The pundits may be calling the top in the stock market, but Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Friday that he sees the market as individual companies, and the good ones continue to hit it out of the park.
Cramer's game plan for next week's trading starts on Monday, when Warren Buffett is scheduled to be on CNBC. Cramer said he wants to hear Buffett's thoughts on his portfolio's biggest under-performers, like American Express (AXP) , Coca-Cola (KO) and Wells Fargo (WFC) .
Also on Monday, Priceline (PCLN) will be reporting and Cramer remained bullish, while warning about the company's historically cautious forecasts.
On Tuesday, it's Domino's Pizza (DPZ) , Target (TGT) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) reporting. Cramer was bullish on Domino's but warned it may be a target for short sellers. He was also cautiously optimistic on both Target and Valeant.
For Thursday, watch for Burlington Stores (BURL) and Kroger (KR) , along with AutoDesk (ADSK) and Marvell Technologies (MRVL) . Cramer would be a buyer of all but Kroger, where he's waiting for the grocery wars to subside.
Finally, on Friday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to give a speech on the economic outlook. Cramer said the economy needs a rate hike before things really start heating up.
Executive Decision: Live Nation
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) , a stock that's up 44% since Cramer last spoke with him a little more than a year ago — but also one that fell 3% in today's session on what appeared to be solid quarterly results.
Rapino said he's very proud of this quarter's results and of Live Nation's record year in 2016. He said that things continue to look good for 2017 and beyond.
Nearly 77 million people attended a Live Nation show last year, Rapino said, and he anticipates that number will rise in 2017. People relish the live concert experience. Live Nation puts on 26,000 shows a year around the globe.
When asked about competition from Amazon.com (AMZN) , which is moving into selling tickets, Rapino said that he's always seen Live Nation's Ticketmaster business as an open platform that should be selling tickets to every retail outlet. Most shows are not sold out, he noted, which means they welcome Amazon and others who can help sell more tickets.
Does the concert business ever get old? Rapino said artists are constantly reinventing themselves and keeping shows fresh for their audiences. He said he see significant opportunities in the high-end, premium segment of the concert market.
A Spoonful of Sugar ... Won't Help
Vitamins and supplements used to be all the rage, Cramer explained, but over the past 18 months, shares of GNC have plummeted 83%, while Vitamin Shoppe has seen its shares fall 66% from their 2013 highs. What went wrong? Plenty.
Cramer said GNC has a number of worrisome trends, not the least of which is a lack of innovation to drive new sales. The company also came under scrutiny for the labeling of some of its products and more recently is experiencing inventory issues and franchisee unrest as same store-sales -- the key metric for any retailer -- continue to plunge.
GNC's CEO stepped down in July 2016, leaving behind $1.54 billion in debt, which is becoming a dicey proposition with anemic cash flow.
Vitamin Shoppe is experiencing a similar fate, albeit slower and with a far cleaner balance sheet, Cramer said.
What has done these companies in? Amazon. Cramer said Amazon has better pricing, convenience, selection and frankly, innovation, than either of these retailers can offer. He advised steering clear of both companies.
Executive Decision: CBRE Group
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also checked back in with Bob Sulentic, president and CEO of the real estate investment trust CBRE (CBG) , which has seen its stock rise 19% since Cramer last spoke with Sulentic just three months ago.
Sulentic said the fundamentals of the real estate market are a lot better than people think, which has led CBRE to have not only a nice quarter but a strong year overall. He said there are a lot of misconceptions about the retail industry, including understanding where rents and occupancy are up thanks to a lack of new construction.
Sulentic also said that when big retailers like JC Penney (JCP) announce they're closing stores, they often turn to companies like CBRE to assist them.
As for having a real estate guy in the Oval Office, Sulentic said that he's hopeful good things will happen with lower taxes, infrastructure spending and deregulation.
After another strong quarter, Cramer urged viewers to read the CBRE's filing to see for themselves.
The Lightning Round
Cramer was bearish on Sunoco (SUN) .
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer proclaimed that to call a top in the market is to be a king -- but it also means never having to say you're sorry.
Those who scare investors that a top is at hand don't actually need to be right; they can just say they're "early." Top callers never have to disclose how they position their portfolios to capitalize on their cautious commentary.
Too often, individual investors are scared out of the markets by pundits who only talk about the market at large and not about the top-quality companies that lie within.
Investors would be far less likely to sell because of these calls if they only knew the facts about the people who make those calls.
Are you sensing a little resistance? Cramer and the AAP team look at Apple (AAPL) , Facebook (FB) , Alphabet (GOOGL) , and Schlumberger (SLB) in their weekly roundup. Be ready for the week ahead and find out what they're telling their investment club members with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
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