Don't Let Stock Picking Scare You: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Wednesday 7/19/17)
Don't be scared of stocks.

What happens when regular investors once again become interested in the stock market? That was the question Jim Cramer was pondering with his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. As the markets continue to pick up steam, individuals are increasingly interested in picking their own stocks.

Cramer explained that he gets stopped on the street all the time and people ask him how the markets are doing. But recently, investors are asking about stocks, individual stocks, usually ones they've already bought on their own.

In one case, a man had purchased $100,000 worth of Amazon (AMZN) , an investment that is now worth $8 million. Others wondered about Alibaba (BABA) , Universal Display (OLED) , Costco (COST) and even Herman Miller (MLHR) after the company was featured on "Mad Money" recently.

Cramer said he's even renamed his rescue dog "Nvidia" after the chipmaker (NVDA)  with the red hot stock. Nvidia was totally "gettable" by individual investors, Cramer said, and the stock was $54 this time last year and now trades at $165.

So while money managers may try to scare you into an index fund, saying that individual stocks are too risky, just remember these names, which prove otherwise.

On Real Money, Cramer says that despite the incredible run in the market and the mess in Washington, there could yet be some real firepower that could come off the sidelines and into this market. Get his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.

The Strong, Silent Types 

The stock market's rally isn't about the small number of flashy stocks that are in the headlines every day, Cramer told viewers, it's about the silent majority of low-profile names that keep climbing day after day.

One of those stocks is Equifax (EFX) , the credit reporting agency with shares that have more than tripled over the past three years. Equifax is about a lot more than just your credit score however. As more and more data-driven financial decisions are being made, the data that Equifax provides only gets more valuable. The company also offers employee verification and HR services.

Equifax has what money managers crave, accelerating revenue growth, posting 5.8% growth in 2014, 9.3% in 2015 and 11.1% last year. The company last posted a three-cents-a-share earnings beat but still trades at just 21 times next year's earnings. Cramer said he'd be a buyer on any weakness.

Defensive Mergers 

Today the merger gods delivered not one, but two deals for investors to mull over. First, Discovery Communications (DISCA) is merging with Scripps Network (SNI) , and second, spice maker McCormick (MKC) is snapping up brands from Reckitt Benckiser for $4.2 billion.

On the surface, these deals may seem totally different but Cramer said they're the same, as these companies are merging to gain more clout with their distributors in an effort to stay relevant in challenging markets.

In the case of McCormick, adding such brands as French's mustard, Frank's Red Hot and Cattlemen's BBQ sauce will give the company more power when fighting for shelf space in grocery stores. Likewise, the addition of HGTV, Food Network and the DIY channel will give Discovery more leverage with cable providers.

Both of these deals are defensive, Cramer added, and McCormick in particular paid a hefty premium to get the deal done because it had to. Investors sent shares lower by 5.2% on the news, while Discovery ended higher by 4.3%. Only time will tell if these deals will pay off.

Executive Decision: Edwards Lifesciences

For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Mike Mussallem, chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences (EW) , the medical device maker with shares that are up 13% over the past year.

Mussallem explained that Edwards was founded on revolutionary heart valve technology and over the past 20 years, that technology has only been getting better and better. What was once an open heart procedure requiring more than a week in the hospital and weeks thereafter of tough recovery has now been completely transformed.

Mussallem continued by explaining that Edwards' newest heart valve can be squeezed into a catheter and implanted intravenously in about an hour. Patients don't even require general anesthesia and can be awake for the procedure. These new valves are better for everyone -- with better technology, better outcomes and better economics.

Cramer said shares of Edwards Lifesciences are not done going up, as the company's products are revolutionary.

Cramer and the AAP team are telling their investment club members that the big news driving their portfolio today is centered around oil. Get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.

Portola Pharmaceuticals 

When you're investing in early-stage biotech companies, there's only one thing that matters, and that's FDA approval. Case in point, Portola Pharmaceuticals (PTLA) , a stock that was cut in half in 2016, losing 56% of its value, after the FDA requested more information about its drug, rather than approving it.

Fast forward a year and shares of Portola are up 156% over the past six months alone, now that the FDA has finally approved Bevyxxa, the company's blot clotting drug, which could be worth $3 billion.

Early-stage biotech stocks are binary, Cramer reminded viewers, they're either hot or their not. Portola has seen both extremes in just a year.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Electronic Arts (EA) , Activision Blizzard (ATVI) , Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) , Pfizer (PFE) , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) , PNC Financial (PNC) and Cypress Semiconductor (CY) .

Cramer was bearish on GameStop (GME) , Amphastar Pharmaceuticals (AMPH) , Community Bank System (CBU) , Nabors Industries (NBR) , Mazor Robotics (MZOR) and Forterra (FRTA) .

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had no position in stocks mentioned.

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