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What the heck is ailing the stock market? That was the question Jim Cramer posited to his Mad Money viewers Monday. Is it the looming election, the Federal Reserve or a weakening consumer? Maybe it's all of the above. But whatever the reason or reasons, it's giving investors just as good a reason to sell stocks as it is to buying them.
Cramer said the "malaise" that Jimmy Carter spoke of in 1979, when long gas lines and a growing sense of hopelessness ruled the day, seems to have once again befallen America. The weakening economic numbers coming out almost daily is made all the more confusing by Fed watchers pounding the table for faster interest rate hikes.
Meanwhile, sectors such as the airlines are being impacted by fears of terrorism and restaurants are being impacted by too many restaurants competing for a limited number of diners. The "too much of everything" syndrome extends to retail as well, Cramer noted, as dollar stores compete with discounters that compete with club stores, mall stores and department stores, all of which compete with Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report .
Technology is not immune either, Cramer added, which has led to a wave of acquisitions in the semiconductor space in particular.
But in the end, stocks are still the best game in town given low interest rates. Some stocks, like Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report , which shot up 20.5% today on strong subscriber growth, can still amaze.
Know Your IPO
In his "Know Your IPO" segment, Cramer followed up on the stock of cloud-services provider Nutanix (NTNX) - Get Nutanix, Inc. Class A Report , which at its debut last week was the hottest initial public offering of 2016.
After soaring over 131% during its first day of trading, shares of Nutanix fell out of favor quickly, falling to just over $30 a share today. Cramer said there's lots to love about the company, including accelerating 88% revenue growth last quarter and a long list of impressive customers across varied industries.
But what's not to love about Nutanix is how the company came public, with a sliver deal of just 14.8 million shares, purposely designed to inflate demand at the IPO while another 122 million shares wait in reserve. Shortly after the company's lock-up period expires on March 29, Cramer said, Nutanix will offer more shares in a secondary offering, one that will clobber existing shareholders.
We've seen this pattern many times before, Cramer said, including recently with Twilio( WLO) , which fell over 25% in just a week after its secondary, and with Acacia Communications (ACIA) - Get Acacia Communications, Inc. Report , which just doubled its share count in a single offering.
Until Nutanix has its secondary, Cramer said the stock won't be able to find a solid footing, which is why investors need to steer clear until then.
Look to Video Games
When the markets fret over a slowing economy, Cramer told viewers to circle around the long-term themes that don't need a strong economy, themes like video games, which is a $23.5 billion market.
Fortunately, the gaming industry has multiple ways to win, Cramer said, including chipmakers Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report , which has nearly doubled in 2016, and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report , which has shot up 132% so far this year. Both companies are well run and poised for continued growth.
Then there are the game developers themselves, mainly Activision Blizzard (ATVI) - Get Activision Blizzard, Inc. Report , Electronic Arts (EA) - Get Electronic Arts Inc. Report and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) - Get Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Report . Cramer said EA is the safest bet, trading at 20 times earnings, while Activision offers more upside, but also more risk. Take-Two is the most expensive of the group , he noted, but would still be a buy into any weakness.
Perhaps the only segment to be avoided are the game retailers, including GameStop (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report , which trades at a scant six times earnings but still earned a spot in Cramer's penalty box.
Defining the Future
In a special "Defining the Future" interview, Cramer sat down with Sylvia Acevedo, Interim CEO of the Girl Scouts, to talk about how the business of selling cookies has entered the digital age.
Acevedo explained the Girl Scout cookie business brings in $800 million a year and most of that revenue stays in the communities where it's generated. She noted the Girl Scouts are on the leading edge of non-profit selling.
Leadership and technology have both been core areas of focus for the Girl Scouts, Acevedo said, and that's why moving at least a part of the cookie selling process online will only bolster girls' understanding of business and the Internet.
Acevedo acknowledged that your favorite Girl Scout cookies are not the healthiest of treats available today, but they are enduring ones. That is not stopping the Scouts from broadening into gluten-free and other healthier options as they move forward.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report , Synchrony Financial (SYF) - Get Synchrony Financial Report , Visa (V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report , Citigroup (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report , Radius Health (RDUS) - Get Radius Health Inc Report and Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Schlumberger NV Report .
Cramer was bearish on Petrobras (PBR) - Get Petroleo Brasileiro SA Sponsored ADR Report , Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report , CIT Group (CIT) - Get CIT Group Inc. Report and Chesapeake Energy (CHK) - Get Chesapeake Energy Corporation Report .
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said no good deed goes unpunished, especially in the banking sector.
Nowhere was that more evident that with Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report , which delivered a monster quarter yet saw its shares do virtually nothing. This comes on the heels of strong results from both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Report , which saw equally lackluster stock performance.
Cramer said if the markets get a December interest rate hike, this pattern could change. Until then, expect more of the same.
To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in BMY, C, SLB and V.