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There's negative, and then there's too negative, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. But no matter how bad it may seem, we will get through it.
Cramer once again sounded off against the Federal Reserve members who again chose a big down-day to remind us of all of the many reasons they feel a rate hike is sorely needed. Despite the fact that oil, iron and copper are retesting their lows, the Fed was talking inflation. Inflation? What inflation?
The real test for interest-rate hikes is whether the economy will slow, but not derail, after they occur. Right now, no one can say for certain what will happen.
So what stocks are safe for investors to buy? Cramer said his FANG stocks, Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) , Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) , the former and latter of which Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, are still safe. So too are stocks where investors have gotten too negative, like Kohl's (KSS - Get Report) , General Mills (GIS - Get Report) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB - Get Report) . Cramer also gave the nod to the defense stocks, like Raytheon (RTN - Get Report) and big pharma, like Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Get Report) .
Taking Out GrubHub
When high-flying stocks lose their mojo, investors need to beware, Cramer told viewers. That's exactly what happened with GrubHub (GRUB - Get Report) , the online food ordering company that was all the rage when it came public in April 2014, but now has seen its shares fall 30% this year, below its IPO price.When it debuted, GrubHub was touted as the usual "disruptive technology" that was supposed to change the world. And for awhile, it was, with 85% revenue growth its first year and over 30,000 restaurants as customers. The company was profitable and clearly had the mindshare of the public.
But then growth slowed dramatically, sending shares from a high of $47 to just $23 today as a parade of analysts downgraded the company. When it last reported in October, GrubHub missed on both the top and bottom line, with just about every metric showing that growth is slowing.
Making matters worse, GrubHub is preparing to expand into the competition-ridden field of food delivery, competing with the likes of Uber and Postmates. Wall Street is not convinced that this move will reignite growth, and Cramer said you shouldn't be either.
There is a price at which GrubHub makes sense, Cramer concluded, but at 33 times earnings, we're still not there yet.
Perspective on Low Oil Prices
With oil prices falling back below $45 a barrel, should investors be worried? After all, many money managers use oil prices as a barometer for the economy, so with prices this low, the economy must be horrible, right?
Cramer said in reality the opposite is true; 85% of the S&P 500 companies do better, not worse, when energy prices fall. Unfortunately, that fact doesn't matter for money managers, who often sell like clockwork when oil falls.
Making matters worse, lower gasoline prices don't seem to be spurring sales at restaurants and retail, as you'd expect, nor are they driving mergers and acquisitions in the oil patch, as many had predicted.
The fact is that the bulls want to see oil prices higher, Cramer concluded, and that may need to actually happen before stock prices resume heading higher, even though it wouldn't be a good thing for the economy overall.
Executive Decision: Cheryl Bachelder
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI) , which today posted a two-cent-a-share earnings beat and a 6% rise in same store sales that sent shares up 6.6% on the day.
Bachelder painted a bullish picture for Popeyes, saying that her company continues to deliver flavorful food that people just can't get at home and excitement remains high across the country.
Bachelder was also bullish on Popeyes' international prospects, saying that she sees steady, consistent growth in both new units and comparable store sales in countries like Chile, Peru and many others.
Turning to issues here at home, Bachelder admitted that the real estate market for prime locations has gotten more competitive, but thankfully the unit economics of a Popeyes restaurant makes paying a little more for a great location worth it.
Popeyes remains committed to its stock repurchase program, having just authorized an additional $200 million.
Cramer said that Popeyes proves that not everyone is struggling in the restaurant space; some are doing terrific.
Cramer was bearish on National Oilwell Varco (NOV - Get Report) , Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR) , SunPower (SPWR - Get Report) , Revance Therapeutics (RVNC - Get Report) and The Container Store (TCS - Get Report) .
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