Don't fret about rising interest rates, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday. What you really need to be worried about is how a global trade war could hurt your portfolio.
All day Monday, investors worried as the 10-year Treasury inched toward a 3% yield, as if 3% is some magic number whereat the markets just plunge to zero.
Cramer said that rising interest rates will eventually curb growth, but a 3% Treasury "doesn't mean squat" to a market as strong as ours.
Seasoned investors can recall Treasuries with yields twice that high and the stock market did just fine. After the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing programs during the recession, the 10-year just isn't as significant as it once was.
Instead, Cramer said investors need to be keeping an eye on the escalating trade war, because while the stock market can handle rising interest rates, it never performs well during a trade war.
President Trump is right to call out China for unfair practices, Cramer added, but even the president has said that making things right will cause some short-term pain.
It's that short-term pain that has Cramer worried, as tariffs cause inflation, which will only cause the Fed to raise rates faster, an ill-timed, self-inflicted wound right as the economy is firing on all cylinders.
That's why Cramer advised selling into strength to raise cash, then waiting for the dust to settle before buying back in.
Cramer and the AAP team are looking for opportunities to trim stocks into strength based out of discipline. That means trimming Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP) . 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.
Over on Real Money, Cramer talks more about the 10-year crossing 3%. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: Hasbro
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Brian Goldner, chairman and CEO of Hasbro (HAS) , the toymaker which reported a 23-cents-a-share earnings miss this quarter, as the liquidation of its largest customer, Toys R' Us, got underway. Shares of Hasbro initially fell $7 a share on the news, but ultimately rebounded, ending the day up $3.
Goldner said that Hasbro is focused on telling their story and growing their business. He said Toys R' Us will be a factor for one more quarter, then the worst will be behind what them in has been an odd and non-traditional bankruptcy situation. Hasbro did withhold inventory to help clear the channel, Goldner added, which should help expedite the liquidation efforts.
Looking forward however, Goldner was upbeat on Hasbro's outlook. He said they are benefiting from toys related to the new "Blank Panther" movie and look forward to the upcoming "Avengers" and "Solo" films due out later this year. Hasbro continues to invest in their business as well as buy back shares. The company bought back $40 million this quarter as part of a $150 million authorization. Hasbro also increased their dividend for the 14th time over the past 15 years.
Hasbro added 21,000 new points of distribution in the U.S., Goldner noted, which more than offsets the Toys R' Us closures. They also continue to invest in modernizing their European business.
Cramer said he still likes the long-term Hasbro story and picking up shares at these low levels makes a lot of sense.
Keeping an Open Mind
When the facts change, you need to change your mind, Cramer reminded viewers. That's why Cramer said he's changed his mind on Newell Brands (NWL) after the company came to an agreement with activist investors Starboard Capital, ending a proxy fight Cramer featured on "Mad Money" just last week.
The agreement lets Newell and Starboard focus on turning around their operations, Cramer said, and gives Starboard the seats on the company's board of directors that it needs to have credibility. Starboard has a long track record of successes, Cramer said, including with Darden Restaurants (DRI) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding.
Newell still has a lot of problems, Cramer said, but now that the stock is no longer a battleground, it may be worth speculating on.
Smoke Gets in Their Eyes
Last week, investors realized practically overnight that the tobacco industry is facing an existential threat from vaping, a realization that was devastating.
On Wednesday, an analyst downgraded the stock of Altria (MO) , noting that the cigarette market is no longer as predictable as it once was, because younger consumers are gravitating to vaping in record numbers.
Cramer explained that even though cigarette volumes have been declining at 6% a year, cigarette makers have always been able to offset those losses with higher prices. This no longer seems to be the case.
The following day, Phillip Morris (PM) confirmed the analyst's fears, with sales of Marlboro falling an average 7% in practically every region of the globe. Shares immediately plunged 18%, and Cramer said the pin action was horrendous for the entire industry.
There are no pure-play vaping companies to invest in, Cramer concluded, but until there are, investors need to steer clear of traditional tobacco.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on the questionable outlook for the consumer packaged goods stocks.
On the surface, the earnings from Kimberly-Clark (KMB) seemed fine, with modest 2% growth. But Cramer said the headline number masked worrisome weakness in multiple categories, due to increased competition, pricing pressures, rising commodity costs and declines in China.
These sentiments were echoed by Procter & Gamble (PG) , which noted a challenging environment as online competition from upstarts like Harry's in the shaving space as presenting a real challenge.
In an environment with rising interest rates and commodity costs, these stocks are quickly going out of style on Wall Street, Cramer concluded, which makes them uninvestable for the foreseeable future.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Ingersoll-Rand (IR) , The Blackstone Group (BX) , Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) , FMC Corp (FMC) , Nike (NKE) , Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) and Aimmune Therapeutics (AIMT) .
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