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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are two sides to every coin, and investors looked at the negative side, drawing conclusions about the U.S. economy based on events happening in commodities and in global markets, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday.
Cramer noted that oil tumbled another 3.5% on the day and is threatening to take out the recent low of $43. The decline feels “pretty darn nasty,” Cramer said. Investors are selling, fearing Iran may add production to an already oversupplied market. That hit shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report), Chevron (CVX - Get Report) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report).
But while oil prices may be headed lower, is that such a bad thing? Cramer looked at the other side of the coin, arguing that a decline in oil prices is good for airlines, restaurants and, most important, consumers.
Then there's China, which recently issued “horrendous” manufacturing data, Cramer said. China’s stock market gives investors the impression the Chinese consumer is under pressure, even if that’s not really the case. This hurts companies including Action Alerts PLUS holdings Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and General Motors (GM - Get Report) as well as Diageo (DEO).
But on the plus side, the weakness in China could hold the Federal Reserve back from hiking interest rates come September. Make no mistake about it, we don’t want the Chinese economy to “fall off a cliff,” but it’s a big benefit to the market if the Fed postpones the inevitable, Cramer said.
Finally, he looked at Europe after the Greek stock market opened for trading after being closed for more than a month. The major index fell about 20%, but the recent manufacturing data for the eurozone were “surprisingly quite strong,” he said.
It wasn’t just Germany leading the way higher either — Spain, Italy and the Netherlands all contributed to the gains. If the European economy can improve, it will help spur more global economic growth. European growth will also help slow the decline in the euro, which will weaken the U.S. dollar, which has been weighing on U.S. multinational companies.
Executive Decision: Richard GelfondFor his “Executive Decision” segment, Cramer sat down with Richard Gelfond, the CEO of Imax ( IMAX - Get Report). The ultra-big movie screen company has over 950 theaters, with a 400-theater backlog. Imax reported in-line earnings and beat sales estimates, but the stock has been tied to the price action in China, Cramer said, with shares down 15% from the highs.
Gelfond explained his company does do business in China, but referred to the country as more of an opportunity than a risk. Because of its business there, the company plans to a do an IPO in China for its China-based locations. Gelfond explained that the company plans to go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange, a far less volatile index than the Shanghai Composite. Less than one-third of the company’s business is done in China.
He said that over the long term China has proved to be very good for both the company's business and shares.
Gelfond added that every year the company aims to open anywhere from 110 to 125 new theaters, driving earnings and revenue gains along with it. Ultimately, Imax shows blockbuster movies in the best out-of-house fashion, he concluded.
Blue Buffalo vs. Freshpet
Cramer has long been a big advocate of organic and natural food companies because Americans are eating better and becoming more health conscious. Most people love their pets so it's no surprise that the natural and organic food play is transcending to the world of cats and dogs.
Despite the industry growing 62% since 2004, Cramer said there are problems with each of these companies.
Blue Buffalo, while enjoying earnings growth of 30%, has sales that are stalling quite dramatically. In the first quarter of 2014, sales growth was 38%, slowed to 22% by the fourth quarter of 2014 and climbed just 10% in the first quarter of 2015.
On the other hand, Freshpet has wildly accelerating sales growth -- 35% in the first quarter of 2014 and a whopping 40% in the first quarter of 2015. But it is not yet profitable. Also, after the stock’s big rally from its $15 IPO to $25, it’s back down to $16.43 after a lousy earnings report, weak guidance and a secondary offering.
Freshpet reports earnings later this week. If it fails to make up ground on profits, investors will likely sell the stock. “This one’s got to start showing some profit,” Cramer said.
So which stock should investors buy, the profitable company with slowing sales, or the unprofitable company with impressive sales? According to Cramer, neither.
He said both stocks fall short when it comes to his risk parameters and there is just too much uncertainty under current circumstances. However, if the much larger Blue Buffalo acquired Freshpet, then it would be a different ballgame completely.
Executive Decision: Michael Carroll
For his second “Executive Decision,” Cramer sat down with Michael Carroll, the CEO of real estate investment trust Brixmor Property Group (BRX - Get Report). Brixmor boasts a 3.6% dividend yield, while more than 70% of its 550 shopping centers are anchored by a high-quality supermarket such as Kroger (KR - Get Report) or Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report).
“First off, we’re an organic growth story,” Carroll said. With new leases coming to market and less shopping center space to offer, the company has plenty of pricing power to drive revenue growth, he explained. When retailers bring in more foot traffic, it allows Brixmor to rent out even more retail space in the surrounding area or in the same complex.
The company also has a large scale, so leases are signed quickly — sometimes in as little as 30 days — so development can start very soon, Carroll said. Plus, the company just financed its old debt at a much more favorable rate, he added.
Cramer on the Fed
Eight years ago to the day, Cramer tried to warn the Federal Reserve that subprime mortgages were an enormous systemic risk to the entire financial system. Cramer got his research and data from people close to the industry and from those who ran big firms on Wall Street -- research and data the Fed obviously didn’t have access to.
Unfortunately, Cramer failed in getting the Fed to change anything and the financial market fell to its knees, with firms going out of business and people losing their jobs left and right. Fortunately, former Fed chair Ben Bernanke was able to prevent the Great Recession from repeating the Great Depression and kept the U.S. economy from falling off the face of the earth.
Fast-forward to 2015 and we have a U.S. economy that has improved mightily from the dark days of 2008-2009, but has left many consumers shaken, frugal and risk-averse. Even the banks are refraining from risk. This suppresses economic growth and although the economy has recovered, it’s probably not as strong as it may seem on the surface, Cramer acknowledged.
So as the Fed looks to tighten its fiscal policies by raising interest rates, let’s hope that this time around it has the proper data and research to make sure the economy can truly handle its next set of moves, Cramer concluded.
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