The absence of two negatives turned out to be positive, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. Earlier this week, the market plunged on fear, but then we heard from the Federal Reserve and Chinese President Xi Jinping and all of that fear was magically forgotten.
Cramer said investors were fearing higher interest rates, but Fed Chair Jay Powell offered reassurance that now is still not the time to tighten. Investors also feared that Chinese land developer Evergrande would be allowed to fail, but that fear was erased by Xi. What does that leave investors to worry about? Only COVID.
Over on Real Money, Jim Cramer says it's crazy that we don't make semiconductors here in the U.S. Read more of what he says: 'While the big guns meet at the White House about the global chip shortage, the president and these companies are approaching this all wrong.'
Depending on who you ask, COVID cases have, are, or soon will be peaking. According to Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report, they have. According to Walt Disney Co. (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report, they haven't. And according to Darden Restaurants (DRI) - Get Darden Restaurants, Inc. Report, it's a solid maybe. But that single question holds the key to our economic recovery.
Case in point, FedEx (FDX) - Get FedEx Corporation Report, which told investors that its Portland, Oregon hub is operating with only 65% of its workers? Where did the other 35% go? Presumably they are either sick, caring for someone who's sick or at risk, or are scared of getting sick. But as cases peak and herd immunity kicks in, those workers will slowly return, allowing transportation and supply chains across the nation to recover.
That's why Jay Powell is right that inflation is transitory, Cramer said. Once workers return to work, supply chains will work out their issues, allowing prices to return to normal.
Executive Decision: Wynn Resorts
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - Get Wynn Resorts, Limited (WYNN) Report, the casino operator with properties in Las Vegas, Boston and Macau in China. Shares of Wynn are up 19% for the year.
Maddox spent most of the interview reassuring investors that China's crackdown on Macau will not derail gambling in the region or put shareholders at risk. He said the proposed changes are not punitive, they're practical. They're designed with the health and stability of Macau in mind and they will likely make Macau just as regulated as Las Vegas is here in the U.S.
Turning his focus closer to home, Maddox said that gambling and tourism is beginning to return to both Las Vegas and Boston. Travel picked up almost instantly once restrictions were lifted between the U.S. and the U.K., he said, and the rest of Europe will do the same as their economies reopen.
Executive Decision: EngageSmart
For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with Bob Bennett, founder and CEO of EngageSmart ESMT, the software provider with shares that popped 31% on its first day of trading Thursday.
Bennett said he likes to keep things simple by making the customer experience better. That's why EngageSmart's platforms can handle everything from automated appointment scheduling and communications to paperless billing and electronic payments. They eliminate the need for paper checks, phone tag and endless headaches when trying to perform simple tasks.
One of EngageSmart's biggest clients in the government sector is the City of Boston, where his company makes the process of paying parking tickets as painless as it can be, given it's a parking ticket. The platform accepts all major credit cards, along with technologies like PayPal (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc Report and Venmo.
EngageSmart is in a number of verticals, Bennett said, but they still only have 1% market share, leaving plenty of room for growth.
What the Oil Industry Learned From Covid
At the beginning of 2020, Cramer had officially given up on oil and natural gas. Between the mounting environmental concerns and the reckless "drill baby drill" attitude of most oil producers, it had just gotten too hard to invest in fossil fuels. But then along came COVID and taught the industry a thing or two.
Cramer said the oil industry has learned discipline, and is no longer flooding the market with excess supply. Instead, it has learned to curtail its drilling and return excess cash to you, the shareholders, instead. So far this year, capital spending on drilling new wells is down 3%, despite the price of crude being higher. That means it's time for a change of heart, and Cramer offered up his new favorites in the oil patch.
First up were the variable dividend stocks. These companies adjust their dividend depending on how well they're doing. What a concept! Cramer's favs included Devon Energy (DVN) - Get Devon Energy Corporation Report, Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) - Get Pioneer Natural Resources Company Report and Diamondback Energy (FANG) - Get Diamondback Energy, Inc. Report.
Then there were some special situations, like Tellurian (TELL) - Get Tellurian Inc. Report, the liquified natural gas exporter with shares up 175% for the year. Cramer also recommended Denbury (DNR) - Get Denbury Resources Inc. Report and lastly, ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report, which was able to buy some great properties in the Permian Basin after Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) - Get Royal Dutch Shell Plc Sponsored ADR Class A Report was forced to sell.
We Need to Get Serious About Chips
In his No-Huddle Offense segment, Cramer said when it comes to the semiconductor shortage, our leaders need to change course and get serious about the problem.
The semiconductor industry has deep pockets, but they're too entrenched in their old ways, Cramer said. And if we wait for Washington to step in, we'll be waiting for a long time. The industry needs to adapt to the new normal where it's a lot harder to get chips from point A to point B.
We need to treat the chip shortage like a defense issue, Cramer said, and put investing in factories into the defense budget with actual generals in charge to see that it happens.
Unfortunately, Cramer said he doesn't expect to see anything out of the upcoming White House summit, as our leaders still haven't woken up to the actual size of the problem.
Here's what 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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At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS had a position in DIS, NUE.