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Suddenly, we find ourselves in an era of good feelings for stocks, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday. Just 10 days ago, the pressure was on to sell everything, Cramer said. Today, the narrative seems to have changed.
What's different? Cramer said crude prices have strengthened, and that's created some much needed stability in the oil patch. There are also reported merger talks between Honeywell (HON) and United Technologies (UTX) , which is breathing new life into the M&A market.
More importantly, there is some clarity on the U.S. political scene after the latest round of primaries over the weekend. With front runners Clinton and Trump solidifying their leads, the possibility of two pro-business candidates running for President seems like more of a possibility.
Even on the earnings front there's good news, Cramer concluded, as stocks like John Deere (DE) and Nordstrom (JWN) were able to rally 1.8% and 4.4%, respectively, despite having reported miserable quarters just last week.
Gap’s 'Toxic' Problem
What happens when a comeback story runs of out of steam? It isn't pretty, Cramer told viewers, as he examined the rise and fall of Gap Stores (GPS) , a stock that soared 67% in 2012, 26% in 2013 and another 8% in 2014, only to plummet 41% last year.
Cramer explained that after languishing for almost a decade, Gap was able to mount a sizable turnaround, implementing a number of new initiatives and technologies that made its brands relevant again. During this time, same store sales were rising, along with the company's top and bottom lines.
But in early 2015, Gap began to miss its targets for both revenue and earnings. By July of that year, same-store sales began decreasing, prompting analyst downgrades. That was followed by a back-to-school and winter season that was difficult for every retailer but dismal for Gap.
While shares of Gap have rallied almost 20% in just the past week and trade at just 11 times earnings, Cramer said the company has done little to inspire any confidence that it has its act together. There is simply no reason to own the stock, he concluded, going so far as to call it "toxic."
Tale of Two Retailers
"Execution matters," Cramer reminded viewers, as he highlighted the differences between Columbia Sportswear (COLM) and VF Corp (VFC) , two companies that are both heavily tied to winter apparel, but also ones that delivered completely different quarterly earnings.
Cramer noted that while both companies seemingly are in the same winter apparel business with a house of great brands, Columbia is excelling with brands that are resonating the customers, enough to overcome warm winter weather and a tough economic environment overseas. VF, however, cited the weather no less than nine times in its prepared remarks and had no answer for how the company was able to post double-digit growth in 2011, when it also saw a warm winter.
Cramer said Columbia has investors' trust that it can deliver on its promises. The company also has the better stable of brands in all of the right areas. That's why he continues to recommend it.
Executive Decision: Brent Saunders
In his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Brent Saunders, president and CEO of Allergan (AGN) , the pharmaceutical giant that just posted a 7-cents-a-share earnings beat.
Saunders said the massive changes in the drug industry requires consolidation, which is why Allergan is acquiring Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and is then planning to merge with Pfizer (PFE) . He said Allergan's and Pfizer's depressed share prices are an anomaly that the market will eventually correct. Until it does, there are great opportunities for investors to buy.
When asked about his company's pipelines in areas such as aesthetics and gastroenterology, Saunders remained optimistic as he awaited the data from the latest round of clinical trials.
Turning to the issue of politics, where both political parties have taken aim at pharmaceuticals, Saunders said it's important to separate the rhetoric from reality. He said drugs account for less than 10% of health care costs and ultimately save lives and save money.
Cramer called Allergan one of the most transparent drugmakers out there and reiterated his buy on the stock.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer pondered why $30 a barrel oil seems so magical for the stock market. He said that $30 oil has two positive effects. First is a slowing in the decline of oil, which gives oil companies time to cut expenses and banks the time to shore up their balance sheets.
Oil over $30 is also the "sweet spot" for our economy, Cramer noted, because it equates to a huge tax cut for consumers and encourages companies to start new factories to take advantage of cheap natural gas. Make no mistake, he said, cheap energy matters to our economy.
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