With the biggest week of earnings upon us, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday they need to examine their portfolios closely. If expectations are low, then that's a good thing, but if they're high, investors be to be very careful. That's because the stocks that are doing well aren't the ones we expected to do well, they're the ones no one saw coming.
Case in point: disk drive maker Seagate (STX) . Everyone expected Seagate to have a so-so quarter at best. But when it surprised to the upside, the stock shot up 12.6%, taking most of the other semiconductor makers, and even the semiconductor equipment makers, along for the ride.
Strong sales at apparel maker VF Corp (VFC) were also unexpected, sending rival PVH Corp (PVH) higher, along with retailers Target (TGT) and Walmart (WMT) . Cramer called out the quick reversal in Illinois Toolworks (ITW) and the strength in Danaher (DHR) as two other surprises that were rewarded by the market.
On the flipside, those stocks which we expected to do well, like Procter & Gamble (PG) and Unilever (UL) in the packaged goods space, are both struggling after failing to impress Wall Street. Cramer added United Airlines (UAL) and General Electric (GE) to the disappointment list.
So as the earnings come fast and furious for the rest of the week, Cramer urged investors to keep an eye out for the unexpected, as those stocks will be rewarded handsomely.
Executive Decision: Hasbro
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Brian Goldner, chairman and CEO at toymaker Hasbro (HAS) , which despite reporting stronger-than-expected earnings, saw its shares fall 8.6% on the day. Investors appear worried about the company's long-term guidance, given the bankruptcy filing by Toys R Us.
Goldner said that they didn't have any advance notice that Toys R Us was going to file for bankruptcy, but when they found out, Hasbro took a few days' pause to get the information it needed and work out a new agreement with the retailer just before the crucial holiday season. He said that agreement has been signed and shipments continue to flow to Toys R Us.
Goldner noted that while Toys R Us is still a great partner for Hasbro, his company has expanded and diversified its retail footprint to include dollar stores and discounters, omni-channel and online retailers as well as outlets around the globe. So while Toys R Us caused a short-term revision in their plans, 2018 and beyond remains strong.
Hasbro's "My Little Pony" franchise, for example, is the subject of a new Hollywood movie and is performing very well, Goldner said. Their packaged goods and game businesses are both up and they continue to see good box office sales and look forward to the home video and streaming revenue streams after that. Home entertainment is a new category for Hasbro, but it's exciting and growing, he said.
Goldner is looking forward to the 2018 movie lineup which will include Star Wars, Marvel, The Avengers, Han Solo and Transformers tie-ins.
Crude Oil Poised for a Comeback
Crude oil looks poised for a comeback in 2018, Cramer told viewers, and that's great news for oil service giant Schlumberger (SLB) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, even if the analysts haven't yet seen the forest for the trees.
Schlumberger has has a rough time this year, Cramer explained. When oil was trading near $20 a barrel in early 2016, shares of Schlumberger were at $60. Now that oil has recovered into the $50s, shares of Schlumberger have remained near $60. That's because investors and analysts appear to be focused on near-term weakness going into the winter season, rather than focusing on 2018 and beyond.
Schlumberger tells it like it is, Cramer said, and this company knows its industry. In its commentary, Schlumberger said it sees the current inventory reductions as positive, signaling that supply and demand are returning to balance. OPEC's production cuts are working, the company noted, and older fields are not being replenished as quickly as demand.
Cramer said the outlook that Schlumberger provided is indeed encouraging and its stock is cheap by historical standards. What benefits Schlumberger the most, he concluded, is a healthy oil market, and that's exactly what the company forecast, if you only look beyond the next few months.
Executive Decision: Agenus
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Garo Armen, chairman and CEO of Agenus (AGEN) , a biotech working on personalized vaccines to help patients fight cancer, among other diseases.
Armen said his company's cancer division is very exciting, especially given Gilead Sciences' (GILD) $11 billion purchase of Kite Pharmaceuticals. That's why they're in the process of separating their cell therapies division into what could become a publicly traded subsidiary.
Beyond cancer, Agenus is also producing vaccines for malaria and shingles, two areas where Armen noted, "there's lots of money to be made." Agenus is working closely with hospitals, he said, which are providing the tissue samples they need to determine which genetic markers work for which patients.
When asked about their timeline, Armen said that cell therapies are moving very rapidly and it's not implausible to be in clinical trials next year and possible have filings to the FDA within two years.
Cramer said that Agenus is a low-dollar speculative stock, but it has an exciting story to tell.
Cramer and the AAP team take a close look at cost-increasing events at Arconic (ARNC) . Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer once again scratched his head and asked, "what is Congress thinking when it comes to tax reforms?"
Rumors over the weekend that Congress is considering slashing 401k contributions, from $18,000 a year down to just $2,400 a year is a terrible idea and makes no sense whatsoever, Cramer said. The 401k encourages savings and Americans have embraced them. Slashing them would simply be crazy.
When trying to pass big reforms, you need as few enemies as possible, Cramer continued, which is why he still has little faith that Congress has any chance of getting reforms passed.
Over on Real Money, Cramer writes: Cutting 401(k) benefits? That's some way to help out the middle class.
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