a separate growth rate and here i like to look at the
earnings per share growth rate of the companies i follow against the sector. the sector cross does not work. growth rates can be extreme that means there's no room for error that means that something is wrong. in 2011 one of my favorite companies reported magnificent quarters but the earnings were worse than i liked and it pancaked and stayed ugly for a long time. why? because it's under performed even as the growth rate was out standing to a personal computer related stock. knowing what the sector is not enough. you need to know how the company stacks up against the growth rate of that sub sector and you have to have a handle if the larger sector is in favor or not. nothing is worse than owning a bad stock, in a back sector
neighborhood. nothing is better than owning a good stock in a great neighborhood. if you do not measure the stock earnings against the sector growth and whether the sector is in favor versus out of favor, than the earnings report will not mean a thing. when we return i'll give you more ways to use the reports in the context of stock picking not just trading which i have come to see as pretty of a zero sum gain. save it.
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the headlines, to check out what else on the conference call, or the reaction to the call that can help us make some money. we do not stop with just the call. what else is important to listen to in these? the analysts will tell you that the most important predictor of future earnings is the growth margin. what is left after the cost of sales is subtracted. the lemonade stand is simple to understand. you figure out how much the lemons and sugar cost you and what you have, and that is your profit. time it took to make the sign, and labor equipment and so forth. same thing goes for publically traded businesses. we try to figure out the cost of the goods, whether they are going up and down, that is inflation, how much the labor cost, very important in a rising salary environment. how much leverage there is,
meaning if you have all the labor and cost accounted for how much business can you do. the thing that i like to think of, is chipoltle, they have labor and food and customers, the more customers they serve per hour, the more leverage they have. the cost of the food and the cost of the labor and the number of customers they can push through in a given day are the factors. we need as little turnover as possible, because the cost in training in new employees is tremendous, that is something that the former ceo of costco made clear on many occasions on the show. he was legendary for paying the employees the most and treating them with the best of benefits because it's so important to keep them happy so they do not have to train new people. they are not known to the
customers and new people cost too much money. same for chipotle, where people are given the opportunity to run more stores. mcdonald's praised for their margin improvement, it has good leases and leverage for buying food, and it's a innovator. they got huge leverage per hour. gross margin comes into play in different ways. often it has less to do with the cost structure of the country and more to the industry or a given company. now we are talking tech, semiconductor companies often produce flat out, make as many chips as they can 24/7 but sometimes the supply chain gets overwhelmed, to move more inventory they have to cut price and that lowers their gross margins and makes their earnings
too tough to predict and that gives them a high priced earnings multiple. we like companies with consistent growth, and we pay a higher multiple for them, and we do not like the inconsistent growth for the teches. nobody can handle the inventory glut that the happening with them one or two times a year. at times the product from other items from other countries, caused glut, i listen closely to commodity calls because if there's glut in the system, that means that i have to get you out of the stocks quicker than i do. i have to work faster. do not believe for a moment that it's just the commodity producers that are effected by the gross margin issues. i listen to all the pharmaceutical calls, and i hear about generic competitions and what it means more margin
earnings. a product that falls in price, i tell you to get out. i think it will try low, even if it was high in the past. until a stock discounts that i have to keep you out of it. very few drug companies are immune from it. and then i can go back. finally there are gross margins of the oil and oil service companies, these are the hardest, you have to find out how much it costs to ship it and refine it, it's complicated. many companies have tried to break themselves up so they are easier for guys like me to figure out. i care about finding costs and end market prices. that is why the natural gas companies for example traded at a discount price, because the end price has been so long for so long, and the crude price has been so high for so long.
that is what draws me to eog or continent continental. refining costs for oil is low and expenseive prices when they get it out of the ground. the key component for figuring out the growth related to the cohort is to figure out the rate of growth margin. it's uniquely calculated only by listening to the conference calls. cannot get it in the headlines or press reports. if you do not know the direction of the gross markets you will not know the direction your stocks are about to take. it's a part of the home work, if you do not calculate it yourself, you have to get it from someone. brad in ohio? >> caller: booyah from ohio. >> i have not been there yet, i'll get there, i promised myself. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. as an investor interested in specialty retail, i understand that the fourth quarter is definitely the quarter with the most significant earnings, but
how does a person evaluate the first quarter earnings? >> i used to go back to the rules of my hedge fund, i do not care about the first quarter for retail, first quarter is not meaningful enough, does not move the needle, and i know this because my dad sells gift wrap, it's one of the things where you realize the seasons are and valentines day does not move the needle. i'll make any judgments on retail on the fourth quarter. i wait to hear those quarters and make any judgment for the next year. mike in illinois, mike. >> caller: this is mike, giving you a chicago bears bababa booyah. >> bears are a constant, what is up? >> caller: if i'm short on stock, how long do i have to cover that short? >> forever, that is one of the great things about shorting. stay short as long as you want.
