Part of being a great investor is being prepared for anything, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. That's why Cramer outlined his Top 10 Investment Worries for 2018 -- so viewers won't be blindsided and can prepare for what might happen next.
First on the list was the federal tax plan, the potential failure of which could be devastating for the domestic stocks that have been rallying for weeks. Second was North Korea, which doesn't appear to want to give up its nuclear ambitions. In third place was the Mueller investigation, which remains a wildcard as to what that might turn up.
Cramer said he's also worried about valuations and he fears fund managers could begin taking profits after the first of the year. He also has concerns about cryptocurrencies, which are starting to be viewed as actual investments, despite being nothing of the sort.
Also on the list, concerns over interest-rate hikes. Cramer said that, eventually, rate hikes hurt stocks, something younger investors may have forgotten.
Rounding out the list were antitrust concerns at No. 7, the loss of state and local tax deductions at No. 8, and the cost of healthcare for millions of Americans in the No. 9 slot.
Finally, Cramer said cyber attacks complete his list of worries, as they're only getting bigger and more frequent and you never know where they will strike next.
Over on Real Money, Cramer wonders what industry will Amazon.com (AMZN) destroy next or what happens if people stop buying iPhones. Get more on his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: U.S. Concrete
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Bill Sandbrook, president and CEO of U.S. Concrete (USCR) , a stock that's been hitting new highs despite the lack of a federal infrastructure bill.
Sandbrook said that 56% of his company's business is in the commercial and industrial market and doesn't need government spending. "Our end markets are vibrant," he said, especially in Texas, where many companies are building new headquarters and tech companies are building a lot of data centers.
New York City also remains a strong market for U.S. Concrete, because it's one of the few companies that can deliver on product specifications and service levels. Given the tight schedules for many projects, only U.S. Concrete can deliver what's needed when it's needed, he said. That includes the World Trade Center, numerous road and bridge projects and renovations at LaGuardia airport.
Sandbrook was bullish on any upcoming tax cuts however, saying they will only extend the business cycle for years to come.
Cramer said this stock is on a mission to go higher.
Cramer and the AAP team find it interesting that the Allergan (AGN) CEO is buying shares. 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 Autodesk
What happens when a market darling suddenly turns on a dime? You need to determine whether you have a broken stock or a broken company, Cramer told viewers, as he dove into the recent decline in Autodesk (ADSK) .
Autodesk had been one of the top 20 best performing stocks in the S&P 500 up until Thanksgiving, with shares that were up 75% for the year. But that all changed when the company last reported earnings, sending shares tumbling from $130 to just $109 in a single day.
Did Autodesk miss earnings by a mile? Slash estimates? Forecast a huge slowdown? No. In fact, earnings were better than expected, but the company gave a tepid outlook, lowering the top end of their subscription guidance from 675,000 subscribers to just 650,000.
This small change may not seem like a big deal, but for a high-flying stock, you can't just beat earnings, you need to crush them. That adds a new level of uncertainty to Autodesk, which caused Cramer said say he wouldn't start a new position in the company. Instead he'd be patient and see what next quarter brings.
Executive Decision: Panera Bread
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer again sat down with Ron Shaich, founder, chairman and outgoing CEO of the now-private Panera Bread, to discuss the state of the restaurant industry.
Shaich sounded off against a troubling trend in today's public companies, one that focuses on short-term thinking and not on long-term prosperity. The markets have changed, he said, and where 50% of Panera shareholders used to buy and hold for a year or longer, now 50% hold for a month or less.
That's why Panera once again went private, Shaich explained, to avoid the pressure from shareholders to provide only short-term gains at the expense of long-term value. Panera went through six different transformations through its history and was able to deliver twice the growth of Starbucks (SBUX) , something that is becoming impossible in an age of activist investing.
Shaich noted that tech companies like Amazon have the freedom to grow and innovate where others don't. Ironically, Amazon's plan for Whole Foods is the same plan that Whole Foods itself was not able to execute as a public company. Buffalo Wild Wings also lost a terrific CEO as activists forced that company to take itself private.
Cramer commended Shaich for his decades of leadership and said he'll be following this issue closely in 2018.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Cadence Systems (CDNS) , Teledyne Technologies (TDY) , Carlisle (CSL) , McDonald's (MCD) , Kratos Defense & Security (KTOS) , Ford Motor (F) and BGC Partners (BGCP) .
Cramer was bearish on Shake Shack (SHAK) .
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer pondered whether the cloud adoption cycle has hit a wall, like some have suggested in recent weeks. Was the decline in AutoDesk a warning sign?
Cramer likened AutoDesk to the time in 2016, when Tableau Data (DATA) and LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft (MSFT) , both missed earnings, sending the whole sector into a tailspin. It took several weeks for the markets to realize the problem wasn't with the cloud, but rather with Tableau and LinkedIn, after which, the rally resumed.
According to the companies that build, maintain and live in the cloud, the notion that we're at peak adoption is absurd. In fact, we're only at about 10% penetration. That leaves years of growth ahead in the U.S., and even more in China and the rest of the world.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AGN.