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Those who are really bullish on the U.S. economy are just plain wrong, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. He listed recent economic data showing why you shouldn't be bullish.
Cramer said there's only one question on everyone's mind right now, and that is are we heading towards another recession? It sure seems that way with auto sales declining, oil prices continuing to slide and, most recently, incredibly weak home sales. Add to that a plethora of political candidates telling Americans that our country needs new leadership to get back on track and chaos overseas and it's easy to see why people are concerned.
So why did the Federal Reserve raise interest rates back in December and why are its members still talking up another March rate hike? Cramer said it's becoming increasingly clear these Fed members are out of touch with reality and we can only hope they wake up before it's too late.
Executive Decision: Cheryl Bachelder
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI) , which on Tuesday delivered a 1-cent-a-share earnings beat but with slowing 2.8% growth in same-store sales and tepid guidance.
Bachelder said the weakness Popeyes is seeing is only short term and she fully expects to return to the normal growth rate as the company continues to execute on its long-term vision. With consumers becoming more uncertain, Bachelder said the value pricing at their competitors has become more in fashion, but that will soon be met with an exciting pipeline of new products.
Looking longer term, Bachelder said she's also very excited about the company's "one technology" initiative, which will put all franchisees on the same technology platform, allowing for better cost controls, benefits for employees and much needed innovations for Popeyes customers such as mobile payments and loyalty rewards.
Cramer said he fully expects Popeyes to recover from the recent weakness because it is a solid performer and has long-term vision.
Is it time to get back into Williams-Sonoma (WSM) , the high-end home goods retailer? After seeing shares more than quadruple in the past five and half years, the stock has now fallen from grace, plunging over 36% in just the past six months.
Cramer said Williams-Sonoma seemed to have gotten everything right. The company dominated the high-end home goods market and figured out the Internet before anyone else. The company derives a full 50% of its sales online.
But then in August of last year the company stumbled, offering only in-line earnings with significantly weaker guidance. Williams-Sonoma cited increasing inventories and increased online competition from the likes of Wayfair (W) and others as some of its ailments.
Cramer said in the end, Williams-Sonoma is still a mall-based retailer, which could keep it under pressure as other online retailers continue nipping at its heels. Additionally, Restoration Hardware (RH) just pre-announced a huge earnings miss, which only adds additional worries.
Executive Decision: Marc Benioff
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com (CRM) , the enterprise software maker whose shares have fallen 20% so far in 2016.
Benioff touted his company's latest earnings, which included a record $1.8 billion in revenue. He said Salesforce continues to help companies, like Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Unilever (UL) , modernize their legacy technology systems and offer instant access to information, even for employees on the go.
When asked about the recent implosion of other cloud stocks, like LinkedIn (LNKD) and Tableau Software (DATA) , Benioff cautioned to beware of the "false cloud." He said that not all companies that say they're in the cloud have subscription models with deferred revenue or a customer-centric business plan focused on success.
No Huddle Offense
Cramer said he understands Apple's reluctance to provide back doors into its iPhone, given that countries like China will also ask for those same back doors. The company is also fighting questionable channel checks citing the iPhone is just not selling like it used to.
But given all of the concerns, Cramer reiterated his buy recommendation on Apple, given the company's rumored March event and a new iPhone launch in the fall.
To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.
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