For years, investors have been told that stock picking is too hard and the only practical way to invest was using only low-cost index funds. But Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday that if they do the research, there are plenty of ways to beat the averages that don't involve joining the Reddit rebellion.
Just today, we saw a number of easily attainable gains. Shares of Zillow Group (ZG) - Get Report surged 16.8% as people continue to flee the cities for the suburbs and homes that can support their new stay-at-home or hybrid work schedules. Zillow has become so popular, even Saturday Night Live recently did a parody of the real estate website. Zillow gives home buyers what they want, easy-to-use home buying tools and services that are working to make home buying a one-click purchase, Cramer said.
Then there's Sonos (SONO) - Get Report, the home entertainment company with shares that also rose 16% Thursday on strong earnings. Cramer said Sonos is another logical winner from pandemic. With people spending more time at home and watching more streaming video than ever, it makes sense that products from Sonos would be in demand.
Finally, Cramer called out the continued rally in the semiconductor equipment sector. As he highlighted Wednesday night, there's a huge semiconductor shortage brewing, which means a multi-year move in Lam Research (LRCX) - Get Report, KLA Corp. (KLAC) - Get Report and Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Report.
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Executive Decision: Hormel Foods
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Jim Snee, chairman and CEO of Hormel Foods (HRL) - Get Report, which today announced the acquisition of the Planters brand for $3.35 billion. Shares feel 3.3% on the news.
Snee said Hormel is very excited to include Planters into their brand family. He said Planters is the clear market leader in peanuts and cashews and is another billion-dollar brand for Hormel. The acquisition also gives Hormel deeper penetration in snacks and the ability to diversify their brand portfolio even more.
Hormel has a long history of being a terrific brand steward, Snee explained, and they're experts at building and repairing damaged brands as well. Adding Planters opens a lot of doorways for Hormel going forward.
Cramer said Planters is one of only a few beloved food brands in our country and this acquisition is another great win for Hormel.
Executive Decision: PayPal
For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with Dan Schulman, president and CEO, and John Rainey, CFO, of PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report, which just wrapped up their annual analyst day.
Schulman said the strength of PayPal lies in the strength of the brand. He said consumers around the world know and trust the PayPal brand and know the company stands up for its values. The advantage PayPal has is data, he continues. The platform processes over 30,000 transactions a minute and that data has allowed them to build in 130 security and privacy checks with every purchase. All of those checks, he added, happen in just a third of a second.
Rainey said they expect consumers to continue to gravitate toward digital wallets, even after the pandemic. Customers want to have easy access to their money no matter where they are and traditional banking is a thing of the past.
When asked about cryptocurrencies, Schulman explained that PayPal is taking a slow and responsible approach toward digital currencies. He said they've invested a lot of time in educating consumers on what cryptocurrencies are and they have limits around transactions so people can start slowly while they learn.
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Ready to Rumble: Match vs. Bumble
The online dating wars are heating up, with today's IPO of Bumble (BMBL) - Get Report rallying 63.5% on its first day of trading. But should investors choose the upstart, or seasoned veteran Match Group (MTCH) - Get Report? Cramer did the comparison.
Match began as Match.com and has evolved into a portfolio of dating brands that includes both Tinder and Our Time (for those over age 50). The company boasts over 11 million paying members and is the more mature company with higher profits.
Bumble includes its namesake as well as Badoo and a few smaller properties. Bumble's claim to fame is that it only allows women to make the first move on its service. The company is headed by Whitney Wolfe Herd, who today became the youngest female CEO to bring a company public. Bumble has 2.5 million paying members and negative earnings. Cramer said Bumble is where Match was a few years ago.
As for valuation, Match is valued at 16 times sales with 17% growth. Bumble is valued at 17 times sales, which is also expensive, but Bumble has higher growth, which makes it more appealing to investors.
In the end, Cramer said both companies are poised to profit as the economy recovers. If you're a growth investor, Bumble is clearly the stock for you. More cautious investors should also do well buying into Match.
In his No-Huddle Offense segment, Cramer explained what went through his mind after receiving his second COVID vaccination earlier Thursday and how to profit from them.
Cramer's first thought after getting vaccinated was an incredible urge to go out to eat. He said this will be problematic for the many food delivery services. These stocks will hit a wall in their growth once going out is once again an option for everyone.
Here's what Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Thursday evening:
XL Group XL: "This is one of the better EV plays but we need to wait for the quarter."
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in DIS.