Is the only thing we have to fear, fear itself? That was the question Jim Cramer posited to his Mad Money viewers Monday, after listening to the bullish conference call from Citigroup (C) - Get Report . Shares ended the day up 3.9%.
On the call, Citi execs said they saw a disconnect between what their business has been telling them and what the stock market has been signaling.
Cramer it's almost as if investors are wishing themselves into a recession. Cramer reminded viewers that the financials make up a full 20% of the S&P 500, so when the backs do well, the market overall also tends to do well. He said other banks, like Keycorp (KEY) - Get Report and Huntington Bancorp (HBAN) - Get Report could one again become attractive with with high yields.
The worst performer was PG&E (PGE) , the Northern California utility provider where bankruptcy signals are flashing as the company faces massive potential liability relating to the deadly California wildfires of 2017 and 2018. That took the entire utility sector lower.
Despite these decliners, Cramer said if Citigroup is seeing strength, then we might be a whole lot better off than we thought.
Cramer and the AAP are checking the pulse of CVS Health Corp. (CVS) - Get Report . 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.
Outlook for PVH
Last week was a rough one for retail, Cramer told viewers, especially for Macy's (M) - Get Report and L Brands (LB) - Get Report . Even companies that reported OK earnings, like Target (TGT) - Get Report and Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report , saw their shares sell off. But there was one standout last week, Cramer said, and that was PVH (PVH) - Get Report .
Just three months ago, it looked like PVH's business had peaked, as the global economy appeared to be slowing, the U.S. dollar was rising, and the company was only able to beat on the bottom line with cost cuts. But despite all of those issues, this quarter, PVH was able to turn itself around and see outperformance in all of its businesses.
Cramer said there's a lot to like at PVH, including its excellent CEO, Manny Chirico. The company continues to address weakness in Calvin Klein and focus on its omni-channel strategy, all of which helped bolster its results. Even in China, sales remained unchanged.
Trading at just nine times earnings, Cramer said PVH remains a buy, especially with shares off 38% from their highs.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says let's figure out which techs have had enough downside that they can bounce even if they miss the quarter. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Value in Dollar Tree
Cramer's long been a fan of Dollar Tree, and the company's acquisition of rival Family Dollar three years ago. But admittedly, the integration of the two has been challenging. The combined company delivered a total of three earnings misses last year alone, largely because of slowing sales at Family Dollar locations.
So it's no surprise that Starboard took a stake in Dollar Tree and is advocating to unwind this troubled union. But Cramer said he thinks that's a mistake.
Dollar Tree looks like it's finally come up with a winning strategy for Family Dollar, including remodeled stores that so far have yielded very positive results. That's why the company plans to accelerate its remodeling efforts to include at least 1,000 locations in 2019. When he last spoke to the company, Dollar Tree saw a multi-year trajectory of growth for both chains.
That's why Cramer said Dollar Tree is still a buy. Despite the distraction from Starboard, the company is poised to win and their strategy is only just now beginning to see results.
Cramer Does His Homework
In his "Homework" segment, Cramer followed up on a few stocks that had stumped him during earlier shows.
That was not the case with satellite company Maxar Technologies (MAXR) - Get Report , which lost control of one of its satellites last week. That sent shares plunging 32% last Monday, with more losses in the days that followed. Cramer said he wouldn't count on a relief rally for this beleaguered company.
China: Now or Never
In his "No Huddle-Offense" segment, Cramer said after talking to dozens of CEOs in San Francisco last week, one thing stuck out: While it's a region where many are opposed to President Trump, the business leaders all agreed that if the U.S. is going to take on China over trade, now's the time to do it.
Cramer said it was surprising to hear so many tech giants were on board with the trade war, but it makes sense, as China needs the U.S. market a lot more than we need theirs at the moment. China's been a problem for ages, he said, and there's no better time than now to make a stand, as many Chinese firms are over-leveraged.
Now's the time to put a stop to intellectual property theft, ridiculous joint ventures and closed markets, Cramer concluded, even if it means some short-term pain in the markets.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Nucor (NUE) - Get Report , Aimmune Therapeutics (AIMT) - Get Report , Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report , Square (SQ) - Get Report and Idexx Laboratories (IDXX) - Get Report .
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in CVS, C, AAPL, AMZN, KSS.