Don't be misled by last quarter's bear market, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Tuesday. Today we learned we're no longer fighting the Federal Reserve, he said, and that means it's time to start buying stocks again.
At first glance, Fed chairman Jay Powell's comments before Congress Tuesday may have looked negative. Powell identified several pockets of weakness in our economy and less robustness overall. But in reality, a weakening economy takes the possibility of additional interest rate hikes off the table, and that's great news for the stock market.
We mustn't forget that it was Powell's comments last October that kicked off what became a self-inflicted bear market. Back then, the Fed was only concerned with the unemployment rate, and chose to ignore signs of weakness in housing, autos and retail, just to name a few. But today, Powell acknowledged all of these areas directly, comforting investors that the Fed sees the same economy as the rest of us.
Cramer said that's why he'd be a buyer of stocks like Home Depot (HD) - Get Report , which got crushed in the fourth quarter as housing froze, but is now poised to begin its seasonal spring thaw. He also liked Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Report , despite today's analyst downgrade. He said Caterpillar is exactly the stock to own if you think a resolution to the trade war is near.
Now that the facts have changed, we no longer need to fear the Federal Reserve, Cramer concluded and that's very welcome news.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says he's sticking with AutoZone (AZO) - Get Report . Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Off the Charts: Altria
Collins first looked at a weekly chart comparing Altria to its international sibling, Phillip Morris (PM) - Get Report . He noted several Fibonacci levels, including a 38.2% pullback in 2015 and early 2016, a 61.8% pullback in 2017 and a 50% decline this year that signals more upside is ahead.
Collins next looked at a daily chart of Altria and confirmed his bullish thesis with an inverse head-and-shoulders formation that should end at $56.50 a share. He noted a bullish crossover of the 21-day moving average over the 50-day moving average and a bullish relative strength indicator.
Stick With Your Theme
Investors can rack up significant gains by finding a long-term theme and getting in early, Cramer told viewers. That's certainly the case with 5G wireless, he said, as he unveiled one additional stock that can benefit from this next-generation wireless buildout.
It was only three weeks ago that Cramer highlighted both Ericsson (ERIC) - Get Report and Nokia (NOK) - Get Report as big winners in the telco equipment space. Since then, Cramer added Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) - Get Report , Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report and Xilinx (XLNX) - Get Report to the list.
But with the annual Mobile World Congress, now known as just the MWC Conference, getting under way, Cramer said that Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Report , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, should also be added to the 5G list, as Cisco is pushing hard into 5G with new products and services. Shares of Cisco are already up 18% for the year, but Cramer said there's still lots of room for this stock to run higher.
Executive Decision: Charles River Labs
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Jim Foster, chairman, president and CEO at Charles River Labs (CRL) - Get Report , a stock that's up 74% since Cramer first got behind the company three years ago.
Foster explained that of the 59 drugs that were brought to market in 2018, Charles River worked on 85% of them. This is especially significant as many of those approved drugs are filling unmet needs for rare diseases.
Foster added that Charles River helps the biotech and big pharma industries bring drugs to market faster and for less cost than other alternatives. Smaller biotech simply don't have the resources to bring their discoveries to market, he said, while big pharma sees big gains by outsourcing their clinical trials.
When asked about the wave of recent consolidation in biotech, Foster said that he believes it's better for biotech to be stand-alone companies in the beginning, giving them maximum flexibility to try new things and learn. When it comes time to bring products to market however, it is often too expensive to go it alone.
Cramer and the AAP team are trimming PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report for a nice gain. get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts Plus.
It Depends on the Retailer
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer pondered which was more important, a 1% decline in same-store sales or a $15 billion stock buyback and a 32% dividend boost. His conclusion? It depends on the retailer.
If you're talking about the average retailer, a miss is a miss, Cramer said. But if you're talking about Home Depot, then you should believe the buyback and the dividend, as this company is showing incredible confidence in its business going into the seasonally strong spring gardening season.
During the fourth quarter, the housing market ground to a halt. But now that the Fed is no longer a factor, the housing market may return for the spring selling season as well. Cramer said if Home Depot itself is buying its stock, then he is, too.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in PYPL, CSCO.