Moment by moment, the stock market may be controlled by hedge funds and day traders, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday, but over the long term, strong corporate earnings are what matters most, and today we had those in spades.
Wednesday was one of the more ridiculous days in the daily stranglehold these financial hooligans have over the stock market, he said.
Cramer explained this market was largely controlled be hedge funds, which mindlessly trade on the price of oil. For these funds, lower oil prices mean slowing global growth. But in reality, the vast majority of the U.S. economy benefits from lower oil prices. That's why the day-to-day gyrations of the markets should be ignored by individual investors, who need to stay focused on the long term.
That long-term view needs to include stocks IBM (IBM) - Get Report which roared higher by 8.4% on an impressive quarter. It should also include Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report , which gave terrific guidance that sent its shares up 4.8%. Then there's United Technologies (UTX) - Get Report and Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Report , up 5.3% and 5.9% respectively, on their impressive quarterly performance.
Cramer said all four of these stocks should remind investors that it's the long-term that matters most, not the hour-by-hour trading that money managers focus on.
Cramer and the AAP team say Abbott's (ABT) - Get Report results show the company is poised for growth. 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.
What About the Rest of Us?
If we want a capitalist democracy, the stock market needs to work for ordinary people, not just hedge funds, Cramer told viewers. These days, it seems like there's better officiating in football than there is with your retirement account.
Cramer said there was no reason for the 653-point market plunge on Dec. 24. There was no negative news in the market that day that would have caused that decline. What likely happened, he said, was a hedge fund needed to liquidate and there simply weren't enough buyers in a thinly-traded half-day session.
Why was this liquidation allowed to happen? Cramer said it's because none of the authorities seem to care. In football, if there are a lot of bad calls, the fans stop attending the games. In the stock market, there seems to be no such recourse for investors who have to endure the senseless volatility. Christmas Eve was one of several flash crashes the market has seen, and after each one, confidence is shaken and fewer players remain in the game.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says the market refs are gone, and flash crashes will continue. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Apple's Future in Healthcare Tech
Last Tuesday, Cramer posited that perhaps Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, should buy the privately-held medical records company, Epic Systems, and revolutionize healthcare by making a true universal medical records system. He said the response was so overwhelming that the idea deserved a follow up.
Apple is a beacon of innovation and empowerment, Cramer reiterated, and healthcare, as Apple CEO Tim Cook put it, may indeed be Apple's greatest contribution to humanity. Devices like the Apple Watch are are being tested by companies like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report , which just last week announced a new collaboration with Apple to study atrial fibrillation. These studies could be just the beginning for Apple.
Even if Epic decided not to sell itself to Apple, Cramer said Apple could buy Cerner (CERN) - Get Report , the next closest competitor, and help push a universal standard into existence. As it stands now, digital medical records are not universal, not even close. That means they're not working as they're supposed to and outcomes can't be tracked to help better lives or lower costs.
There's no incentive to fix the current system, Cramer concluded which is why Apple is the perfect company to disrupt and improve.
Cramer Does His Homework
In his "Homework" segment, Cramer followed up on a few stocks that had stumped him during earlier shows. He said that he'd take profits in chipmaker Smart Global Holdings (SGH) - Get Report , given the boom-and-bust nature of the semiconductors.
The stock may appear cheap trading at just four to five times earnings, but that's only true if the company can actually make their earnings. As an alternative, Cramer suggested Lam Research (LRCX) - Get Report .
When asked about Athenex (ATNX) - Get Report , which is developing cancer therapies, Cramer said he didn't have a good read on the company's science, but added that at current levels, the stock is not that risky. He advised investing only if you're willing to lose whatever money you put in.
Time to Reconsider Emerson?
Now that the industrial stocks have been pummeled, is it time to consider a stock like Emerson (EMR) - Get Report ? Cramer said this Action Alerts PLUS holding had big gains going into last October, but then plunged 30% after the Federal Reserve got tough on interest rates and the trade war with China began heating up.
Since then, the analysts have been divided on Emerson, with the bulls citing strength in the oil and gas market, while the bears focus on a slowing global economy. Shares are up 12% from their lows and yield 3.1%, but Cramer said he thinks it's still too early to invest in a group that needs a trade deal and a strengthening global economy to prosper.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in ABT, CMCSA, APPL, JNJ, PYPL.