Any time stocks take a big leap forward, we have to ask, "have we moved too far, too fast?" That was the question Jim Cramer pondered with his Mad Money viewers Tuesday, after a big market leap to the upside. According to Cramer, earnings continue to be better than expected, and that makes stocks the best game in town.
Cramer even went as far as to compare the Nasdaq of today to that of 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst. He noted that back then, the market was loaded with stocks that were either wildly expensive or just plain worthless. The same is not true today.
In 2000, the Nasdaq's leaders included four household names, Microsoft(MSFT) - Get Report , Cisco Systems(CSCO) - Get Report , Intel(INTC) - Get Report and Oracle(ORCL) - Get Report . But back then, these four stocks traded at 59, 179, 126 and 87 times earnings respectively. Today, these four stocks trade at a far more reasonable 20, 17, 13 and 16 times earnings, despite having far better balance sheets and stock buyback programs.
In fact, the only wildly expensive stocks remain Amazon.com(AMZN) - Get Report and Netflix(NFLX) - Get Report . But even Amazon trades at roughly the same multiple as Intel did 16 years ago and the company has huge momentum and massive cash flows that could flow to the bottom line if Amazon chose to do so.
That's why Cramer said he refuses to call the market overvalued, and why he thinks many of the growth stocks making up the Nasdaq could head still higher.
Meanwhile, over on Real Money, Cramer says alternatives to stocks -- things like bonds, gold and real estate -- seem very expensive compared to owning stocks. Get his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Off the Charts
In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer checked in with colleague Mark Sebastian over the state of the market as viewed through the eyes of the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) , known more commonly by its ticker, the VIX.
Sebastian first looked at a two-year chart comparing the S&P 500 and the VIX, noting that for every big advance in the markets, there was a corresponding decline in the VIX. As our election approached last November, the VIX surged higher, from 13 to 22. But after the election, the market surged, and the VIX plunged 50% in less than a month.
Zooming in to just the past month, Sebastian saw a similar pattern, as the VIX surged ahead of the French elections, only to plummet this week as the markets once again surged. Sebastian said the S&P could hit new highs at 2,450 given how far the VIX has fallen.
Watch for Buying Opportunities
It's not just earnings fueling this bull market, acquisitions are as well, Cramer told viewers. Last week we learned of two more deals that the markets seemingly glossed over, and that has created a buying opportunity for those paying attention.
First up was Post Holdings(POST) - Get Report buying the U.K.-based Weetabix. Cramer said the market didn't seem to care about this deal, but it's actually a big deal. Post is the third-largest cereal maker in the U.S. with beloved brands like Shredded Wheat and Raisin Bran, but the company is 93% domestic. Weetabix is purely an international player, distributing goods in 290 countries. That makes this combination a big deal that Post says will immediately boost the company's earnings and free cash flow.
Then there's Cardinal Health(CAH) - Get Report buying three divisions of Medtronic(MDT) - Get Report for $6.1 billion. Cramer said investors choose to focus on the company's estimate cuts for 2017 and 2018, announced on the same day, rather than the acquisition, which is expected to add 22 cents a share to earnings in 2018 and 55 cents a share in 2019. Investors complain that the company is too levered to its ailing drug distribution business, but gave it no credit for the acquisition that will allow it to diversify away from this division.
Executive Decision: Briggs & Stratton
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO of engine maker Briggs & Stratton(BGG) - Get Report , which soared to three-year highs despite posting just a penny-a-share earnings beat and reaffirming existing guidance forecasts. Shares of Briggs are up 15% on just the past month.
Teske said that Briggs' strength stems from strong execution and a repositioning of its portfolio away from the residential market and into more commercial products. In the residential market, Teske said, the high-end has been strong, but they are now starting to see a pickup in starter homes and step-up homes.
The real opportunity for Briggs is in the commercial market, Teske added, saying that the company has just a 10% market share -- but new innovations, like engines that have a 500-hour maintenance window compared to the typical 100-hour window, are really making a difference.
When asked about the effects of steel tariffs, Teske said that tariffs are still in the early stages but they're keeping a close eye on all of their material costs. He noted that 85% of Briggs' products are still made in the U.S., but a shortage of skilled labor remains a problem.
Cramer said this quarter might be the tipping point for Briggs, which is a lot less dependent on the weather and residential products.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Bank of America(BAC) - Get Report , Sage Therapeutics(SAGE) - Get Report , ILG(ILG) - Get Report , Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) , Marriott Vacations Worldwide(VAC) - Get Report and Sprint(S) - Get Report .
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on the three earnings reports today that had him doing a double take. He said that Caterpillar(CAT) - Get Report reported a stunning $1.28 a share in earnings, as compared to estimates of just 62 cents a share. The company demonstrated huge operating leverage and has a big backlog of business to drive it forward.
Finally, there was McDonald's(MCD) - Get Report , which shot up 5.5% today on a 4% jump in same-store sales. Cramer said McDonald's continues to show real strength in leadership and execution and has re-energized the entire operation.
Cramer and the AAP team note that Arconic(ARNC) - Get Report reported very strong first-quarter results. Find out what they are telling their investment club members about the company's proxy battle. Get a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had positions in ARNC and CSCO.