Expectations are everything during earnings season, Jim Cramer reminded his Mad Money viewers Thursday. When the expectations are low, even just decent earnings can be enough to send a coiled spring soaring higher.
That was certainly the case with Facebook (FB) , which rocketed 10.8% by the close. Cramer said this was an astounding turn of events for this Action Alerts PLUS holding which was totally written off by Wall Street last summer as the company's privacy woes came to light. Yet despite slumping usage, rising costs and some of the worst press imaginable, Facebook's personalized advertising model was too good for advertisers to ignore. Cramer said shares of Facebook are still cheap at these levels.
Then there's Apple (AAPL) , which has gained more than 13 points from its recent lows. Cramer said Apple continues to innovate and will deliver on its promises of compelling future products.
Finally, Cramer noted that even General Electric (GE) was able to rally on its better-than-expected earnings, after the company was able to instill some confidence that the worst might finally be behind the company.
On the flip side, there's DowDuPont (DWDP) , a stock where expectations were too high, sending shares plunging 9.2% after the company's housing and auto divisions suffered amid rising interest rates.
That's why Cramer told viewers they should keep their eyes on companies whose shares have fallen ahead of their earnings. Those will be the ones that may be ready for the biggest comebacks.
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Over on Real Money, Cramer says buying on weakness is a good strategy this earnings season. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Interview: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
In a special interview, Cramer spoke with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) about her criticism of Wells Fargo (WFC) and the banking industry, as well as her proposed "ultra-millionaire's tax."
When Cramer spoke with Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan last week, Sloan said he accepted responsibility for the bank's past problems.
Warren however, held a different view, saying the bank has a long history of cheating and swindling its customers and some managers were either involved in the scandal or involved in covering it up. She said big fines do nothing to deter a bad culture, because fine are paid by shareholders. That's why we need to hold executives directly responsible for their banks' actions, said Warren, who has repeatedly called for Sloan's ouster.
Turning to the topic of Warren's proposed billionaire's tax, she explained that the top 1% of tax payers pay about 3.2% of their total worth in taxes, while the remaining 99% of us pay 7.2% of our wealth in taxes. She said it's simply time for billionaires to pay their share and ensure that the next generation has as many opportunities to succeed.
Warren added that many billionaires do give substantial amounts to various charities, but for the system to work, there must be a mandate that everyone gives back to the next generation. She estimates her plan will generate $2.75 trillion over 10 years.
Executive Decision: PayPal
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with John Rainey, CFO of PayPal (PYPL) , the payments processor that just posted a two-cents-a-share earnings beat, but saw its shares fall almost 4% as investors fretted over the company's guidance.
Rainey said PayPal has a great quarter that topped off a terrific year that included 26% growth in earnings per share. He said the company also reaffirmed its 2019 guidance provided in October. There were some pockets of weakness, including eBay (EBAY) , currency pressures and slower growth in some areas of the world.
However, Rainey was very excited for Vemno, which is increasingly becoming a part of users' daily lives and is being used for purchases like groceries and restaurants.
When asked about competition, Rainey explained that it is not a winner-takes-all situation. PayPal currently has over 20 million merchants and 250 million consumers on its platform and that is value it offers. There are two billion people around the globe who are underserved financially, he explained, and while those people may not have a local bank branch to visit, many do have mobile phones which can increase the possibilities.
Cramer said that despite today's profit-taking, he's sticking with PayPal.
The Cloud Companies Keep Rising
When it comes to hyper-charged growth, forget about FANG, Cramer told viewers. The real growth is in the cloud, namely Cramer's list of Cloud Kings and their smaller brethren, the Cloud Princes.
ServiceNow (NOW) has been king of the cloud, posting 30% growth in its most recent quarter. Cramer was also still bullish on VMWare (VMW) , Salesforce.com (CMR) , Workday (WDAY) and Splunk (SPLK) . Even the laggard of the group, Adobe Systems (ADBE) , was still able to put up great growth and has a lot of room left to grow.
The smaller cloud princes are experience stunning growth. Coupa Software (COUP) has seen its shares rise by 38% in 2019, with Okta (OKTA) not far behind with shares up 29%. New Relic (NEWR) and HubSpot (HUBS) both have seen their shares rally 25%, while Atlassian (TEAM) rose by 10%. The only cloud prince not beating the averages was Tableau Software (DATA) with a modest 6% gain.
Cramer said when investors are looking for growth, these are the names they should be considering.
Executive Decision: Meritor
In another "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Jay Craig, president and CEO of Meritor (MTOR) , the truck parts maker that posted a 20-cents-a-share earnings beat, but still trades at just six times earnings.
Craig started off by explaining that Meritor is not an auto company, it's a supplier for commercial vehicles, making primarily axle and braking systems. He said his company has done an excellent job managing labor costs, and with both engineering and manufacturing facilities right here in the U.S., they are not largely impacted by tariffs.
When asked about electrifying vehicles, Craig said Meritor is already a leader in the category. He said we are likely to see certain categories of vehicles, like buses and garbage trucks, convert pretty quickly to electric drivetrains.
Turning to the topic of the overall economy, Craig noted that there were many discontinuities in the month of December, but since then the economy has been recovering. Meritor was aggressively buying back its shares during December and continues to see value in them.
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