Which matters more to the stock market, a thawing in the trade war with China or weakening economic data? Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday that investors don't have to choose. Today, we got both and it was a one-two punch to the bears.
Thursday's rally was spurred by the ISM Manufacturing Index, which showed that indeed, our economy is beginning to cool. Cramer said this report might give the Federal Reserve the ammunition it needs to take a break from interest rate hikes and wait to see what happens next. The Fed is worried about inflation after all, but Cramer said with prices falling for oil, wood, metal and other commodities, inflation might just take care of itself.
Then there's the presidential tweet announcing that China and the U.S. had their first "good" talk on trade in what seems like months. This news was great news for Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report , which said China remains their fastest-growing market, along with a host of other companies and sectors that do business in China.
Even the semiconductors were able to see some lift, despite being one of the most beaten-down sectors recently.
Cramer said Apple's ecosystem remains strong and the stock was up big going into the quarter, which is why he's not a seller, even if there is short-term weakness on Friday.
Cramer and the AAP team are keeping a close eye on earnings reports and on market volatility. Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
Big-Cap Drug Companies Turn Toxic
The big pharma stocks used to represent safety in times of weakness, Cramer told viewers, but that's no longer true. While many drug stocks rallied today, that rally may be short-lived.
Cramer said he used to be a big fan of Allergan (AGN) - Get Report , but even after a beat-and-raise quarter, analysts are still questioning whether CEO Brent Saunders is bringing out value fast enough. Shares of AbbVie (ABBV) - Get Report have been getting crushed as investors have been worried about increased competition. Gilead Sciences (GILD) - Get Report has been trying to turn itself around, but few, including Cramer, see that turn coming any time soon.
Cramer said he's seeing no resiliency in stocks like Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Report , and if shares of Baxter International (BAX) - Get Report can plunge 10% in a single day, that's not a place he'd be putting his money.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says it's worth remembering why the FANG stocks have been so great, and how they'll come back. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: GW Pharmaceuticals
In an exclusive "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) - Get Report , a stock which is up 30% for the year, including 7% Thursday on news that both the FDA and DEA will allow the company to sell its epilepsy drug in the U.S.
Gover said GW has worked for the past 20 years on this drug and today marks a big milestone for their company. They hope their drug will have a meaningful impact on the lives of their patients.
Gover explained that the FDA sets a very high bar when it comes to the safety and efficacy of the drugs they approve. GW has worked tirelessly to provide the real science that proves their drug is worthy of that approval.
GW has no plans of slowing down. Gover said they are working on additional indications for their current drugs and that studies in place to treat autism, pain and oncology. "There's still a great deal of research to be done," he concluded.
Unlike many other cannabis companies, Cramer said GW is a real company with real science and real earnings.
Executive Decision: Proofpoint
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Gary Steele, chairman and CEO of cybersecurity company Proofpoint (PFPT) - Get Report , which saw its shares fall 15% last week after reporting a 12-cents-a-share earnings beat. Shares were able to rally 2.8% in Thursday's session.
Steele said cybersecurity remains a great business and the threat landscape is only getting tougher for most companies. He said Proofpoint's business is being driven by the cloud and also international demand. Labor markets remain tight, he said, and they're not finding great people as fast as they'd like.
When asked about competition from Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report , Steele said customers want a comprehensive, world-class security solution and as customers move to Microsoft, with their Office 365 products, it's only been a catalyst for Proofpoint.
Even the Securities and Exchange Commission is beginning to take cybersecurity seriously, Steele noted, as they've been warning companies to take a serious look at their infrastructure and treat security as a priority.
Executive Decision: Federal Realty Investment Trust
Wood admitted that bond yields are rising, making them more competitive to Federal Realty's 3.2% dividend yield. But, he added, Federal has something bonds don't, and that's capital appreciation, as well as a long history of delivering for shareholders. Federal Realty is a very special REIT in that regard, he added.
When asked about their business, Wood explained that consumers are sick of driving and sick of traffic. That's why Federal's shopping centers, some of which now include office buildings, are perfect for living, working and playing in without having to drive. The company just added two office buildings for the employees of Splunk (SPLK) - Get Report and Wood said the feedback so far has been terrific.
Finally, when asked about retail bankruptcies, Wood said every open space in their centers is an opportunity to grow.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Covanta (CVA) - Get Report , Cypress Semiconductor (CY) - Get Report , Colgate-Palmolive (CL) - Get Report , Estee Lauder (EL) - Get Report , The Blackstone Group (BX) - Get Report and Match Group (MTCH) - Get Report .
Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener.
To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.
To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here.
At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL, MSFT.