It was almost a record week for the markets this week, but a massive run-up in the major indexes was stopped short by announcements on Friday from the office of Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election, that more than a dozen operatives had worked to influence the election. That announcement came amid during an otherwise strong day of trading with the legacy packaged foods sector, i.e. Kraft Heinz (KHC) and Campbell Soup (CPB) , being the biggest weak spot.
But as the markets still finished the week higher overall, Jim Cramer points out that much of the short positions that were set up to pay off if volatility continued were blown to shreds even before Friday. "There are short footprints everywhere," he writes of stocks such as Salesforce (CRM) , Workday (WDAY) , Red Hat (RHT) , Adobe (ADBE) , Square (SQ) and VMWare (VMW) . "Take a look at those yesterday. They all surged. That's the last part of the short unwind."
"The biggest bang of all," Cramer says, is an 11% gain in Apple (AAPL) over the past five days, including a $6 pop Thursday and Friday.
"Worse, all of the analysts who turned on Apple right here or below, said nothing yesterday. They were afraid. They had nothing new and they were afraid. They didn't want to go against the icon," wrote Cramer on Real Money.
Meanwhile, TheStreet's sister publication The Deal, dove deep into United Parcel Service (UPS) and the complicated governance structure that gives current and former employees the majority voting power over the company.
So while it's unlikely that an activist investor will launch a campaign at the Atlanta-based shipping giant, considering that employees own super-voting Class A shares, there are a handful of over-tenured directors who could be targeted should investors decide to push for change.
Even though all directors are elected annually, and Christina Smith Shi, the founder of Lovejoy Advisors, was named a new director on Feb. 8, the board's composition, particularly the long-tenured directors, merited a red flag to influential proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, according to a Feb. 2 ISS Due Diligence Profile obtained by The Deal.
There may not be much shareholders can do about these concerns, given the structure of the company's float, but it's an interesting note as the company's stock has been under pressure after incurring higher than expected holiday season shipment costs during its most recent quarter and reports that Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is planning to launch a delivery service for businesses.
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Photo of the day: Facing challenges amid shifting consumer tastes
There's no denying that Campbell Soup Co. is an American institution, providing canned soups and vegetables for more than 150 years. But an iconic label and memorable advertisements haven't been enough to offset changing consumer tastes. Though the company beat earnings per share figures on Friday, Campbell's said it continues to expect sales change in the range of -2 to 0% for fiscal 2018. Campbell's shares ticked down more than 3% Friday to $46.30. Shares are down 4% year-to-date and have lost about a quarter of their value since February 2017. Are more tough times ahead for the Camden, N.J.-based company? TheStreet's Stephen Guilfoyle tells you how to trade it here. Read more
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