What's the most important stock of the day? That depends on when you ask, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday. Cramer explained that every day, he looks at the early trading and determines the zeitgeist of the market, the big themes that will drive investors' thinking. But then he must filter and prioritize those results based on what investors already know and where they'll likely be headed next.
In today's market, the themes of supply chain disruptions and higher interest rates continued to be top of mind. But investing in the banks seemed too obvious. Investors have already raised their expectations for the financials.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says companies don't become best-of-breed unless they are the best in everything they do. Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report hangs in the balance. See what he says about Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, Google (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report and Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report.
Cramer then considered recommending oil. However, he highlighted several oil drillers last week, including Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report, Devon Energy (DVN) - Get Devon Energy Corporation Report and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) - Get Pioneer Natural Resources Company Report, along with Diamondback Energy (FANG) - Get Diamondback Energy, Inc. Report and natural gas exporter Tellurian (TELL) - Get Tellurian Inc. Report.
China and the ongoing semiconductor shortage also registered in Cramer's mind, he said, but here too, everyone already expects Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report to do well this quarter and stocks like Micron Technology (MU) - Get Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) Report, which reports Tuesday, could swing that group in either direction.
Cramer said he also considered recommending travel and leisure stocks like American Express (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report, which has exposure to both travel and interest rates. Ultimately, Cramer said he settled on Best Buy (BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report, the technology retailer that has slipped from investors' minds, but received an analyst upgrade Monday. He said Best Buy's new at-home tech support service still has yet to bear any fruit for the company, which gives it the potential for a nice upside surprise as COVID marches on.
Executive Decision: Union Pacific
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Lance Fritz, chairman, president and CEO of Union Pacific (UNP) - Get Union Pacific Corporation Report, the railroad working to keep goods flowing across our country.
Fritz explained that the crisis at our ports continues, largely due to a continued labor shortage and the Delta variant. He said generous unemployment benefits and COVID are combining to keep people from work, which has led to a shortage of truck drivers and warehouse workers needed to move products efficiently. When we get COVID under control, he said, people will slowly come back to work.
When asked how long that might take, Fritz said he views many of the industry's problems as transitory, but it will likely take more than six months to fully recover.
As for Union Pacific's earnings, Fritz said that his railroad remains prudent and fluid and is doing fine despite all of these unprecedented challenges. Rail is just one part of the overall supply chain however, so there's only so much they can do when containers are stuck at ports and trucks are waiting for drivers to take them to warehouses at the other end.
Get Ready for the Metaverse
With major technology companies all starting to talk about the Metaverse, Cramer told viewers it's time to start taking notice. What is the Metaverse? It's a place where virtual reality, the Internet and gaming all come together to build 3D worlds where participants interact with one another. It's also a place investors should start paying attention to.
But Unity isn't alone in talking about the Metaverse. Chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report also plays a key role in virtual simulations and is talking about how its chips will power worlds like the Metaverse. Facebook is working on 3D worlds thanks to its Oculus acquisition, although Cramer noted the company's ongoing social responsibility issues are weighing on their stock.
Update on Delta
In a special interview, Cramer spoke with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, for an update on the pandemic and the Delta variant. Gottlieb just released a new book, titled "Uncontrolled Spread," which outlines the nation's missteps and its achievements.
Gottlieb said America needs to start looking at public health as a national security issue. COVID-19 won't be the last pandemic we'll face, he said, yet many of the shortcomings we discovered at the CDC and other agencies two years ago still exist today.
When asked about the speed at which COVID vaccines were developed, Gottlieb explained that we were at a technological sweet spot. Five years earlier and we would have needed to create the vaccines the old way, which would have taken years. And five years from now, he added, the technology used will be even faster and far more commonplace.
Gottlieb did not take a political stance on America's COVID response. He said while there were major missteps made and politicization where there shouldn't have been, there were also a lot of triumphs and things to be proud of, not the least of which are America's front-line healthcare workers.
Great Tech Stocks Stay Steady
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer reminded viewers that when interest rates rise and the market rotates away from technology, those great tech stocks don't just go away, they become a lot cheaper.
So while it makes sense to invest in energy or infrastructure right now, you shouldn't throw away your shares of Apple, Amazon or Microsoft. All of these tech giants know how to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in changing times, Cramer said.
The only outlier, Cramer said, is Facebook, which must obey its advertisers that are becoming increasingly annoyed with the company's reckless behavior. Facebook can no longer be put in the same category as Amazon, Cramer concluded, which has always been best-of-breed.
Here's what Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the "Mad Money Lightning Round" Monday evening:
Moneygram International (MGI) - Get MoneyGram International, Inc. Report: "I'm not a huge fan of Moneygram when compared to PayPal (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc Report or Square (SQ) - Get Square, Inc. Class A Report."
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At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS had a position in FB, AAPL, AMZN, GOOGL, MSFT, NVDA.