The market may have roared higher on the news of another business bailout, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers on Wednesday, but some of the best performing stocks rallied for different reasons.
The government is helping, but this market is actually rewarding companies that are showing leadership, that actually have a heart, Cramer said, quoting Salesforce.com (CRM) - Get Report CEO Marc Benioff: "Business is the greatest platform for social change."
Case in point: Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) - Get Report, the restaurant chain that despite seeing a 35% drop in same-store sales, still managed to rally 12% by the close. Chipotle is known for its industry-leading employee benefits and its behavior during this pandemic exemplifies that. Cramer said the company is perfectly positioned for the stay-at-home economy.
Then there's Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report, everyone's go-to destination for entertainment while stuck at home. Netflix has pledged $150 million to help support content creators who are unable to work during the pandemic.
Even chipmaker Texas Instruments (TXN) - Get Report was able to reassure investors on its conference call today, saying it was following its 2008 recession playbook to emerge from this storm stronger than where it started.
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Executive Decision: MarketAxess Holdings
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Richard McVey, founder and CEO of MarketAxess Holdings (MKTX) - Get Report, the online bond trading platform helping to keep credit markets flowing in uncertain times.
McVey said that MarketAxess has benefited from the coronavirus pandemic, both because trading volume has increased and because they are taking market share. He said it's almost hard to believe that in just 30 days they went from normal trading to a completely virtual, work-from-home environment without any disruptions.
Unlike the 2008 recession, where trading volumes declined, McVey said that during this crisis, volumes have exceeded 12.5 million trades per day.
Customers are embracing electronic bond trading because it's faster, more convenient and allows their clients to complete more trades per day, McVey added. That's why MarketAxess is adding more firms and more traders to its platform.
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Rough Times for Retailers
The real casualty of this pandemic might be retail, Cramer told viewers. The coronavirus is crushing good retailers and bad ones alike, as consumers realize that the mall is filled with things they just don't need.
The whole mall is dying, Cramer said. From big retailers like Macy's (M) - Get Report and Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Report to discounters like Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report and even the retail REITs like EPR Properties (EPR) - Get Report. Consumers are quickly shifting to buying online, leaving most of the stores in the mall without a reason to exist. Why go to Kohl's when Nike (NKE) - Get Report will ship your shoes right to you?, Cramer asked.
The only retailers likely to survive this pandemic are those with scale and those with excellent digital businesses. That means Walmart (WMT) - Get Report, Target (TGT) - Get Report and Costco (COST) - Get Report, along with Home Depot (HD) - Get Report and Lowe's (LOW) - Get Report will survive, but probably not much else.
Executive Decision: Digital Realty Trust
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Bill Stein, CEO of Digital Realty Trust (DLR) - Get Report, the data center REIT with a 3% yield. Shares of Digital Realty are up 16% from their recent lows.
Stein said that sustainability is one of Digital Realty's top priorities. That's why they announced a new agreement to power all of their Dallas-based data centers via renewable wind power. Customers are demanding renewable energy, he said, and Digital Realty is aligned with their customers.
When asked about growth, Stein said his company's market cap was $15 billion in 2016 but tops $40 billion today. He said their global platform offers a full suite of services from small business to the largest of enterprises.
Stein said demand for data centers has increased during the pandemic as companies are forced to accelerate their digital transformations. He said according to a recent survey, 74% of companies said they plan to keep at least parts of their workforces working from home. Digital Realty has donated $1 million to help find a vaccine for COVID-19.
Executive Decision: Thomas H. Lee Partners
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer welcomed Scott Sperling, co-president of the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners.
Sperling said his firm has been hard at work, focusing first and foremost on the health and safety of the employees across their portfolio of companies. He said they're also making sure that each of their companies has enough liquidity to weather six to 12 months of uncertainty.
Sperling is also the chairman of Mass General Brigham, one of our nation's largest healthcare systems. When asked about the state of the pandemic, Sperling said vaccines are still likely a year away, but in the meantime, they're seeing progress on the treatment of the disease, lessening systems so fewer people need to be put on ventilators, where mortality rates are higher. He said over time, our treatment of the disease will improve with both new drugs and new treatments, which in turn will free up more beds in hospitals.
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:
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