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Until oil prices stabilize, don't expect any meaningful relief in the stock market, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Tuesday. That may seem counter-intuitive, Cramer admitted, but that's the market we find ourselves in.
Simply put, lower energy costs should be a boon for corporate America and the stock market. Cheaper gasoline means consumers have more money to spend at retailers and restaurants. Companies that use energy, from plastics to trucking, should also prosper from lower costs. In fact, just about our entire economy benefits from cheaper oil prices.
So why do stocks fall on every decline in oil? Well, it's largely because of the oil sector itself, Cramer explained. As oil prices fall and production declines, the oil companies are in for a world of pain. Even the oil pipeline companies, which were billed as toll roads immune to the price of oil, are finding that lower prices means less oil being drilled and less product traveling along the pipes.
While many pundits expect oil prices to quickly rebound, Cramer said his experts tell different story, one where oil prices remain at historic lows for years.
Over the long run, the benefits to our economy from cheap oil will extend far beyond just airlines and cruise ships, Cramer concluded. But over the short term, the markets just won't find a bottom without some stability in oil.
Executive Decision: Andrew Liveris
In his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Andrew Liveris, chairman, president and CEO of Dow Chemical (DOW) , to discuss his company's proposed merger with DuPont (DD) , especially given that Dow shares have now fallen below $45 a share. Dow is a holding in Cramer's charitable portfolio, Action Alerts PLUS.
Liveris was celebrating the inauguration of a new facility in Freeport, Texas, which converts propane from shale gas field to propylene, a vital feedstock for many other products and chemicals. Liveris said the Dow facility is the largest of it's kind in the world.
Alongside that facility is a new innovation center, Liveris continued, where over 900 scientists will work under one roof to develop sustainable solutions.
When asked about the merger, Liveris noted the $3 billion in synergies the combined companies will have. He said Dow is affected by China and other global markets, but the current negativity will pass, allowing the combined companies to flourish.
Finally, when asked whether the U.S. is now the world's cheapest producer of natural gas, Liveris said the only place to find cheaper gas is in controlled markets, and those markets are rapidly converting to free-market pricing like ours.
Stick With Darden
Cramer said those investors who bought Darden simply because Starboard got involved should probably follow them out. The smart investors, the ones who did their homework, know the recent weakness is a reason to buy.
Cramer said it's important to know what you own and why you own it. In the case of Darden, the story is all about new management with new ideas and the tailwind of cheap gasoline adding to consumers wallets. Activists, however, get involved for different reasons that have nothing to do with your own portfolio.
Cramer noted Starboard also got involved with Macy's (M) last year, prodding the company to convert its real estate to a real estate investment trust. Investors who blindly followed have gotten crushed, as Macy's decided not to convert its real estate, then got crushed by a warm winter and strong competition from Amazon.com (AMZN) .
If you don't have time for homework, buy an index fund, Cramer concluded. Don't blindly follow activists that have different agendas and time horizons.
Cramer's Mea Culpa
With the markets fretting over commodity deflation, China and the Federal Reserve, now is the wrong time to be speculating on stocks, Cramer told viewers. Which is why he issued a mea culpa for his recommendations of Fitbit (FIT) and Alcoa (AA) .
Back in December, Cramer interviewed Fitbit's CEO and declared it would be a Fitbit holiday with the company winning big in the consumer and corporate health markets.
Cramer also recommended Alcoa, as recently as yesterday, on the company's coming breakup this summer.
But Cramer admitted that what he failed to appreciate was the current market environment, which is one that is showing no mercy for even the best-of-breed companies, and is decimating speculative stories like Fitbit and Alcoa. Cramer said he's still a believer of both companies over the long term, but now is not the time to be buying these stocks.
Cramer was bearish on EMC (EMC) , Hawaiian Holdings (HA) , Canadian Solar (CSIQ) , Dunkin Brands (DNKN) , Atwood Oceanics (ATW) , Diamond Resorts (DRII) , Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX) and United States Steel (X) .
Executive Decision: Stanley Erck
Erck said Novavax had a terrific 2015 and is continuing down the same path for 2016. He explained that after two positive Phase II trials for their RSV vaccines last year, they just need to replicate those results in the Phase III trials currently underway.
Erck continued Novavax vaccinated 11,850 patients last month and will being compiling data from those patients in the third quarter. He said the company is on a "predictable path" and doesn't expect any surprises.
Cramer said that eventually the negativity in the markets will pass and companies that are doing well, like Novavax, will once again prosper.
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