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How did the Dow Jones Industrial Average rebound over the key 18,000 level? Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday that the answer was simple -- the average never should have been so low to begin with. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in the list of the Dow's top 10 best performers so far in 2016. In every case, things turned out to be a lot better than many of the bears had feared.
The best-performing stock in the Dow so far in 2016 is Caterpillar (CAT) , up 16%. While Cat's end markets are still in taters, it turns out the stock already reflected those negatives going into the new year. Second on the list is Walmart (WMT) , another name that is not performing overly well in 2016 but never should have sold off as much as it did.
3M (MMM) is in the number three spot, followed by Verizon (VZ) , IBM (IBM) and a pair of oil names, Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) . Cramer said all of these stocks also fit the "never should've been so cheap" thesis.
Rounding out the Dow's top 10 list are McDonald's (MCD) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH) . Cramer said the turnaround at McDonald's continues to amaze, as does UnitedHealth, which surprised investors by pulling out of health exchanges where it was losing money.
This Stock Is Too Fizzy
What the heck is going on at National Beverage (FIZZ) ? Cramer said the maker of soft drinks, lemonade and energy drinks has seen shares rise 91% over the past 12 months and over 224% over the past three years, seemingly out of nowhere.
It turns out the success of National Beverage has been riding on the company's LaCroix brand of sparkling water, which is now the fastest growing sparkling water in U.S. The company has taken this little-known brand and put it into the national spotlight with new packaging and broader distribution, which has propelled the company to 13.1% revenue growth that continues to accelerate.
But at the end of the day, Cramer said LaCroix is nothing more than carbonated water and has no proprietary edge over any other beverage maker. Additionally, shares of National Beverage now trade at 30 times earnings, if you assume a 20% growth rate. That's far more than either Coca-Cola (KO) or Pepsico (PEP) , a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, that trade at 22 and 20 times earnings respectively.
Cramer said he has a hard time recommending National Beverage at these valuations.
Mind the Gap
"Don't fall into the Gap," Cramer warned viewers as he dove in the troubling story of one of America's great apparel retailers, Gap Stores (GPS) . Gap seemed to be on the mend in 2012 through 2014, Cramer explained, but ever since then shares have been on the decline, falling an astounding 50% over just the past 18 months alone.
It all started with Gap's CEO resigning in 2014, after which the company began seeing declining sales. After taking corrective actions and closing 175 stores and reducing its corporate headcount, things only continued to slide. The company continues to suffer from fit and quality problems in its closed and appears to have lost all vision for its brands, Cramer said.
More worrisome is Gap's inability to attract or keep top talent, as well as the company's slow design cycle, which makes it a dinosaur in today's quickly changing fashion world.
But even if Gap was able to fix its internal problems, Cramer said there's still a larger issue at play -- the decline of American mall. With most of its stores located in malls, Gap is now fighting for customers in a market where mall traffic declined a whopping 17% in the month of March alone.
Cramer said he doesn't see any reason to own shares of Gap.
In his "Homework" segment, Cramer followed up on a few stocks that stumped him during earlier shows. He said to take a pass on Aegion (AEGN) , the industrial that derives about half of its revenue from the declining energy and mining sectors.
Cramer was more upbeat on DepoMed (DEPO) , the specialty pharmaceuticals maker that trades at a scant 11 times earnings with a 16% growth rate and an activist investor pushing to unlock even more value.
Following up on Myriad Genetics (MYGN) , a creator of genetic cancer tests, Cramer suggested avoiding this stock. The company has no patent protection and there are cheaper healthcare stocks out there.
Finally, Cramer said Adamas Pharmaceuticals (ADMS) is far too risky for this stock market environment.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer told viewers to forget about meetings between oil ministers, the price of crude is set by simple supply and demand, and Saudi Arabia is in the driver's seat.
Cramer said to calculate the price of oil, use simple arithmetic. U.S. oil production is falling, but Saudi Arabia is picking up the slack, Iran may add 600,000 barrels a day, but demand is expected to pick up by 1.2 million barrels a day. Everyone else, he said, doesn't matter. That leaves a deficit of 600,000 barrels that still needs to be filled.
This formula is all the matters, Cramer said, and why oil prices are likely to remain low for a long time to come. That's reality, he concluded. Get used to it.
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