There's far too little accountability on Wall Street, Jim Cramer admitted to his Mad Money viewers Thursday, as he sounded off on issues that have been getting him hot under the collar for the past few weeks.
First, Cramer said there's no accountability with the pundits and analysts that make snap judgments about earnings reports. Case in point, Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems Inc. Report, which reported a solid quarter Wednesday, only to be panned by nitpicking analysts and off-base news reports. After closing lower Wednesday, shares rebounded hard Thursday, proving all of the naysayers completely wrong.
There's also no accountability when it comes to cryptocurrencies, Cramer told viewers. Bitcoin was once a scarce commodity, but now it competes with a host of other so-called "currencies," some of which were started as a joke. Making money in crypto is more about luck than the commodity itself.
The same applies to all those younger traders betting big on GameStop (GME) - Get GameStop Corporation Report and AMC Entertainment (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Class A Report. GameStop's business has been falling apart for years, while AMC only remained afloat by issuing more shares after the Wall Street Bets frenzy began.
There's also no accountability for those criticizing Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell. Cramer said Powell should be applauded for his focus on employment rather than largely transitory inflation.
But perhaps the biggest lack of accountability goes to John Stankey and Randall Stephenson, the current and former CEOs of AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report. Cramer was so bothered by AT&T's decision to slash their dividend as part of their Warner Media divestiture, he resurrected the Mad Money "Wall of Shame."
AT&T shareholders depend on that dividend for income, and are among the most loyal shareholders you'll find. But after buying Time Warner for $85 billion, Stankey and Stephenson have no accountability for jettisoning Warner for a paltry $43 billion just three years later.
"Thanks for nothing," Cramer concluded.
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Executive Decision: Barrick Gold
In times of rising inflation, it always pays to diversify, Cramer told viewers. And with cryptocurrencies looking more like speculative assets rather than hard assets, gold remains your best option. That's why Cramer spoke with Mark Bristow, president and CEO of Barrick Gold (GOLD) - Get Barrick Gold Corporation (BC) Report. Shares of Barrick are up 5% in just the past week.
Bristow said they had three things in mind when they merged with Randgold a few years back. First was to fix the balance sheet. Second was to retain all of the best people. And third was to become return driven, which they have now accomplished with the addition of their dividend.
But Barrick Gold isn't just about profit, Bristow added, they're in it for the long term, which means mining responsibly and paying attention to both the environment and social issues. Mining is an important everyday activity, he said, which makes doing it responsibly the only way to go.
Barrick is also a large copper producer, Bristow said, with about 20% of their overall production. Copper continues to be in great demand for a host of products and demand continues to be strong.
Finally, when asked about the scarcity of gold, Bristow noted that only 50% of the world's gold reserves have been replaced since the turn of the century, which is why gold remains so valuable.
Executive Decision: Bank of America
For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO of Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corporation Report, to learn more about the bank's commitment to minority-owned businesses. Bank of America accounted earlier Thursday that they're increasing their $200 million commitment to minority-focus investment funds to $350 million. So far, the bank has invested $250 million across 90 different funds.
Moynihan said Bank of America continues to put their money where their mouth is and prove that you can do well and do good at the same time. They've invested in hundreds of talented people who are now investing in thousands of minority-owned businesses across the country. Bank of America continues to be focused on the right things while still delivering for their shareholders.
Moynihan also commented on their recent decision to pay a $25 an hour minimum wage by 2025. He said they remain committed to their employees and want people with a career mindset when they join the company. Bank of America wants the best talent, he said, and they're willing to pay to get it.
Cramer said Moynihan proves once again that business can be the biggest driver of change in America.
Executive Decision: Palo Alto Networks
Arora said the work-from-home trend is here to say and they're seeing a big uplift in their remote security products. Customers now expect the same level of security they have in the office, no matter where they are. He said discussions about cybersecurity have also moved beyond just the IT department. Discussions are now happening in boardrooms and the White House, as our entire country needs to get serious about security.
When asked about the semiconductor shortage, Arora noted that Palo Alto has been shifting away from hardware devices and into software, which is easier to deliver and maintain, and also doesn't require more chips for every customer.
Palo Alto is also partnering with access providers like Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Common Stock Report and Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report to provide reliable access to all of their security products.
On Real Money, Cramer keys in on the companies and CEOs he knows best. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Regulation Isn't Rocket Science
In his No-Huddle Offense segment, Cramer told viewers that regulation isn't rocket science, yet regulators fail to realize the power of their own words. Case in point: Wednesday's meltdown in Bitcoin. Cramer said it's obvious to anyone who's been around the markets long enough that Wednesday was a classic margin call. That's where traders using borrowed money are asked to pay up or are forced to liquidate their positions.
But while cryptocurrencies aren't yet regulated, there are things that can be done. Cramer said all Janet Yellen needs to say is she's uncomfortable with all of the leverage she's seeing in the crypto markets. That alone will encourage institutions to stop lending money to those who can't afford it. She could go on further to say that they'll look into any institution that is offering excessive leverage, especially those lending at 100 to one.
That alone, Cramer said, will stop this lunacy in its tracks.
Here's what Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Thursday evening:
Hyliion HYLN: "The market just doesn't like these companies, even though they're doing everything they're supposed to do."
Utz Brands (UTZ) - Get Utz Brands Inc Class A Report: "Utz did not have a good quarter. You need to buy PepsiCo (PEP) - Get PepsiCo Inc. Report which has Frito Lay and the scale to deal with transportation costs."
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had no position in the stocks mentioned.