When stocks rally on good news, the setup is good. Right now, the setup is decidedly not good. That was Jim Cramer's analysis of the day's action for his Mad Money viewers Thursday. Sometimes the market just wants to go down, he said, and today was one of those days.
But then came the news that the U.S. dropped the GBU-43 bomb, its largest non-nuclear weapon, in Afghanistan, and stocks immediately headed lower.
Dropping bombs on terrorists in Afghanistan is nothing new, Cramer said, but in today's environment, it added an element of uncertainty that wasn't there yesterday.
There also is a laundry list of policy changes by President Trump over the past 24 hours and that added to investors' fears. Then there are the French elections -- another wildcard -- and it's easy to see how the good news got lost in the noise of an uncertain world.
Meanwhile, on Real Money, Cramer says investors should look at banks for the long term now that regulation is loosening up. Read more about his analysis and strategies; get a free trial subscription to Real Money.
We Just Can't Help Ourselves
Cramer said the combination surely would seem rational, but there's just one problem: the rumors aren't true and the speculation of a merger is a total fabrication.
The problem with stories like these are that neither company will deny it, which only fuels the speculation. In reality, Apple has never done a deal like this and isn't likely to ever do one.
Cramer said the only good thing about these fictional stories is that it puts a bid under the stock as short sellers fear getting caught off guard.
Executive Decision: First Horizon National
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Brian Jordan, chairman, president and CEO of First Horizon National(FHN) - Get Report , shares of which fell 2.7% after the company reported earnings earlier Thursday. Shares of First Horizon are up 20% since the election in November.
Jordan said he's getting mixed messages from his customers. On one hand, they remain optimistic and loan demand continues to be strong. On the other hand, some of the post-election euphoria has subsided and there is now a disconnect between consumer confidence and small business' willingness to borrow and expand.
But even without Washington's help, Jordan said, he's confident in First Horizon's ability to grow loans and profitability. He was bullish about their recent acquisition of Coastal Securities, which closed on April 3.
When asked what he'd like to see from Washington, Jordan said that lower taxes and deregulation would help the most, more than dealing with health-care legislation.
Cramer said he remains a fan of this great regional bank.
Look Out Below
When it comes to retail, children are the future, Cramer proclaimed. That's why Five Below(FIVE) - Get Report continues to be one of his favorites in the group. Shares of Five Below have been on a roller coaster as of late, bottoming in November at $35, only to rally 35% so far in 2017.
Cramer explained that to succeed in today's retail environment, companies must offer better bargains than customers can find online, while also giving them an in-store experience that's worth leaving the couch for. Five Below, he concluded, has both, mainly because it caters to children. This puts Five Below in the company of Children's Place(PLCE) - Get Report and Foot Locker(FL) - Get Report , both of which also did well this quarter.
While Five Below only posted a 1% increase in same-store sales, that's far better than the declines at other retailers. Likewise, Five Below is adding 20 to 30 new locations a quarter, while Macy's(M) - Get Report and others are shuttering stores.
But what makes Five Below most exciting is its regional-to-national growth story. As the company expands into new markets, those markets are getting off to great starts, with some new spots even making the company's top 10 list of best performing locations. Furthermore, Five Below will be entering California very soon, which represents a huge opportunity.
Finally, Cramer noted that unlike other retailers, Five Below's online sales are not cannibalizing its existing locations.
Executive Decision: Coupa Software
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa Software(COUP) - Get Report , the cloud software provider that came public in October at $18 a share and issued a 4.4 million share secondary offering yesterday. Shares of Coupa are up 15% in 2017.
Bernshteyn said that investors in Coupa are excited about the size of their market opportunity. He said that just as Salesforce.com(CRM) - Get Report revolutionized how companies sell, Coupa is revolutionizing how companies spend.
Coupa provides a cloud platform that offers expense management, sourcing, risk management and ultimately savings, Bernshteyn explained. And while there's room for many players in the market, only Coupa has a comprehensive platform complete with analytics and everything else companies need to spend smarter.
Bernshteyn continued by saying that Coupa does not spend heavily on marketing, but rather grows their business one customer at a time and is expanding into new markets around the globe.
Cramer and the AAP team give their investment club members the Weekly Roundup, including United Airline's (UAL) - Get Report PR nightmare, and they review earnings from Wells Fargo(WFC) - Get Report and Citigroup(C) - Get Report . Get in on the discussion by getting 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 WFC, C, AAPL.