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Today could've been a lot worse, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. Fears over oil prices once again took control of the stock market. Fortunately, Cramer found the good, as well as the bad, as he analyzed the action.
Cramer said today's weakness was largely driven by a decline of crude prices to $44.67 a barrel, weakness that's likely to continue again tomorrow. The problem? We just have too much oil.
America is still using nearly one million barrels of oil per day less than it did before the recession. But while some traders view that as a sign of economic weakness, Cramer called it innovation. From better drilling technologies to more fuel efficient cars to buildings that use 40% less energy to heat and cool to better-performing jet engines, the fact is our economy just runs on less gas than it used to, Cramer said. The innovation is only just getting started.
What does that mean for stocks? Cramer said the industrials and other cyclicals will likely continue to do well, but the oil stocks will be hurting as oil retraces to potentially $39 a barrel. The markets will also be hurt by money managers making their portfolios look better through a process called "mark up," which will depress stock prices for the rest of the month.
Executive Decision: Oscar Munoz
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Continental(UAL) - Get Report , the airline that just snapped up Scott Kirby, former CEO of American Air Lines(AAL) - Get Report .
Munoz, former CEO of railroad CSX(CSX) - Get Report , said that Kirby was a great addition to the United team and brings both intellect and a deep understanding of the airline puzzle. Munoz credited the rest of his management team as being crucial to United's success and also offered a tip of the hat to his board of directors, whom he called the best in the industry.
When asked about pricing and capacity, Munoz said the airlines operate in a dynamic world and pricing is just one of the differentiators they use to compete. In the end, airlines are a people business, Munoz added, and service and performance matter more than price.
Munoz said he's keeping a close eye on the spread of the Zika virus, but so far doesn't see it hampering travel. He was also cautiously optimistic on business travel, saying the energy sector remains weak, but banking is seeing moderate gains.
Cramer Losing Taste for Buffalo Wild Wings
After peaking near $200 a share a year ago, shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) have been having a tough time, falling to a low of $134 in mid-July. The company's fortunes seemed to change after it was learned that activist Marcato Capital had taken a stake in the company, news that sent shares rebounding to $162, up 19% from their lows.
But Cramer said the news of an activist's involvement doesn't necessarily mean investors should pile into the stock. In fact, Marcato has had a lackluster track record of moderate successes that included Sotheby's(BID) - Get Report and Goodyear Tire(GT) - Get Report .
After taking its stake in Wild Wings, Marcato offered no specific suggestions for improving the company's business, which has been suffering from higher labor and chicken wing prices. Cramer said the company's letter to Wild Wing's board of directors read more like a general statement to "just do better."
Cramer said until he sees evidence of concrete plans for improvement, he doesn't care that there is an activist involved. Buffalo Wild Wings, he concluded, should be avoided for the time being.
Executive Decision: Marc Benioff
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Mark Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com(CRM) - Get Report , which reported better-than-expected top-line earnings, but fell short in some key metrics like billings and cash flow, news that sent shares plunging in after-hours trading.
Benioff said Salesforce still delivered a great quarte, but saw earnings dramatically affected but what he characterized as "brutal" foreign exchange rates that lowered earnings by $150 million. He added that Salesforce did see some softness at the tail end of the quarter, which he attributed to "internal issues" that were neither competitive nor macro-economic in nature.
Sluggish sales were only a U.S. problem, Benioff said, and sales remained robust in other areas of the globe including Europe, Asia and Japan. The sales pipeline remains full, he added.
When asked about future growth, Benioff said Salesforce is working hard to add artificial intelligence to all of its cloud offerings and will be debuting some of the technology at the company's developer conference in October.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined as to why September has historically been such a bad month for the markets, losing on average 1%.
Cramer said a 1% loss doesn't warrant the fear it typically generates. That said, there are downward pressures in the market that help make bad Septembers a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The first reason for weakness is tech. Not a lot of business gets done in July and August, Cramer said, and September is when the markets get their false optimism corrected. Case in point: today's weakness in both Palo Alto and Salesforce.
The second reason September is typically weak is, well, October. With so much volatility in October, some investors scale back in September just in case.
Finally, there are the money managers, Cramer said. When funds are beating the averages handedly in September, many will lock in their gains for the year to preserve those profits. That puts even more downward pressure on stocks.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had no position in stocks mentioned.