>> you are hearing tonight for the first time, not how to figure out what the better or worse expected earnings report could trade, seems to be a dominant way of thinking, but how to put the reports to work for you, the best stocks and prune those that need to go. we figured out how to figure out the growth rate of a company and whether it's too expensive, i keep getting the question and now it's answered. we talked about the earnings report and gross margins, something that can come out of the conference call only.
now we have to address two more pieces of the earnings puzzle, dividend growth and home run potential. pretty much since the time i first started to buy stocks, dividends were an after thought. ever since i had my hedge fund. companies were -- it was your only returning money that the party's shareholders to make it easier for them to exit. the only ones are executives that get paid for hitting earnings based targets. they do it by buying back just enough stock to make it to that when the share count is divided into the earnings per share. well, it beats the compensation bench mark that they were supposed to hit. only a very handful of buy backs do what they are supposed to do, that is make it so the stock goes higher.
but the buy back that accomplishes that goal. i can count them on one hand. most buy backs are a huge waste of money, companies buy their stock when the stock was higher because they only know about their business and not stocks. which is fine, they should not trying to time the market. what are the good markcompanies doing? offering dividends. buy backs are indefinite, and you are stuck. dividends are a sign of confidence. low rates will be around for a while. thanks to the fed, dividends can provide a rate of return that cods that you keep trying to mike money with can't, stocks present more risks than cds and they can go down and they can often go higher. if you reinvest the dividends, you can augment your return to the point where you are far
exceeding a return on bonds. dividends are so important they have been responsible for almost 40% of the s&p 500 in the last ten years and are the main reason that the dow jones was far out performing the s&p 500 in 2011. 5.5% return for capitol appreciation, and the only thing you should be thinking of with bench marks is cash in the pocket and safety net during the bad times and a trampoline in the good. what does it have to do with the earning component? simple, we live for calls that tip their hands on the dividend to tell us that there's enough excess cash available to boost the deaf depeividend. that is what we heard from ge, it was on every conference call. if a company signals to buy back more stock, and it's ineffective in reducing the share cap, you
have to look at the share caps from year before and so on, it's all about management enrichment. they are trying to contain the damage. a lot of tech companies do it. i regard it as disgraceful. no one else thinks that, i do not care. these days if it does not indicate that it will boost the dividend on the earnings call, count me out. unless they have huge earnings power, ala apple. then i'll overlook it. we have to listen for something that the company will do differently or announce soon that is an up coming catalyst. i talk about catalysts. you need a catalyst to buy a stock. i listen to calls for not what happens but something that will happen. if i hear something that sounds like it will propel the stock in the future, i'm anxious to buy it. if someone is upset because the momentum stock funds was not
satisfied, than i have my opportunity. pharmaceutical companies telegraph what is going into stage three. meaning what drugs may be in your final approval. and they tell you about expanded usage on the labels for drugs. allergen has told you more about the future on its call than any other. and it's a terrific buy. every time it sells off after earnings because of the up coming catalyst. selgy same thing, they give you a call telling you what comes up. and tech companies tip their hand about product cycles and products that will make a huge difference. and others tell you about up coming exploration and earnings that they are looking into. you may hear good news on the calls. i follow for the oil futurers to go down and then i start to buy the oil.
that is what happened last year with tlr, it gave you time to decide to biempt they were talk -- decide to buy, they were talking about the storms and the storms ended and nobody cared and then the stock took off when they told you that business is big and booming. bottom line, we look for futures in the signals of the calls, especially about up coming catalysts that will make them solid buys because it was not better than expected. we tried to talk about rising dividen dividends, the best source of wealth that stocks can give us. there's no better way to find out about the increased dividends than to listen in on the earnings call. but this year, i can only afford one trip and i've always wanted to learn how to surf. austin's great -- just not for surfing. so i checked out hotwire. and by booking with them,
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>> earnings season does not have to be a gun for unfathomable numbers, tonight we have showed you for looking for signs of what to do with your portfolio over the long run, because of the earnings reports and the conference calls, here is the deal. they do not have to be shoot first ask questions later experiences it can be the opposite. conference calls are ask questions, ask questions and r more questions and then maybe take actions. we are talking about the growth of the earnings per share and how that effects other stocks in the market as a whole. usually the s&p 500.
we want to judge if earnings estimates may be beaten in the future, we are looking of signs of dividends, the biggest cater of help and -- indicator of help to boost the stock. it's important because stocks can sell off in knee jerk fashion because a company did not beat somebody's estimate that may not have been informed anyway. i had to add more items to the equation because of changes in the stock markets. the first is geo political risk. it is linked exposures not just to the rising price of oil. but linked exposure to the debt and banking debt issues today of europe. and we need to ask ourselves of how much exposure there could be a given company to the chinese
economy. for most of 2011, it was impossible to own banks. they had the troubled euro and we tried to analyze the banks away from europe or the over stressed french and spanish counter parts, well we have our heads handed to us. owning tech, when tech is depending on europe. as much as 20 hch -25% earnings. a analysts will not let them get away with it. if you are at the end of the call, you will hear one out of every two or three questions about europe. asia, one out of two questions about others, if you want medicine, go through the previous calls of your company. if the questions are about europe, you know you are in for a bruising next time. that is what the analysts are focusing on, that is what they
are forcing the companies to talk about. as correlated with europe as tech and bank stocks are, it's china that owns the smoke stack companies. go listen to the earnings calls of caterpillar, check out the calls of peabody or others, owning these stocks is like owning a piece of the great wall of china. you want to be in them when the great wall is krcrumb beming, i have seen -- crumbling, i have seen coach and kfc, who has been expanding in china, owning a steel company without paying attention is like taking your financial life in your own hands. how do you find out about the issues? a company that is diverse, they march to the beat of the asian drummer, it's all in the pesterring by the analysts.
