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What's driving the stocks that are working in this market? In a word, demand, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. If a company's products are in demand, so too will be the demand for shares of its stock.
Case in point, Boeing (BA) , a stock that had been lost in the wilderness but was found after the company reported strong demand that sent shares up a quick 4.6% on the day. Likewise with content delivery network Akamai (AKAM) , shares of which jumped 14.6% on that company's strong earnings.
There's strong demand for defense around the globe, Cramer said, and that was good news for Northrop Grumman (NOC) , which delivered knockout earnings and shares rose 3.8%. As viewers learned last night from KeyCorp (KEY) , there's also demand for money from regional banks.
Those companies without demand included Edwards Lifesciences (EW) , which plummeted more than 17% on the day as the company failed to impress Wall Street's growing expectations. Meanwhile, the airlines also disappointed, with Southwest Airlines (LUV) dipping 8.4% on a weak forecast.
Cramer said the battle in athletic apparel make it hard to own either Nike (NKE) or Under Armour (UA) , but it does make it easy to pick up some Foot Locker (FL) , which sells both company's products.
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with James Squires, chairman, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern (NSC) , the railroad that just reported a 10-cents-a-share earnings beat with inline revenues.
Squires said that despite shrinking cargo volumes, Norfolk Southern was still able to deliver on earnings thanks to a focus on cost efficiencies, with this quarter representing their best cost ratio for the year. He said that rail continues to provide a special value proposition for many types of cargo and is competitive with trucks in many markets.
When asked about shrinking coal volumes, Squires said that he sees coal as having a permanent place in America's energy matrix and expects to be shipping coal at some level for years to come.
Squires was quick to mention that when it comes to being environmentally friendly, rail continues to be the most efficient way to move a ton of cargo.
Cramer said that with Norfolk Southern posting good earnings with only OK cargo volumes, imagine what the company could do with improving volumes.
Do Analysts Covering Apple Need Professional Help?
What's wrong with the analysts covering Apple? Cramer said he was stunned by the lack of respect shown to CEO Tim Cook on this quarter's earnings call, so much so that Cramer suggested perhaps these analysts could benefit from some therapy.
Cramer said Apple reported a quarter that was far better than any of the analysts were predicting just three months ago, and would have been able to do even better if the iPhone 7 were not supply constrained. But that didn't stop the analysts from badgering Cook on the call, questioning if Apple had a "grand strategy" at all.
Cramer said the disrespect was totally uncalled for, especially given that many of the same analysts praise Microsoft (MSFT) , which has had flat revenues for four years, and Oracle (ORCL) , which has been skidding sideways for six.
But Apple continues to be held to a higher standard, despite its shares trading for a lower multiple. Enough already, Cramer said, and "congrats on a great quarter, Tim."
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer talked with with Nick Pinchuk, chairman, president and CEO of Snap-on (SNA) , the toolmaker with shares that are down 10% for the year, despite just delivering a seven-cents-a-share earnings beat with bullish commentary for the rest of the year.
Pinchuk reiterated that Snap-on's mission is to make work easier with great products and that is how his company continues to deliver organic growth year after year. He used Snap-on's new thermal imager as one example of innovation, explaining that the device can instantly look at a part and using its reference data, determine whether that part is good or bad just by looking at the amount of heat it generates. The imager, he continued, is already sold out.
Snap-on has also been on the acquisition trail, purchasing Car-o-liner for $155 million as a foothold into the collision repair space. Pinchuk said that collision has not been a big area for Snap-on thus far, but with more and more repairs being performed at collision shops, the acquisition will provide them with a runway for growth in that category.
Cramer said he loved Pinchuk's passion and loved Snap-on's ability to deliver both organic growth and a dividend.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on TJX Companies (TJX) , Owens Illinois (OI) , KB Home (KBH) , Pfizer (PFE) , United Technologies (UTX) , Danaher (DHR) , Illinois Tool Works (ITW) and MGM Growth Properties (MGP) .
In a third and final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke again with Richard Pops, chairman and CEO of Alkermes (ALKS) , the drug stock that's been clawing its way higher after shares were cut in half in January following disappointing clinical trial data.
Pops explained that conducting clinical trials for depression is very difficult, due in part to the placebo effect. In the case of Alkermes' clinical trial in January, Pops said they didn't design the trial correctly, but their most recent trial has allowed their drug, 5461, to reveal its benefits.
Pops said that 12 million people are treated with antidepressants every year, yet nearly a third don't report results. The real benefit of 5461, he said, is for drug-resistant patients.
Alkermes is also seeing continued success with Vivitrol, their anti-addiction treatment, which Pops said is only just now getting warmed up after 10 years of development.
Cramer same that Pops is "a guy doing the right thing."
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