Investors need to get used to the word "hybrid," Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. Instead of playing the vaccination guessing game, and trying to pick stocks that do well post-vaccination, stick with the hybrid stocks that win either way.
There aren't many stocks that do well in a hybrid world, Cramer said, but when you find them, you need to go big or go home. For instance, whether you're locked at home or entertaining at home, you're likely to be spending on your home. That means it's the perfect time for stocks like Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report and Lowe's (LOW) - Get Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW) Report, as well as the items these stores carry, like Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) - Get Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Report.
Now is also the perfect time for high-end retailers like Williams-Sonoma (WSM) - Get Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Report and RH (RH) - Get RH (Restoration Hardware) Report. Online marketplace Etsy (ETSY) - Get Etsy, Inc. Report had a strong spring quarter last year and is poised to do so again this year.
Cramer even gave the nod to spice maker McCormick (MKC) - Get McCormick & Company, Incorporated (MKC) Report. Whether you have to cook, or just like to cook, you're going to need to keep buying spices and seasonings.
Stick with these winners and your portfolio will do well no matter what people decide to do once they're vaccinated, Cramer concluded.
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Executive Decision: Applied Materials
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Gary Dickerson, president and CEO of Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report, the semiconductor equipment maker that's working hard to alleviate the global semiconductor shortage.
Dickerson said Applied Materials saw the shortage coming, even before the pandemic began. And now with the pandemic, the digital transformation is accelerating. Now that everyone is working from home, learning from home and getting their entertainment at home, the demand for chips has exploded.
We're at a huge inflection point in the market, Dickerson continued, saying that soon machines will generate more data than humans, requiring new chips, new structures, new ways to connect chips together and new foundries to make it all happen.
When asked about President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan, which includes the semiconductor industry, Dickerson said semiconductors are of strategic national importance and our nation must build its own foundries and make them a priority.
Applied Material expects earnings of $8.50 a share by 2024.
Executive Decision: Okta
For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with Todd McKinnon, chairman and CEO of Okta (OKTA) - Get Okta, Inc. Class A Report, the cybersecurity company with shares up 77% over the past year, but down 11% over the past three months as investors favored economic reopening stocks over technology.
Okta is gearing up for their annual Oktane user conference. This year's Oktane21 will be virtual, following in the footsteps of last year's event. McKinnon said that Okta plants introduce new product categories that will increase its total addressable market from $55 billion to $70 billion.
When asked about the recent SolarWinds attack, McKinnon said it just proves the importance of doubling up the protection on privileged accounts. This is especially important in dynamic cloud environments, he said, where servers and other resources are spinning up and shutting down dynamically to respond to demand.
McKinnon also said that in complicated environments, identification governance is becoming increasingly important. He said what large enterprises want is the ability to build their governance rules, then see a report with all of the exceptions that need to be fixed.
Executive Decision: Paychex
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer once again checked in Marty Mucci, president and CEO of Paychex (PAYX) - Get Paychex, Inc. Report the payroll processor that surged to new highs after last week's strong non-farm payroll numbers.
Mucci said Paychex has updated all of the company's guidance and now expects revenues to be flat for the year. Given how much the pandemic has crushed small businesses, Mucci said flat is quite an accomplishment. For example, more than 150,000 restaurants have shuttered over the past year.
Beyond payroll, Mucci said that Paychex HR outsourcing services have grown by double digits and businesses are relying on them more and more for things like help with PPP loans and other government assistance.
Paychex also has a new partnership with Clover, a small business point-of-sale system. Mucci explained that now businesses that use clover can log their time and attendance right into their point of sale and that data flows right to Paychex.
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Dimon Speaks About China
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on CEO Jamie Dimon's annual letter to JPMorgan Chase (JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Report shareholders. He said there are many ways to interpret Dimon's views, but a few things stand out. First is the need to eliminate tax breaks for private jets, golf courses and race horses. Second, the need to invest more in diversity and minority neighborhoods.
But most compelling were Dimon's words about China. He said that China believes America is in decline and is falling behind in technology and education. Why? Because we're crippled by selfishness, politics and inaction.
Sadly, Cramer said this does sound exactly like America right now. We do need to be less selfish, tone down the rhetoric, be kind, face our nation's problems and invest in our future.
Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the "Mad Money Lightning Round" Wednesday evening:
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had no position in the stocks mentioned.