If we've learned anything from the stock market lately, it's that conventional wisdom has been wrong at every step, Jim Cramer admitted to his Mad Money viewers Monday. That's why the markets are hitting all-time highs while still in the middle of a raging pandemic.
In this market, patience is not a virtue, research is irrelevant and discipline doesn't really matter, Cramer said. The strategy that's working is simply to buy the most obvious stocks you can think of. The market's mantra is "get long or be wrong," and to not believe has been a costly mistake.
Case in point: Darden Restaurants (DRI) - Get Report, owner of Olive Garden and other popular chains. When the pandemic began, sales at Darden plunged, forcing the company to slash its dividend. Shares soon followed suit, but have since returned to their pre-pandemic levels. Why? Because investors are looking past COVID-19 to a world where Darden has less competition, as up to 40% of independent restaurants are expected to fail.
Then there's Honeywell International (HON) - Get Report. With aerospace and travel still in shambles, there's no justification for this stock to be hitting new highs. But again, investors are looking past the pandemic.
Finally, Cramer highlighted Walt Disney Co. (DIS) - Get Report, another stock returning to pre-pandemic levels. Most of Disney's parks are still closed, its cruises are shuttered, movies have been delayed and ESPN has few sports to offer viewers. But all of that doesn't matter to investors. Investors have faith that Disney will be the go-to place for entertainment once COVID vaccines are available.
Cramer said this is a prime example of youthful investing. No seasoned money manager would take these risks, but younger investors have little fear and an abundance of faith. That faith may seem out of place given what we see with new COVID cases spiking, but as a trading strategy, it's been working.
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The Vaccine Pipeline
Now that the drug makers are coming down the home stretch of a COVID-19 vaccine, our biggest challenge now becomes distributing it to hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of people around the globe. Cramer laid out his favorite companies stepping up to the challenge.
Among the challenges for vaccines are that they must be kept super cold. That means companies like UPS (UPS) - Get Report, which are expanding into cold-chain logistics, are an excellent investment. Investors can also consider FedEx (FDX) - Get Report and freezer maker Carrier (CARR) - Get Report.
The final step in the distribution chain will be drug stores like CVS Health (CVS) - Get Report, which could see $4 a share in earnings from a COVID vaccine. Cramer liked CVS along with retailer Costco (COST) - Get Report. Other players included Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA) - Get Report, Kroger (KR) - Get Report and Walmart (WMT) - Get Report.
Executive Decision: Palo Alto Networks
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks (PANW) - Get Report, the cybersecurity company with shares up 26% in just the past month.
Arora said that Palo Alto Networks continues to focus on the secular trends of companies moving from the data center to the cloud and from sensors to artificial intelligence. When they look at opportunity, they see a total addressable market in excess of $100 billion, he said.
Arora added that Palo Alto Networks has always been focused on the future and the future revolves around data, and by extension, data security. The company has made nine recent acquisitions, including the recently announced deal with Expanse, another great product that will be rolled into the Palo Alto product family.
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Executive Decision: Corsair Gaming
Paul said that for as strong as sales have been for Corsair so far, there's still only a fraction of gamers that have stepped up to premium PCs and accessories. He said the total market for Corsair remains huge.
For those without the time or inclination to build their own gaming PC, Paul said Corsair has prebuilt and configured units ready and waiting, many of which feature industry-leading graphics from Nvidia (NVDA) - Get Report.
When asked what's driving their growth, Paul explained that just like with sports, when you have better gear, you play better. And when you play better, you enjoy the activity that much more.
Better Under Biden
In his No-Huddle Offense segment, Cramer said even after the market's monster run, Wall Street is still happy that they will soon have a president who's softer on trade and plans to address climate change.
Nothing makes Wall Street happier than a divided Congress with few surprises, Cramer explained. But after four years of trade wars and tariffs, investors are looking forward to a softer stance on trade that will buoy many stocks from Boeing (BA) - Get Report and Apple (AAPL) - Get Report to Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report and Nike (NKE) - Get Report.
As for climate change, most CEOs welcome cleaner air and renewable energy. In fact, less drilling for oil will actually help the oil stocks, Cramer said, as we've got too much oil supply as it is.
Here's what Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Monday evening:
Pershing Square Tontine PSTH: "It's hard for me to recommend it. I'm gonna hold off on this one."
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in HON, DIS, CVS, COST, NVDA, SBUX, AAPL.