There's a widespread belief that you can't get into this market without losing money, but Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday that's simply not true. If you stick with long-term themes that are working, you can most certainly make money. Some of those themes include cybersecurity, self-care products, the digitization of everything and financial empowerment.
Case in point: Affirm Holdings (AFRM) , the "buy now, pay later" service that saw its shares rocket higher, ending Thursday up 18.3% after the company announced a new partnership with Amazon (AMZN) . Cramer spoke with Max Levchin, Affirm's founder, chairman and CEO, to learn more.
Over on Real Money, Jim Cramer writes: 'Remember when we divided companies into those that could thrive in a COVID environment and those that would falter?' Now, he says, we have a new standard: Which companies are doing better than they did in 2019? Find out which stocks do exactly that, and get more of Cramer's investing strategies on Real Money.
Levchin explained that merchants choose Affirm because it offers a full suite of services that give them the safety and control of installment payments while giving customers the most flexibility possible in how they want to pay. Installments is not an easy thing to accomplish, he said, which is why Affirm's decade of experience is proving to be so valuable. The company has successfully used technology to solve a puzzle that many others have failed to solve.
When asked why consumers flock to Affirm, Levchin said that younger people need to buy things and they've learned the hard way that credit cards are working against them with sky-high interest rates, late fees and countless hidden charges. Affirm is fast, flexible and totally transparent, and because it uses technology, it doesn't offer payment terms that consumers can't afford to repay.
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Executive Decision: CrowdStrike
For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with George Kurtz, co-founder, president and CEO of CrowdStrike (CRWD) , the cybersecurity company with shares up 111% over the past year.
Kurtz said the threat of cyberattack has never been greater, with ransomware attacks continuing to gain in frequency and severity. He said that hackers will now steal a copy of your data before encrypting the copies on your network. If companies opt not to pay, the stolen data will then be used for extortion, leaving companies with a lose-lose situation.
Adding to the "big mess" is cryptocurrency, which allows hackers to make off with their ransoms often undetected, and the international nature of the Internet, which makes finding and prosecuting the offenders nearly impossible. Little can be done about hackers outside of the U.S., Kurtz noted.
Companies are also putting themselves at risk by using legacy software and technologies from Microsoft (MSFT) and other vendors, Kurtz said. These systems were not designed for today's security needs and cannot take advantage of cloud technologies that allow intrusions to be detected quickly.
Cybersecurity is a long-term theme that's not going away any time soon, Cramer concluded.
Executive Decision: Ulta Beauty
For his third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer went on location to one of Ulta Beauty's (ULTA) newest stores to speak with CEO Dave Kimbell. Ulta just reported strong quarterly earnings that included a 13% rise in same-store sales.
Kimbell said he's proud of Ulta's latest results and the adaptability and flexibility of his entire team throughout the pandemic. He said Ulta's stores showcase the best Ulta has to offer in skincare, haircare, fragrance and makeup, all of which have seen steady improvements throughout 2021.
When asked about the new partnership with Target (TGT) , Kimbell said he's very excited about the possibilities for Ulta with Target. Their goal was not simply to drop an Ulta store inside Target, but rather to build a totally new experience that will focus on guests in new ways. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's a new connection to self-care and wellness, he said, and Ulta allows guests to experience beauty on their own terms.
Turning to the holidays, Kimbell said Ulta will be ready for their 34 million loyalty club members, despite continued supply chain disruptions.
Kimbell ended by noting Ulta's commitment to diversity. He said the company is proud of its accomplishments so far, but also realizes there's a lot more work to be done.
Executive Decision: UiPath
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in Daniel Dines, chairman and CEO of UiPath (PATH) , the robotic automation process company that saw its shares dip 3.6% Thursday as the lockup period for its recent IPO expired.
Dines explained that UiPath's software emulates human actions and can perform a wide range of tasks. Customers use the platform for everything from finance to back office functions and depend on UiPath for reliable, scalable systems that can grow with their businesses.
When asked about competition, Dines said that UiPath is years ahead of the competition in their space and no other company is taking the path that the company has taken.
Dines added that when evaluating the business, annual recurring revenue, or ARR, is a great measure for how things are going. While growth is a primary driver for the company, it carefully invests to provide stable results.
Back to the Future - 2019
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer offered viewers the secret to making money in today's market. He told them to forget about 2020 and look for companies that are exceeding their 2019 earnings instead.
It's clear that stocks like Zoom Video (ZM) and Clorox (CLX) were both pandemic stocks that rose as the outbreak began, but are now decelerating as the pandemic lingers on. But there are companies bucking this trend, stocks like DoorDash (DASH) , Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) , RH (RH) and DocuSign (DOCU) . Cramer said all of these companies are doing better than they were in 2019 and their share prices reflect it. These are great companies that are built for the long haul.
Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the "Mad Money Lightning Round" Thursday evening:
Inseego (INSG) : "I'm not happy with how this stock acts. It's down 45% and I think it deserves to be."
Service Corp (SCI) : "I'm going to say no to this one right now."
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) : "I'm surprised how far it's fallen but I can't advise selling it down here."
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AMZN MSFT.