Don't equate today's stock market rally with progress on tax reforms, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. The market rallied on the backs of just two stocks, Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) , both of which surprised Wall Street with remarkable earnings.
Both Cisco and Wal-Mart are turnaround stories, Cramer said. Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon has done a remarkable job of rebuilding that company to better compete with Amazon (AMZN) . Those efforts paid off big this quarter with not only better same-store sales but also online growth of 50%. Wal-Mart shares rocketed 10.9% on the news, an incredible move for a large-cap stock.
Cisco has also seen a remarkable turn, shifting from a value stock back to a growth stock, and one with a 4% dividend yield and a $70 billion cash hoard. Cramer said CEO Chuck Robbins has also done an incredible job and Cisco is once again taking market share.
Cramer also called out McDonald's (MCD) , which is up 51% over the past two years. Just as Wal-Mart reinvigorated its employees, McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook re-energized franchisees and has seen tangible results that continue to impress.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says the outcome of any turnaround plan depends on who's at the helm -- like McMillon and Robbins. Get more on his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: PPG Industries
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Michael McGarry, president and CEO of PPG Industries (PPG) , the specialty chemical maker with shares that are up 20% so far this year.
McGarry said there are a number of factors helping to drive business at PPG. Among them, new environmental regulations in China -- allowing PPG to take market share in water-based coatings. PPG is a leader in water-based technologies, allowing the company to both grow its business and help the environment at the same time.
PPG is also benefiting from the uptick in employment here in the U.S. McGarry said that the more employment translates to more traffic congestion which, sadly, results in more collisions and the need to repaint more cars.
Electric cars are another market opportunity for PPG. McGarry explained that batteries require multiple coatings to help keep them cool and insulated from the rest of the vehicle. PPG's recent partnership with SiNode Systems is just one of many electric car partnerships.
Finally, McGarry said that PPG continues to be a serial acquirer of companies as opportunities present themselves, but they also buy back shares and have $2.3 billion in cash on their balance sheet.
Cramer and the AAP are still cautious that tax reform will pass by the end of the year. Find out what they're telling their investment club and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
Miles White of Abbott Labs
Bad executives can run their companies into the ground. Look no further than General Electric (GE) and Sears Holdings (SHLD) for proof of that. But great CEOs, like Miles White of Abbott Labs (ABT) , can turn a company into a powerhouse.
White took the helm at Abbott in 1999 and during his 19-year tenure has delivered a 623% gain, taking into account the company's many spinoffs. That turned a $1,000 investment in 1999 into $7,230 today.
How was White able to accomplish this feat? Cramer explained that White has a remarkable talent for anticipating what people's medical needs will be, then aggressively positioning his company to meet those needs.
Abbott's sold $16 billion worth of its main drug, Humira, last year, making it one of the best-selling drugs ever created. When Abbott's drugs weren't being fully appreciated by Wall Street, White spun off AbbVie (ABBV) in 2013 to make sure that value was realized. More recently, Abbott acquired medical device maker St. Jude in anticipation of what will likely be a coming boom in medical devices.
Cramer said good management is always the key to success in any industry, which is why he's spotlighting White's value-creating abilities.
Executive Decision: DexCom
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer again sat down with Kevin Sayer, president and CEO at DexCom (DXCM) , the continuous glucose monitoring company that saw its shares sink 33% after rival Abbott Labs received FDA approval for a new monitoring system that doesn't require a finger prick. Since then, however, DexCom shares have rallied 19% off their lows.
Sayer explained that he sees the Abbott product as an opportunity for DexCom to shine, as their product offers features that Abbott doesn't, including the ability to pair with smartphones and share data with doctors and others, with unsurpassed accuracy. DexCom already competes with Abbott's device in Europe and has for three years. Patients are not abandoning DexCom.
Sayer said DexCom's hidden asset is its investment in technology. It will be able to match Abbott's no-prick system by the end of 2018, he said, while also offering benefits in performance, convenience and cost. DexCom's platform will soon need nothing more than an Apple (AAPL) Watch to talk to its sensors and send that data to the cloud. Abbott has nothing that works with an Apple Watch.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said he was elated to hear that Fortune magazine named Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia (NVDA) , as the magazine's Person of the Year.
Cramer said Nvidia, an Action Alerts PLUS holding, has the triple play of leading positions in chips for the data center, autonomous driving and gaming. Nvidia chips are also the only game in town when it comes to mining Bitcoin. Shares of Nvidia were trading at $25 in February of 2016 and have delivered a 211% gain since.
Huang saw all of these trends coming and shareholders are reaping the rewards.
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