Why does every market rally seem to lack staying power? That was the topic Jim Cramer pondered with his Mad Money viewers Thursday, as he identified things that are getting in the way of this rally.
Cramer's first market speed bump is President Trump, whose economic agenda could actually help stocks, but only if he ever gets around to talking about it. Next is the lack of interest outside of the red-hot FAANG stocks of Facebook (FB) , Amazon.com (AMZN) , Apple (AAPL) , Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL) . These are the only stocks investors seem to care about, Cramer said.
Third on Cramer's list was FAANG itself, as the group cannot single-handedly keep the markets heading higher. Fourth and fifth are the hedge fund managers that never seem to have anything positive to say and the short-sighted analysts that can't look past the day's news. Both of these groups only scare investors out of great long-term stories.
The sixth obstacle this market faces is Amazon (AMZN) , the "dark star" as some retailers call it. Amazon's announcement today of lower prices at Whole Foods Market (WFM) sent the entire food and grocery sector into retreat.
Finally, Cramer said that the obsession over what the Federal Reserve will do next has to stop. It simply doesn't matter what the Fed does, he said, as individual earnings are what's been driving the markets higher.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says you almost never hear some hedge fund manager say, "This stock market's a screaming buy." Get Cramer's insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: Intuit
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Brad Smith, chairman and CEO of Intuit (INTU) , the cloud software provider that just posted a three-cents-a-share earnings beat with a 12% rise in revenues. Shares of Intuit are up 18% in 2017.
Smith started off by saying that "No one ever gets excited to do their taxes," which is why Intuit's TurboTax products continue to grow in popularity. He said of the 155 million taxpayers, nearly 85 million of them still see a professional in person, which is why they've now added an SOS service that connects taxpayers with live help to get their questions answered.
What would a simpler tax code mean for Intuit? Smith said that any effort to make filing taxes easier would mean that more people would do it themselves and that's great news for Intuit.
Intuit is no stranger to the gig economy, as the company has products specifically for the self-employed and freelancers.
Avoiding the Retail Wreck
Can the rest of retail survive in an Amazon world? Cramer found four companies that are not only surviving, they're thriving, thanks to a unique set of skills.
Shares of Williams-Sonoma (WSM) popped 3.5% today after the company reported earnings. Management said its key to success is personalization, something it knows well from its roots as a catalog operator.
Then there's PVH (PVH) , the apparel maker whose CEO, Manny Chirico, appeared on last night's show. Shares of PVH were up another 5.7% today. The key to PVH's success? Diversification. The company invested in Europe just after the recession, and those investments are paying off big.
Finally, there's the duo of Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Burlington Stores (BURL) , two deep discounters that offer customers tremendous value without the need for free two-day shipping. Shares of the pair were up 5.6% and 1.3% respectively after their strong quarterly results.
All of these companies would make great investments, Cramer concluded, especially Burlington, which was only up slightly today.
Executive Decision: Synaptics
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Rick Bergman, president and CEO of Synaptics (SYNA) , the No. 1 provider of touch display technology, which just delivered a modest top and bottom line beat but with weaker-than-expected guidance for the rest of 2017.
Bergman admitted that the industry is currently transitioning to new technologies, which may provide some short-term hiccups, but his company still has many key cycles moving in their favor. He said the next generation of smartphone displays will no longer need separate buttons for fingerprint readers. Mobile devices will continue to be a core business for Synaptics.
Bergman added that his company's two recent acquisitions in the Internet of things space gives Synaptics another area of growth for at least the next 36 months.
Cramer said that the future looks bright for Synaptics, even with the short-term hiccups.
Cramer and the AAP team say they're just looking, not buying. But they're waiting for a better deal on some stocks, including Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) . Get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Portola Pharmaceuticals (PTLA) , Salesforce.com (CRM) , Universal Display (OLED) , iRobot (IRBT) , Bank of America (BAC) , Best Buy (BBY) , Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) , Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) , Carnival (CCL) , Eldorado Resorts (ERI) and McDonald's (MCD) .
Executive Decision: EPR Properties
For his last "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Greg Silvers, president and CEO of EPR Properties (EPR) , the entertainment REIT with shares off 5% for 2017.
Silvers said that while they're seeing some softness in box-office sales, EPR's rents remain protected and most of their movie theater tenants make most of their money from concessions, food and beverages and are not reliant solely on ticket sales.
When asked about the continued talk about charter schools, Silvers noted that any conversation about school choice is good for EPR's properties.
Silvers also noted one of his company's other high-profile tenants, Top Golf, which continues to grow and remains a great tenant for EPR.
Finally, when asked about his company's credit portfolio, Silvers said that they are always looking to improve the credit quality of their tenants and he believes they have over the past few years.
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