What's next for the stock market? Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Friday that stocks will either extend the day's losses and retest the lows from earlier this week or take a pause before resuming their march higher. Which scenario prevails will depend on how fast we beat COVID-19.
Cramer said he was encouraged by the passing of the massive stimulus plan, which will get money to the businesses that need it most, But without stricter national quarantine rules, we may not have the virus under control until long after President Trump's target of April 12.
The game plan for next week includes a quarterly report from RH (RH) - Get Report on Monday. Cramer expected this high-end retailer to miss estimates. He was more bullish on spicemaker McCormick (MKC) - Get Report, which is the ultimate stay-at-home stock.
On Wednesday, Cramer wants to hear whether the 13% yield at Enterprise Product Partners (EPD) - Get Report is sustainable, and he wants to hear whether apparel maker PVH (PVH) - Get Report deserves to trade 64% off its highs.
Cramer was not a fan of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) - Get Report, which reports on Thursday. He recommended buying rival CVS (CVS) - Get Report instead. He was not expecting good news from Carmax (KMX) - Get Report, but said that pet food supplier Chewy (CHWY) - Get Report is perfect for our quarantined world.
Finally, on Friday, we hear from Constellation Brands (STZ) - Get Report, the spirits maker that Cramer said isn't likely to make their numbers with restaurants closed. But all eyes will be on Friday's non-farm payroll numbers, which will surely paint another bleak picture of just how disruptive COVID-19 is for the U.S. job market.
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Executive Decision: Sanofi
Hudson said the world will have a vaccine for COVID-19, but it will likely take 12 to 18 months to get there. While no one wants patients to suffer, he said vaccine trials must be done at the right speed. Vaccines are administered to millions of healthy people, he said, you need to get it right.
In the meantime, Sanofi is partnering with Regeneron (REGN) - Get Report to put Kevzara (an injectable drug approved by the FDA in 2017 to treat rheumatoid disease) into clinical trials as a possible treatment for COVID-19. He said there are reports that some patients saw some benefits from the drug, but they now must quantify those results and determine which patients, if any, will respond to the treatment.
Hudson added that it typically takes 10 years to develop and test a vaccine. That's why the current estimates of 12 to 18 months is very aggressive.
Hudson also commented on Sanofi's plans to bring drug ingredient manufacturing to Europe. He said the coronavirus outbreak has shown that the world cannot rely on just India and China for key ingredients. Europe needs a high-quality, guaranteed supply of ingredients that can be used for drug manufacturing throughout Europe and the U.S.
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Executive Decision: Owens & Minor
Pesicka offered some perspective on the COVID-19 crisis. He said a typical hospital uses around 10,000 to 20,000 surgical masks per week. During this crisis, hospitals are now using between 200,000 and 300,000 masks per week. Multiply that by the number of hospitals and you can quickly see the problem we're facing.
Owens & Minor began ramping their production in January and Pesicka said they are now operating every one of their factories 24/7 making masks, gloves and gowns as fast as possible. Output has risen by 50 million masks per month, he said, but it will require another five to six months to expand production beyond those levels.
When asked whether countries like China have excess supply, Pesicka said with Chinese factories closed for extended periods, he's doubtful there are unused stockpiles still available.
Executive Decision: Micron Technology
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO of Micron Technology (MU) - Get Report, the semiconductor maker that's pledged not to lay off any employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mehrotra said it was remarkable that Micron was able to deliver at the high end of their range this quarter given that China was shut in from the virus.
Micron is benefiting from strong data center demand as well as an uptick in laptops and tablets as consumers and students work and learn from home. Mehrotra said Micron is well positioned in all of these markets, which is how they were able to offset slowing cell phone manufacturing in China.
Mehrotra added that many of the long-term trends, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and 5G wireless, all require more memory capacity and Micron has the ability to supply it.
In his final segment, Cramer welcomed retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal to the show to discuss what's needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
McChrystal is known for his command of Joint Special Operations Command in the mid-2000s. He told Cramer we're fighting two different wars right now: a frightening medical challenge and an economic challenge. He said there's no excuse for not responding well to these challenges. Crises are inevitable and we need to always be ready for them.
What makes for success in a crisis is coordination, McChrystal added. America has the capacity and motivation to fix this problem, he said. What we lack is the coordination to lead teams of teams toward a common goal and get ahead of the problem, instead of trailing behind it. America needs a daily operating rhythm, he said, and the humility to know that we're not going to get it right every time.
Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Friday evening:
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in CVS.