Wednesday's positive news on Gilead's Remdesivir antiviral may seem insignificant, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers, but in the minds of investors, it represents the beginning of the end of COVID-19.
Cramer said the encouraging preliminary data today from Gilead Sciences (GILD) - Get Report that its drug Remdesivir reduced hospital stays from 15 days to 11 days and curbed mortality rates from 11% to 8% may seem like nominal progress, but it proves the virus responds to treatment, giving other companies a path forward.
Gilead shares added 5.6% to end at $83.14. The stock was up another 2% in after-hours trade.
Investors' positivity could be seen in Wednesday's earnings reports. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Report reported solid guidance going forward and Cramer said this company's opportunities for the second half of the year are gigantic. He was also bullish on Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report, as the coffee chain is back in business in China and will soon be doing the same here in the U.S.
Cramer was mixed on Boeing (BA) - Get Report and General Electric (GE) - Get Report. There's no denying that aerospace is not the place to be right now, but Boeing is shoring up its financial position, making any secondary offering a buy. That's not the case for GE however, which is shaping up to be a 2021 story.
We also heard from Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report, and the tech giant told investors that advertising is on the mend and the company is focused on profitability. Cramer was bullish on Alphabet and also Facebook (FB) - Get Report, the Action Alerts PLUS holding that pre-announced to the upside after the close.
Cramer and the AAP team are looking at everything from earnings and tariffs to the Federal Reserve. Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts Plus.
Executive Decision: Yum Brands
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with David Gibbs, CEO of Yum Brands YUM, parent company of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurant chains.
Gibbs first gave thanks to the 1.5 million workers at all of their restaurants for helping to feed the world in these difficult times. He said they still have 10,000 dining rooms closed, down from a peak of 11,000, but they remain open for drive-thru and delivery.
When asked about plans for reopening those shuttered dining rooms, Gibbs said they are following guidelines and are already implementing face masks and shields as well as taking employee temperatures as needed. Yum Brands is also taking care of their franchisees, offering to delay royalty payments to help boost liquidity in their time of need.
One bright spot for the company has been Pizza Hut. Gibbs said Pizza Hut is a great brand that's providing a lot of value with its contactless delivery option. In Japan, he said, revenues rose by 50% this past quarter.
After COVID-19, there will be a lot fewer restaurants in the world, Cramer concluded, but Yum Brands will be among them.
Executive Decision: Campbell Soup
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also sat down with Mark Clouse, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) - Get Report, the packaged foods maker that's seen a resurgence as consumers stock up their pantries with old favorites.
Clouse said while Campbell saw an initial surge of pantry restocking, in recent weeks the trend has shifted to changes in behavior. Consumers are spending more time at home, he said, and as they cook more, they need more of the ingredients Campbell provides. Sales have begun to slow slightly, he said, which is allowing them to restock shelves to keep up with increased demand.
When asked about their acquisition of snack foods makers Snyder's Lance, Clouse said even he underestimated the value of their snack food portfolio. He said Campbell is very strong in cookies, crackers and tortilla chips and that will only grow as they reinvigorate their great stable of brands.
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Executive Decision: ADP
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) - Get Report, the nation's largest payroll processor which on Wednesday cut its full-year forecasts amidst record-setting unemployment.
Rodriguez said he's seeing some indications that the economy has bottomed and is getting a general feeling that the worst is now behind us. He said new employment activities, like background checks, plummeted several weeks ago, but now have stabilized. This downturn was much worse than ones we've seen in the past, he said, both in magnitude and speed. Given the health nature of the crisis, he said, hopefully that means we will bounce back quickly.
When asked about the criticism surrounding the government's handling of small business relief, Rodriguez noted that ADP is ready to help in any way they can. They already have data on the millions of businesses they serve and can quickly get money to those who need it.
Best Option Available
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said we all want to avoid another Great Depression and sometimes that means having to choose the least bad option available. Fortunately, that's the option the President, Treasury, Federal Reserve and Congress are all trying to take.
Sure, the Payroll Protection Plan might not be perfect, and businesses who don't need it are taking funds away from those that do. But in the end, our government seems to be doing everything it can to ensure, at least for now, that no or few companies fail. Even our most troubled industries, from cruises to hotels and airlines have access to capital and are being allowed to survive. These plans may not be perfect, he said, but they're all we have.
Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Wednesday evening:
BP BP: "The only one you should buy is Chevron CVX."
Cerus CERS: "That's a good speculative stock."
TJX Companies TJX: "I'm all over this one. They are benefiting from all of the department stores struggling."
WestRock WRK: "The stock is bottoming. It's good for a trade."
RH RH: "I love RH. They are the best."
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in SBUX, GE, GOOGL, FB.