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All too often investors buy into catch phrases like "sell in May and go away," but the markets don't abide by the calendar, nor historical preludes. All of these "warnings" to beware of an imminent summer slump may sound prudent, but that's only because the the pundits are never called out for being too cautious.
The fact is the stock market has seen several roaming bears this year, from oils to retail, to biotech, to consumer packaged goods and in almost every case, these sectors came roaring back with a vengeance. Just look at some beaten-down names including Broadcom (AVGO) - Get Report , up 6.2% today, or Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Report , up 1.5%.
This is not a great market, Cramer admitted, as many stocks are getting expensive and investors are willing to pay less for high growth companies, but when stocks are down, that's the time to buy, not to sell. That's where the real opportunities are.
Tesla Is Still a Cult Stock
Almost out of nowhere, cars have become the next technological frontier, supplanting smartphones as the gadget everyone lusts after. There's no question that Tesla Motors (TSLA) - Get Report is the most exciting thing going in the car business, Cramer said, especially after the company received 373,000 preorders for its upcoming Model 3, which is still years away from production.
But Tesla remains a cult stock, Cramer said, one that doesn't trade on logic and is hard to justify at its current valuation.
Investors looking for high-tech cars would be better off owning Action Alerts PLUS holding NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) - Get Report , Cramer said, as the company is the number one automotive chipmaker. When you think "connected car," you should be thinking NXP. The stock trades at just 12 times earnings and has a rapid growth rate to rival that of Tesla itself.
So if you want excitement, take a Tesla for a test drive, Cramer concluded. If you want to make money, buy NXP Semiconductor.
Following up on Wednesday's focus on duopolies, Cramer turned to the off-price retail duopoly of TJX Companies (TJX) - Get Report and Ross Stores (ROST) - Get Report to see which of these players is currently the discount king.
Cramer said that for the past two years, Ross has been the winner in this space, with shares rising 14% in 2015 versus only 3% for TJX. That outperformance was warranted, he said. Ross delivered 8% revenue growth and 14% earnings growth in a very consistent manner that investors craved.
But that all changed this year when TJX delivered a 5-cents-a-share earnings beat while Ross stumbled and offered only tepid guidance for 2016. So far this year, TJX shares are up 8%, compared to a 1% decline for Ross.
How did TJX achieve its outperformance? In a word, HomeGoods, the company's home decor chain. With consumers eschewing apparel in favor of things for their homes, TJX now has something Ross simply can't match, and it was HomeGoods' 9% rise in same-store sales that put it back on top.
Executive Decision: Greg Lucier
Lucier touted NuVasive's new Magec rod system, which can be implanted in children, then extended using magnets as they grow, all without additional surgeries. He said thanks to products like Magec, spinal surgeries are becoming incredibly high-tech and sophisticated.
NuVasive is also benefiting as the Baby Boomers age, as back problems are one of the most common ailments among the elderly. Globally, the spinal market is valued at $9 billion and is only accelerating.
Cramer said he remains a fan of medical devices and of NuVasive.
Cramer was bearish on SecureWorks (SCWX) - Get Report , Celator Pharmaceuticals (CPXX) , GoPro (GPRO) - Get Report , Fitbit (FIT) - Get Report , Big Lots (BIG) - Get Report and Nokia (NOK) - Get Report .
Off the Charts
In the "Off the Charts" segment, Cramer checked in with colleague Tim Collins comparing the charts of a "new tech" stock with an "old tech" stock.
In the old tech camp was Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Report , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, whose weekly chart showed the stock challenging old highs. Collins noted the stochastics signaled a bullish crossover and the momentum favors the bulls, but he was still looking for a breakout from the stock's pennant formation as confirmation of a long-term push over $31 a share.
Representing new tech was Qorvo (QRVO) - Get Report . Collins felt this long-term monthly chart showed a stock also ready to break out above its resistance levels, and he felt that $58 a share could be the next stop.
Cramer said he, too, thinks Cisco was a buy but is less of a fan of Qorvo, preferring NXP Semiconductor, which has less cellphone and more automotive exposure.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in CSCO, DOW and NXPI.