The skepticism on Wall Street has been thick, but Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday that he's going to remain constructive on the future of stocks and stay positive in the face of pessimism.
Cramer said there are a number of factors that have been rattling the bull, not the least of which has been total dysfunction in Washington D.C. Cramer said he'd be happy if Congress could pass something simple, like repatriation of overseas funds, but he's not counting on it.
Then there's North Korea, where tensions continue to escalate. China does not appear willing to solve the problem for us, Cramer noted, and that means eventually the U.S. will have to act in some fashion. He's raising funds for Action Alerts PLUS just in case.
Next, the bears argue that the market is overvalued, but Cramer said that the market's rotational nature is keeping prices in check. As the tech stocks get too hot, investors rotate into other groups, which is why we saw a rally in the cable stocks and some retail names, as other sectors pulled back.
Cramer reminded viewers that this is not the dot-com bubble all over again. Investors are not borrowing to buy stocks. In most cases, they're being prudent.
What a Way to Fail
If the New York Times (NYT) is "failing," as our President would have you believe, then it's failing upwards, Cramer told viewers. It turns out the Times is a publicly traded company, and its shares are up 60% since the election.
The New York Times had been struggling with the rest of print media, falling from $50 a share in 2002 to lows near $3.44 in the depths of the recession in 2009. Even after a fresh influx of cash and a new paywall for its online operations in 2011, subscription revenues were still flat by 2016, with ad revenues falling from $711 million in 2015 to just $580 million.
But the fortunes of the Times were correlated with President Trump, who continues to refer to the paper as the "failing" New York Times. Shares jumped 10% in the first three days after the election and the company tacked on 41,000 new subscribers in the first week.
Digital operations at the Times are up 22% and circulation revenue now accounts for 61% of sales, with only 33% stemming from advertising. When the company last reported, it posted blowout numbers with a four-cents-a-share earnings beat.
What was Cramer's take? He said that he's not a fan of the company's two-tier stock structure, nor the stock's valuation at 26x times earnings. While the company's turn has been remarkable, Cramer said, the easy money has already been made. On a pullback however, he'd consider investing.
Executive Decision: Domino's Pizza
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer once again checked in with Patrick Doyle, president and CEO of Domino's Pizza Inc. (DPZ) , which saw its shares tumble by more than 10% last week after the company reported a nine-cents-a-share earnings beat with a 9.5% increase in domestic same-store sales.
Doyle said his company's lackluster 2.6% increase in international same-store sales was "fixable." He said the weakness largely stemmed from Europe and the U.K. as the "value equation was not quite right," but he assured investors that they will "get it moving again."
Doyle further explained that the issues were simply execution and not some larger problem with the economy or with changing consumer preferences. He had positive things to say about McDonald's (MCD) and that company's turnaround under CEO Steve Easterbrook, but reiterated that McDonald's was not the cause of their weakness.
Last quarter was the first time Domino's fell under their projections "in a long time," Doyle added.
Cramer said that if Patrick Doyle says the problems are fixable, then they're fixable.
Cramer and the AAP team are giving their investment club members some insight on this week's earnings, including Apple (AAPL) , Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP) , and NXP Semiconductors, (NXPI) . Get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
The Killer 'B's
Not every winner in this red-hot market is a tech stock, Cramer reminded viewers. Most of this market's winners are, in fact, boring companies delivering slow and steady growth.
So far in 2017, shares of Baxter are up 36%, Becton up 22% and Boston Scientific are higher by 23%. Taking a longer, five-year view, the gains are even more impressive, with Boston Scientific up a stunning 400%.
How are these companies able to post such returns? Cramer said they have America's aging demographics pulling in their favor, but they also have rapid innovation, introducing both new products as well as improvements to existing ones.
Despite all their positives, shares still trade at a respectable 23 times earnings for Baxter and just 19 times for the other two. That's more than reasonable given these companies' growth rates, Cramer concluded.
Cramer was bearish on Radian Group (RDN) .
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer pondered whether the weak transports have the potential to derail the bull.
Cramer reminded viewers that for any rally to have staying power, it needs the transports to be involved. This quarter, the transports peaked on July 14 and have been sinking ever since. The rails were hurt by high expectations for the new CEO at CSX (CSX) , while shippers like FedEx (FDX) were overhyped by ecommerce euphoria. Then the airlines saw more competition than expected.
Cramer said he can give a pass to all of these groups, for now, but he can't excuse the weakness in autos, which is turning very real. For now however, he's willing to take a wait-and-see approach.
On Real Money, Cramer says that he believes expectations have simply gotten too high going into the reporting period for the transports. Get his insights on rails, freight and airlines with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
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