There's a big shift happening in corporate America, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. Companies are stepping up to fight climate change and they're being rewarded on Wall Street.
Earlier this week, BlackRock (BLK) - Get Report announced that sustainability will become an important part of their investment criteria going forward. Then today, we learned the Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report is also joining fight to battle climate change.
Cramer said these announcements are a shocking change. For decades, companies focused solely on profits and needed the government to step in with regulations to protect things like clean air and clean water. But today, with our government taking a hands off approach to regulations, companies are now taking it upon themselves to self-regulate and focus on impact per share, rather than just earnings per share.
Even more surprising has been Wall Street's reaction to potentially lower profits in favor of a better planet. Microsoft shares ended higher by 1.3% by the close as shareholders applauded the move.
Expect to see more announcements like these in the future, Cramer concluded, as corporate America and Wall Street alike adapt to a changing world with changing priorities.
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Executive Decision: Microsoft
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, about today's announcements and more.
Nadella said that Microsoft's mission is to empower people and companies to achieve more, and Thursday, the company provided more clarity on what that means. It's the responsibility of companies like Microsoft to provide leadership in sustainability, and that's why the company has committed to removing its carbon impact since its founding in 1975 by 2050. Microsoft has also pledged $1 billion to fund innovation around sustainability and is encouraging its suppliers, employees and even its users to also reduce their carbon footprints.
If our planet is put in danger, Nadella said, it will have a big impact on our economy and our way of life. Technology is incredible malleable, he said, and can be used for amazing things -- but also not-so-amazing things, which is why companies must act responsibly.
Nadella said that, ultimately, the purpose of corporations is to find profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet.
Cramer and Nadella were joined by Amy Hood, Microsoft's chief financial officer. Hood said she approaches the $1 billion investment in its climate-change initiative that the company announced Thursday with the same risk-reward analysis that she'd use for any Microsoft investment. She takes a long-term view of everything the company does, she said, and in the long term, the company holds itself accountable and seeks to be transparent.
Nadella added that investing in the issue of climate change is not taking away from shareholders;, it's protecting them from what could become an existential crisis for Microsoft and the overall.
Turning to another hot-button issue -- privacy -- Nadella said that backdoors in our devices are just bad ideas. He said what makes sense is having a balanced approach between privacy and the public good, and that will require new thinking and legislative frameworks to create agreement.
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Ups and Downs
There were a lot of stocks heading higher Thursday, but not all of them deserved to rise, Cramer told viewers. Some stocks were moving for legitimate reasons, while others were simply playing catch up.
Case in point: the 6.6% surge in shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) - Get Report, which reported another stellar quarter. Cramer said Morgan Stanley consistently provides excellent results, yet still sells for just 11 times earnings. The stock's move today was deserved.
But then there's a stock like Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Report. While AMD is a terrific company and long-time Cramer favorite, he said the stock's move came not from any news, but because an analyst raised the price target. This is old news, Cramer said, and the analyst was simply playing catch-up.
But the worst example of catch up came in shares of Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report, where an analyst committed the ultimate sin of raising the price target but also downgrading the stock to "underweight," which is Wall Street code for "sell." Cramer said it's clear this analyst missed Tesla's entire move higher in recent weeks and is now admitting that the stock needs to cool off before he can once again not recommend it.
Executive Decision: GW Pharmaceuticals
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Justin Glover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) - Get Report, the drugmaker with shares that have jumped 10.2% over the past week, after the company announced a strong launch for their drug Epidiolex.
Glover said they were very proud to announce $300 million in sales for Epidiolex during its first year, and they're very excited because the drug represents a new way to treat epilepsy and has been proven to be vital for many high-risk patients, including children.
Glover reminded viewers that GW Pharmaceuticals works with the FDA and all of their drugs are fully FDA approved, so patients no longer need to go outside of the system and use unregulated products. There are a number of diseases the CBD-based drugs may be able to treat, including PSTD, autism and spinal cord injuries, Glover said.
Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Thursday evening:
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