If you thought today's session was boring, think again, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. The day's tape was full of new winners and that's good news for a market where the breadth has been incredibly thin. The right stocks were rising for the right reasons, even if it wasn't obvious in the averages.
Today's news that Cigna (CI) - Get Cigna Corporation Report was acquiring Express Scripts (ESRX) may have been bad news for Cigna, down 11.4%, but it was good news for mergers and acquisitions, which have been lacking outside of Broadcom (AVGO) - Get Broadcom Inc. Report . Cramer said he's siding with Cigna and would be a buyer on the weakness.
The drug stocks also caught first today, led by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report , a great company with a terrific balance sheet, along with a 2.5% yield. Cramer said he remains a fan.
Then there was strength in the consumer packaged good stocks, like Pepsico (PEP) - Get PepsiCo, Inc. Report , up 2%, and the casino stocks, led by MGM Resorts (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International (MGM) Report , up 3.3%, and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - Get Wynn Resorts, Limited (WYNN) Report , up 6.5%.
All of these winners were sorely needed, Cramer said, as good breadth is a sign of a strong market, one that may be putting tariffs in the rearview mirror.
Cramer and the AAP team have their eyes on Activision Blizzard (ATVI) - Get Activision Blizzard, Inc. Report , which they say is off to a terrific start in 2018. Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
Executive Decision: Thor Industries
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries (THO) - Get Thor Industries, Inc. Report , a stock that's off $40 from its highs back in January, despite posting an 11-cents-a-share earnings beat on a 24% rise in revenues year-over-year.
Martin said the he doesn't run the company on a quarter-by-quarter basis, but thinks longer term. He said based on their analysis, the steel and aluminum tariffs will have little effect on their business as most of their steel is sourced domestically.
When asked about labor costs, Martin admitted that labor is tight in northern Indiana, where Thor is headquartered, but they are expanding in both Idaho and Ohio as well as further into Indiana to find the workers they need.
Turning to the topic of millennial consumers, Martin said that the millennials are a bigger segment than the boomers and Thor is actively talking to younger buyer and catering to them with smaller, more affordable RVs that have all the comforts of home. He said the entire industry is catering to millennials, with many campgrounds upgrading to more amenities and even wifi in many locations.
Cramer called Thor a good stock and one he's continuing to recommend.
Automakers Are Value Traps
If there's one thing your portfolio doesn't need right now, it's an automaker, Cramer cautioned viewers. This group may look cheap, but the automakers are value traps, and things are only going to get worse from here.
Cramer explained that the theory of "peak autos" surfaced this time last year, but was put to rest by two hurricanes that temporarily bolstered sales. But after looking at the latest February auto sales and the most recent Federal Reserve Beige Book, peak autos is indeed upon us.
The main reason for the decline? Ride sharing. Owning cars in and around urban areas just isn't as necessary as it was thanks to Uber and Lyft being at your service anytime you need one. What we're seeing is the beginning of a permanent change in consumer behavior, Cramer said, and it's only getting worse as autonomous cars make ride sharing even more affordable.
But ride sharing alone isn't killing the automakers. They must now deal with a host of other issues, including rising interest rates, tougher lending standards, rising oil prices and yes, steel tariffs that will squeeze auto margins even more.
Cramer said he'd stay away from all of the automakers right now, as these trends aren't going to get better any time soon.
Executive Decision: Martin Marietta Materials
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked back in with Ward Nye, chairman, president and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials (MLM) - Get Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (MLM) Report , a stock that's fallen $5 from its highs earlier this year.
Nye said even without a federal infrastructure bill, their public sector business is increasing thanks to individual states picking up the slack. He said states are getting more projects ready to go and they expect volumes to be up 4% to 6% this year.
That trend is especially hot in Texas, where the Department of Transportation is expected to spend over $70 billion on roads and bridges in the coming years. Martin Marietta is the largest supplier of aggregates, cement and concrete in the area of Texas known as the Golden Triangle.
The oil industry is another driver in the Texas market, where shale drilling is once again on the rise.
Beyond Texas, Nye was exciting about the acquisition of Bluegrass Materials, the largest privately-held aggregates company. Martin Marietta has agreed to pay $1.6 billion for the company.
Cramer said shares of Martin Marietta Materials are just too cheap given how strong their business has become.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Vale (VALE) - Get Vale S.A. Sponsored ADR Report , Dominion Energy (D) - Get Dominion Energy Inc Report , Lululemon Athletica (LULU) - Get Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU) Report , Consolidated Edison (ED) - Get Consolidated Edison, Inc. Report , STMicroelectronics (STM) - Get STMicroelectronics NV ADR RegS Report , Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation (INTC) Report , NVIDIA (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report , Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report and Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report .
Cramer was bearish on Kraft Heinz (KHC) - Get Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) Report , StitchFix (SFIX) - Get Stitch Fix, Inc. Class A Report , Duke Energy (DUK) - Get Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) Report , Puma Biotechnology (PBYI) - Get Puma Biotechnology, Inc. Report and EPR Properties (EPR) - Get EPR Properties Report .
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said one of the hardest lessons to learn is buying buying a stock on weakness. That was certainly the case with Brown-Forman (BF.B) , the spirits maker that posted double-digit earnings growth, but saw shares plunge afterwards.
Cramer explained that the weakness was caused by a one-two punch of admitted weakness in the U.S. and threats of tariffs on bourbon made by the E.U. in retaliation for Trump's steel tariffs.
But Cramer noted that Brown Forman is a terrific operator and frankly, we've been here before. Back in 2014, it was Russia threatening tariffs on Forman's products. The stock eventually recovered, because the real action is in the emerging markets. As for competition in the U.S., Cramer said he's not worried there, either, because Brown Forman knows how to compete.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says traders dumping Brown-Forman BF.B don't know Jack (Daniels). Get more of Cramer's insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in ATVI, AVGO, PEP, NVDA.