You'll need a lot more than a weatherman to pick winning stocks, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Tuesday, but it always helps to know which way the winds are blowing. That's because in this market, stocks are being buffeted by both headwinds and tailwinds -- often at the same time.
Case in point, today's earnings from PepsiCo (PEP - Get Report) , which were widely panned for a five-cent cut in the company's forecasts. But Cramer noted that the weakness stemmed from a strong dollar, not from weak demand for Pepsi's products. That means the weakness is only temporary, not systemic. Add to that rising aluminum prices, which can be offset by switching to plastics, and rising labor costs which can eventually be offset by self-driving vehicles, and Cramer concluded PepsiCo is still a buy.
Then there's today's announcement that Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Cramer said that may be great for workers, but wage inflation is the one thing that will spur the Federal Reserve into raising interest rates more aggressively, which is bad for the markets.
Given all of these mixed messages, how can the market still hit new all-time highs?
Cramer said there are two stealth tailwinds at play that no one talks about. First, full employment brings more savings and that means more money flowing into stocks on a constant basis. Second, there's a shortage of shares for that money to buy, thanks to mergers, acquisitions and stock buyback programs. The market runs on supply and demand after all, and growing demand with shrinking supply means prices head higher.
Cramer and the AAP team take a closer look at Garrett Motion Inc., Honeywell's (HON - Get Report) spinoff. 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.
Off the Charts: Semiconductors
In his "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer checked in with colleague Carolyn Boroden over the charts of some of the hottest semiconductor stocks.
Boroden felt the same about another high flyer, Broadcom (AVGO - Get Report) , which is up $50 from its lows. The stock's last move higher was $54, and with a ceiling of resistance $3 up from current levels, shares may struggle before resuming higher.
That was not the case with one of the laggards in the group, Intel (INTC - Get Report) , which has support in the $42 to $44 a share level. If Intel can deliver its newest chips on time, the charts indicate the stock could have a good run.
Finally, Boroden looked at another legacy chipmaker, Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) , noting that this stock has seen several declines in the $16 range, just like the current one, signaling a reversal to the upside is likely.
Executive Decision: Paychex
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Marty Mucci, president and CEO of Paychex (PAYX - Get Report) , ahead of Friday's all-important employment number. Shares of Paychex were up 1.4% Tuesday on the company's strong earnings report.
Mucci said Paychex had a solid quarter with earnings that rose 16%. That growth was driven by his company's solid portfolio of products that provides HR services for small and mid-size businesses. Now more than ever, Paychex is using data analytics to help drive referrals and target new customers, especially small ones, better than ever.
In a competitive labor market like this, Mucci added, it's more important than ever for companies to offer great benefits to their employees, and that's where Paychex can help.
Finally, when asked about competition from Square (SQ - Get Report) , Mucci said that Square's new payroll system isn't competitive as it's not available in all 50 states, needs to be filed four days in advance and doesn't support both the employee as well as the employer.
What's Going on with GE
Why did General Electric (GE - Get Report) really fire CEO John Flannery after just 18 months on the job? It wasn't about the speed of the turnaround, Cramer said, it was about the problems that Flannery should have seen coming.
There's a real aversion in corporate America to looking at past mistakes and learning from them, Cramer said. Flannery, as a GE insider, would have been looked poorly upon had he dissected the many mistakes made by his predecessor, Jeff Immelt. Thus he forged ahead and boldly told the board there were no more surprises ahead. But there were.
In retrospect, GE failed to invest in its two up-and-coming industries: healthcare and aerospace, while doubling down on energy and oil and gas at both of those industry's peak. Meanwhile, GE's long-term care policies were easily costing the company 20 times more than the premiums being paid by customers.
So while the board of directors at GE was totally clueless, it was Flannery that took the hit on these totally foreseeable charges the company must now take. An outsider like Larry Culp -- the first outsider in the company's history -- has no legacy to preserve, Cramer concluded, and can take all of the write-downs he needs to get things back on track.
Over on Real Money, Cramer talks about the real reasons for the problems at General Electric (GE - Get Report) . Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer reminded viewers that it's important they always make their own decisions and not rely on a single analyst or piece of research. Even he sometimes gets it wrong, as today's 35% decline in Stitch Fix (SFIX - Get Report) proved.
That's why Cramer wanted to explain what analyst Jay Sole's bearish call in June missed about the discount retailers like TJX Companies (TJX - Get Report) , Ross Stores (ROST - Get Report) and Burlington Stores (BURL - Get Report) , among others.
Sole's thesis was that as more people shop online, those retailers without a strong online presence will flounder.
Cramer said while that may be true over the long-term, ever since the recession, these discount retailers have been flourishing, as consumers got more frugal and bigger chains continue to downsize, providing the discount retailers with a ton of great merchandise to sell. You simply cannot discount the treasure hunt experience at these retailers. That was clearly evident this quarter, when all three posted terrific gains.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Proofpoint (PFPT - Get Report) , PayPal (PYPL - Get Report) , Square (SQ - Get Report) , Salesforce.com (CRM - Get Report) and Cypress Semiconductor (CY - Get Report) .
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