do not hang up on the call until you heard the transcripts. you can see how the analysts are worried. a final piece that is incredible. it's the earning season that you have to weather something that i never talked about before. okay. and we have to do it before we are done for the night. one that is obvious to anyone who watches the show regularly. i cannot believe i'm going to say it. you have to know the chart of the stock ahead of the -- we trace out what a stock pattern could be, and why is it important? you have to decide whether it's the expectation and what it is. you have to recognize that the chart was the gauge of the expectation, you looked at the chart. often a chart rallies to a particular level, a level of rye
assi re -- of a resistance. i do not want you to react to charts. i want you to use it in your favor. you know what is an ideal stock to buy, one with rising earnings and rising gross margins and good news on the horizon. that gives you the chance to get in at a good price, one that you would not otherwise be able to get because of the chart. why is it so important in because no journalist is going to attribute the decline in the stock to the chart. so many hedge funds are reacting to the chart and taking silly action because of it. i'm not a chartist but i play like one when i have to. if the question and answer to call resolves about crisis in europe or asia be prepared foor hammering this current quarter. if a stock goes down big after a quarter you think should be going up late or.
remember that it may be the chart telling the tale and giving you a chance to get in cheaper than you might otherwise have a chance to do. now you are ready for the rest of earnings season, go get them. and tell them cramer sent you. deane? >> caller: it's beautiful here. listen, i check my stocks at the end of the day, usually you'll see a little blurb to news ned lines that says, for instance, a particular stock has a close or buy in balance at the end of the day and they will name the shares. what i want to know is what exactly do the close and buy and balances mean and do they have implications for the next day? >> no, no, do not worry about it. it's confusing to people, we care about the fundamental. maybe it effects the chart or
not, we care about the fundamentals, that is mattering only if you are a big broker working a 100,000 share portfolio. it's all in the conference calls. the companies are more than that, i need clues, clues that will signal where a company is going and i like to look at the charts. and well, call me. call cramer. "mad money" back after the break. [ jim koch ] there is a rhythm of the seasons, so we've developed styles of beer to accompany that. we brew octoberfest, winter lager, alpine spring and right now, there's summer ale. [ bob cannon ] samuel adams summer ale is a flavorful wheat beer. it has a very nice spice note. [ jim koch ] it has a little lemon zest and a historic brewing spice called grains of paradise. it's citrusy. -lemony. -flavorful. -refreshing. -wow. [ man ] sam adams summer ale, there's just something about it.
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>> now let's do mad mail, and yes, mad tweets at jim cramer on twitter. hello, jim writes bob, you encourage home gamers to do their home work, although i dvr every episode, i do not know what you suggest we should ininvolve in our home work. what do you suggest we do? here is what you do, i wrote a book, you hear a stock that you like, you decide to get to know it. you go to the website, the websites have almost everything. you read about the last few quarters and i like to read the annual report and call what the analysts are saying, i like to see what is in the pipe. i like to see dividend is, and by the way, i like to think what would make me sell it. if they missed or did certain things or the stock went up too high. a lot of things for home work, it starts with the website.
this is from trace, hi, jim, as we know the department of defense is planning to downsize the military over the next few years as we always conclude our business in afghanistan, do you feel that the large number of military people will flood the job market and increase the demand nfor goods? >> no, they do not move that fast and if anything there could be a peace dividend if we get to that where we can cut the budget deficit. i do not think you should look at this issue in a way to be able to make money off of it though. it's really not a needle mover, and it can be negative for the defense conditions and they have been under a cloud because of the us cans. danny from new york, i have heard you say that you would short the stock, rather than buying a put. danny, i'm glad you sent me this, if i have created a miss
perception that i am a fan of shorting stocks, i always do puts, i rarely do shorts because as i write in confessions of a street addict, i was a victim of a horrible short squeeze, and it lost me a ton of money. use puts. here is one from kelly. covered calls allow me to print money out of positions without having to sell, why do you hate them so much? >> i have to tell you something, i hate trapping my up side, i hate cutting off the up side. that is what writing a call does, you cannot make more money unanimous wri than writing the call. you are vulnerable because you have short the call. never cap your up side, that has been my rule, never sell a put. that i think, and i've seen it in '87, i saw that put people
out of business. i saw it again in two now and nine. put people out of business. trust me, i've been around for more than three decades. trust me on this. okay, here is one from jeff, how do you approach stocks like these in earnings season? >> all i care is government pay, if the government is not paying hospitals, i don't want to touch them, because there's not enough hospital mergers that can be done without the government stepping in and saying you know what? we have to block that. approximate the government is on your side, i'm a buyer, if the government is against you stay away. but stick with cramer. [ male announcer ] when do you take 5-hour energy?
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