As far as stocks go, "so far, so good," TheStreet's Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers, as the first quarter of 2017 is in the books. The Dow climbed 900 points, the S&P 500 rallied 5.5% and the Nasdaq climbed a whopping 9.8% during the first three months of the year.
With that in mind, Cramer looked to next week and the start of the second quarter.
On Monday, FederalReserve bank presidents Bill Dudley (New York) and Jeff Lacker (Richmond) will each give speeches. Cramer is listening for insight on whether the Fed will hike at least two more times in 2017. It's important to know, with bank earnings scheduled to start in a few weeks. Rising rates are good for banks, which are an important piece of the bullish thesis.
On Tuesday, spice and seasoning company McCormick (MKC) - Get Report will host its analyst meeting. "I expect it to go very well," Cramer said, but the market's reaction to the traditionally defensive stock is more important. If the stock is flat or falls, that's actually good news for the broader market. That means investors are still buying into the economic expansion theory, which is key for financial and industrial stocks. By McCormick not rallying, it says investors have priced in good news on positive expectations.
On Wednesday, Walgreens (WAG) reports earnings. The company said it will give up on its plan to acquire Rite Aid (RAD) - Get Report in three months, if regulators haven't approved the deal. Either way, the stock is likely headed higher, according to Cramer. Cramer will also look to get additional info on the Bayer-Monsanto (MON) deal and he expects another disappointing quarter from Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) - Get Report . Anything positive though should pop that stock.
On Thursday earnings are due from CarMax (KMX) - Get Report and Constellation Brands (STZ) - Get Report . Cramer wants to get a pulse on the new and used car market from CarMax and says Constellation Brands should deliver another good quarter. However, if you're not long Constellation yet, he said wait for a pullback before buying the stock.
On Friday the non-farm payrolls report is due for the month of March. It should be strong. If not, rate hikes could come off the table and that will hurt the banks. The banks are oh-so-important to the broader market's rally, Cramer stressed.
A strong jobs report and positive rate-hike talk from the Fed could spur banks higher. That's needed for the stock rally to continue. If we do get a broader pullback, investors can use it as a buying opportunity, Cramer said.
The retail sector has been a really tough investment over the past few years. However, discount chains like TJX Stores (TJX) - Get Report and Five Below (FIVE) - Get Report , as well as unique stores like Foot Locker (FL) - Get Report and Ulta Beauty (ULTA) - Get Report , have proven that there are some winners out there.
But the best one of all? It very well could be Burlington Stores (BURL) - Get Report . Cramer laid out his bull case, pointing to the company's more than 400% rally since its October 2013 IPO. Just in the last year, shares are up 73%.
Burlington has a very strong track record for beating earnings per share and revenue estimates, along with raising its own guidance, he explained. The company creates a "treasure hunt experience" and has less expensive products than can be found online, Cramer said.
That's been key to keeping traffic. At a time when retailers are closing stores, Burlington is looking to expand. Currently with 600 stores, management thinks they can open 1,000 locations in North America. Because of supply chain improvements and increasing purchasing power, Burlington can continue to improve its margins too.
Trading at less than 22 times next year's earnings, the stock actually looks inexpensive when you consider Burlington's long-term earnings growth and near-flawless execution, according to Cramer.
Shares have been on fire. But because its such a well-run business, it's likely not done going higher. In fact, shares could perhaps go a lot higher from here, Cramer said.
Is it time to pump up the volume with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) - Get Report ? Shares have been on fire this year, up 20% year to date, so Jim Cramer wanted to know if the rally will continue or if investors are about to get the pile-driver.
WWE runs a "pretty darn good business," Cramer reasoned. At first, WWE relied solely on pay-per-view revenues. But since cutting it out in favor of a $9.99/month subscription plan, the company's growth has been very impressive.
While $9.99 per month is cheaper than pay-per-view, WWE gets to keep all of its revenues, rather than giving 50% to 60% to their pay-per-view broadcaster. This gives customers a better deal and works out better for WWE too, Cramer reasoned.
This subscription business has fueled WWE's growth, allowing the stock to double from its 2014 lows when the stock plunged from $30 to $10 on worse-than-expected deal terms with NBC Universal.
However, Cramer believes the company's growth can continue and possibly even accelerate. So here's the bottom line: The stock is expensive, trading at 33 times next year's earnings. For that reason, investors should consider buying some of their position now and more later on a pullback.
Know Your IPO
On the show's "Know Your IPO" segment, Jim Cramer took a closer look at Alteryx (AYX) - Get Report . The stock came public March 24 at $14 and quickly rose to the mid-$15 range. Alteryx makes a more efficient, easier and faster way for companies to analyze data. It's got 2,300 customers, some of which include Ford (F) - Get Report , Nike (NKE) - Get Report and Accenture (ACN) - Get Report .
If you're a software company that has Accenture as a customer, you know you're doing something right, Cramer said.
The platform is great, which has led to 59% revenue growth last year, an acceleration from the prior year. Gross margins expanded from 77.5% to 81.3% last year, which are great numbers, he added. Alteryx also doesn't have any debt.
So what are the negatives? For one, Alteryx still isn't profitable and management hasn't provided a timetable for when it will be. That's not ideal, but it's understandable for a young, hyper-growth tech company. Additionally though, it has a lot of shares waiting to be unlocked and a small float that trades.
The additional stock will dilute shareholders and likely come to the market in the form of a secondary offering, which will hurt the share price. Additionally, the big data business can be a bruising arena to compete in.
While Alteryx inherently has a number of risks, it's also got a lot of upside. It's got a great business and strong growth. That's why Cramer's blessing it as a speculation stock for investors willing to take on the risk.
No Huddle Offense
On the show's "No Huddle Offense" segment, Jim Cramer took a closer look at stocks that were back in fashion. He said FAANG stocks -- Facebook (FB) - Get Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report , temporarily-added Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report and Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report -- have been the leaders.
But some classic growth stocks have started to show their colors too.
Take for instance Disney (DIS) - Get Report . The stock is supposed to be suffering from its ESPN subscriber-loss issue. After all, that took the stock down from $120 to $89 in 2015. But now, investors are overlooking that negative in lieu of a number of positives.
Then there's Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report . After hitting $64 in November 2015, shares went south in 2015. Then CEO Howard Schultz announced he's stepping down to executive chairman. After bouncing around the low-$50s, the stock has found its footing, rallying on both good days and bad days. Could this be the turn?
How about Nike (NKE) - Get Report . After reporting a bad quarter just earlier this month, the stock is still trading pretty good. That's a sign that people are looking for long-term bargains and have settled on high quality stocks like Nike.
Finally, look at Celgene (CELG) - Get Report and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report . After not being shown much love at all, despite good quarter after good quarter, these stocks are now rallying on almost no news whatsoever. Cramer says investors are finally appreciating the consistency that these stocks provide.
These classic growth names are finally starting to show some life in 2017 and Cramer believes that momentum could last going forward.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS has a position in TJX, FB, AAPL, GOOGL, and SBUX.