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Working Again: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Monday 4/13/20)

Jim Cramer says the markets, the economy, and the fight against COVID-19 are starting to work and he's seeing hopeful signs.
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When you look at the facts, there's reason to be a little more hopeful than we have been, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday. The stock market has been rallying off its lows for almost three weeks, Cramer said, and we may have seen the bottom.

Cramer said he's feeling more confident about the stock market largely because of the government's monumental actions to help prop up the economy and save small businesses. With the Federal Reserve stepping in to buy corporate bonds, there's a lot less to fear, he said, and as the facts change, so too must our outlook. These policy actions are making a difference.

There is also confidence building in the fight against COVID-19. As we continue to test new medicines to treat the most severe cases, fear will subside, Cramer said, and more testing will eventually allow us to know about everyone who has the disease.

Cramer was bullish on the announcement that Apple  (AAPL)  and Google  (GOOGL)  are partnering to offer a secure contact tracing system to help track and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The final thing making Cramer feel more upbeat about stocks is history, he said. After almost all of the major disruptions over the past 50 years, the averages have rallied and ended in a better position than where they started. So while this quarter's earnings will certainly sting, by the end of the year, things will be brighter than they were a month ago.

Cramer and the AAP team are looking at everything from earnings and tariffs to the Federal Reserve. 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: Levi Strauss

For his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss  (LEVI) , the apparel maker with shares down 28% for the year but up 50% from their March lows.

Bergh said that during times like these, brands matter, and iconic brands like Levi's define denim around the globe. He said Levi's is treating this crisis as an opportunity to adjust their organization so they can emerge stronger than where they entered. Levi's continues to cut costs and currently has $1.8 billion in liquidity to help it weather this storm.

While many of Levi's physical outlets are closed, Bergh noted that they continue to diversify. U.S. wholesale sales used to account for 50% of Levi's sales, he said, but today, they account for less than 30% as online and international growth outpaces traditional bricks and mortar.

Bergh noted that their store in Wuhan, China was closed for 10 weeks, but is now reopened and providing lessons for how the rest of the world might likely recover for the company.

Finally, Bergh said that Levi's continues to remain connected with their customers with events like their Levi's 501 Concert Series At Home, which is helping to entertain hundreds of thousands of people.

Abbott Labs and COVID-19

Abbott Labs  (ABT)  has come under fire for its COVID-19 testing products and Cramer wanted to set the record straight. Critics have claimed that Abbott's roll out of testing has been too slow, but Cramer said otherwise. 

Cramer spoke with Abbott's incoming CEO, Robert Ford, on March 30, about the high-volume COVID-19 test, which is based on the company's m2000 platform. This lab-based test was already in production of 150,000 tests per week and Ford noted the company was ramping up to a million tests per month.

On March 27, the FDA approved a second COVID-19 test by Abbott, this one based on the company's ID NOW platform. This test provides results in as little as five minutes and was designed to be deployed on the front lines in urgent care centers. This test was ramping up to 50,000 tests per day.

But while some critics claim that Abbott is only processing a fraction of the tests promised, Cramer responded that the tests are being produced, they're simply not being implemented. Cities like Detroit, he said, have purchased and deployed thousands of Abbott tests and have even called them a game changer in getting COVID-19 under control. It remains to be seen why other cities have not been able to follow Detroit's lead.

Cramer said what's important is that Abbott is making these tests and ramping up to make even more. As other companies bring their tests online, we can only hope that testing will finally become commonplace and we'll learn who has the virus and who doesn't.

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Off the Tape: Goodly

In his "Off The Tape" segment, Cramer spoke with Greg Poulin, co-founder and CEO of the privately-held Goodly, a company that helps employers to pay their employees' student debt. 

Poulin explained that with Goodly, companies can make payments directly to their employee's student loan debt and Goodly manages everything from verifying the loans to handling the payments. The company structures all payments as secondary payments, he said, so 100% of the contribution flows directly to the principal balance, helping to pay off the loan quicker and reduce compounding interest.

Thanks to new regulations, employers can now contribute up to $5,250 per year to an employee's debt tax-free.

When asked about their client base, Poulin said being based in San Francisco, they have a good number of technology companies and startups, but also clients like law firms and medical practices, manufacturing, retail and everything in between. Student loans are ubiquitous, Poulin said, and that's why just about any company can benefit from Goodly.

Wear a Mask

In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said everyone should be wearing a mask when they're outside. Masks protect you and those around you, he said, and they're more readily available than they were a month ago. Sure, nothing is perfect, but we can't let perfect be the enemy of good. Even partially protecting yourself is better than nothing. 

Cramer once again called on OSHA, the agency charged with protecting workers, to demand that businesses require their employees to wear masks when working in close quarters with coworkers and the public. It's the right thing for workers and it's the right thing for everyone.

Lightning Round

Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Monday evening:

Dine Brands  (DIN) : "No, I don't like restaurants here."

Bright Horizons Family Solutions  (BFAM) : "There are too many moving parts right now. Let's take a pass." 

MGM Resorts  (MGM) : "No, I'm only recommending Penn National Gaming  (PENN) ."

Raytheon Technologies  (RTX) : "I'd be a buyer of this one." 

Starbucks  (SBUX) : "This one trades like a bank, but I'd buy it."

Enterprise Products Partners  (EPD) : "This is the best house in a horrible neighborhood. Be careful." 

Iron Mountain  (IRM) : "If there are fewer offices, there's less to shred, so this one works -- but only over the long term."

Blueprint Medicines  (BPMC) : "I like this for speculation only."

Targa Resources  (TRGP) : "No, natural gas. Absolutely not. " 

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL, GOOGL, SBUX.