Sometimes, things can and do go right, Jim Cramer reminded his Mad Money viewers Monday. That's why when it comes to investing, you have to suspend your short-term skepticism to make long-term money.
The phrase "hope springs eternal" is often viewed in a negative light, but last year, despite a pandemic, supply chain woes and rising inflation, the S&P 500 still managed to rally over 27%. So while you might think only idiots believe good things can happen, Cramer said it's better to be an idiot who makes money than a genius who misses out.
Case in point: Tesla (TSLA) - Get Free Report, the electric car maker that the naysayers have assured us will never make cars at scale and certainly won't be able to do it profitably. Yet, as we heard Monday, Tesla announced that it made and sold almost one million cars last year, and made money doing it. Tesla shares rallied 13.5% Monday, yet many analysts still value the company on a cost-per-unit metric instead of looking at the company's true value.
Tesla is by no means an outlier. Those genius investors told us that Pfizer (PFE) - Get Free Report could never make money on vaccines, that Apple's (AAPL) - Get Free Report best days were behind them, and that housing couldn't flourish with rising interest rates. Yet the stock's of Apple, Nvidia (NVDA) - Get Free Report, Home Depot (HD) - Get Free Report, Toll Brothers (TOL) - Get Free Report and Lennar (LEN) - Get Free Report all saw terrific gains in 2021.
This time, things really can be different, Cramer concluded, but only for those who can ignore the skeptics and focus on what really matters -- making money.
Cramer's Winners and Losers
There are many lessons to be learned from the biggest winners and losers of 2021. That's why Cramer always starts the new year by looking at what's worked in the past, and what can work again this year.
What can we learn from the top 10 performers in the S&P 500 last year? Oil producers took three of the top spots, with Devon Energy (DVN) - Get Free Report, Marathon Oil (MRO) - Get Free Report and Diamondback Energy (FANG) - Get Free Report soaring 179%, 146% and 123% respectively. Look for more gains in the oil patch this year.
EVs and cybersecurity also made the top performer list in 2021, with Ford Motor (F) - Get Free Report jumping 136% and Fortinet (FTNT) - Get Free Report surging 142%. Cramer remained a fan of Ford, but preferred Cloudflare (NET) - Get Free Report over Fortinet. He was also bearish on Moderna (MRNA) - Get Free Report, which took the No. 4 spot, as COVID vaccines begin to wind down.
The Worst Performers
There were also lessons to be learned from the worst performers in the S&P 500 last year. Taking three of the top spots was Penn National Gaming (PENN) - Get Free Report, which fell 40%, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) - Get Free Report, down 37% and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - Get Free Report, which is struggling in China.
Also making the worst performer list were fintech stocks, which suffer from too much competition. Global Payments (GPN) - Get Free Report and MarketAxess (MKTX) - Get Free Report fell into this group.
Finally, Cramer called out Activision Blizzard (ATVI) - Get Free Report, which is underperforming its peers, and Citrix Systems (CTXS) - Get Free Report, which has been largely replaced by Zoom Video (ZM) - Get Free Report.
The only stock on the list Cramer was bullish on was IPG Photonics (IPGP) - Get Free Report, a little-known company that is now too cheap to ignore. IGP has the best chance of rebounding and redeeming itself in 2022, he said.
Don't Fight the Fed
There's only one resolution that investors need to remember for 2022 and that's "Don't fight the Federal Reserve." But while a rising interest rate environment is historically bad for dividend stocks, Cramer said he's not willing to abandon this group, because many are raising rates far beyond what you can earn from bonds.
Cramer was also a fan of stocks like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Free Report and Emerson Electric (EMR) - Get Free Report, both of which have a long history of paying their dividends decade after decade.
A Year of Easy Money
In his No-Huddle Offense segment, Cramer said the narrative throughout 2021 was that we were living in the land of easy money. The only reason stocks were soaring, it was said, was because the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low.
But while 2022 won't be as easy to make money as last year, stocks are still the only game in town. There are still good stocks at good prices, Cramer said, and he remained a fan of the banks, retail and the oil stocks.
Tech stocks are worrisome however, as many of these stocks, along with most IPOs and SPACs, all trade on sales and not earnings. The market will have no patience for this cohort going forward.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on The Lion Electric Company (LEV) , NextEra Energy (NEE) - Get Free Report and Bank of America (BAC) - Get Free Report. He was bearish on New Fortress Energy (NFE) - Get Free Report.
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