CNBC’s Jim Cramer doesn’t like to look at the stock market as a whole.
“There’s no such thing as the stock market, not the way most people talk about it,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Instead, you have a market of stocks, and that’s an important distinction, particularly in Cramerica, because stocks are like snowflakes: no two are the same.”
Even though Cramer thinks investors’ first $10,000 should go into a broad-based index fund, he prefers looking at individual companies for the most illuminating market information.
Take Walt Disney. Shares of the entertainment giant have been rallying ever since the news broke that Disney is in talks to buy Fox’s non-news assets and regional sports network.
The deal would expand Disney’s film library to include Avatar and the Marvel characters, hopefully shifting the narrative away from the company’s ESPN subscriber losses.
If Disney CEO Bob Iger is able to secure a deal, which is looking increasingly likely, Disney’s narrative would change overnight. Investors would once again see it as an entertainment powerhouse with an unbeatable sports network and highly successful franchises, Cramer said.
“Spending on new content that can be so additive to earnings and so easily swallowed? Holy cow, what a windfall,” he said. “After the deal on Thursday, people will be buying this stock hand over fist.”
Pharmaceutical company Valeant is also seeing a turnaround under CEO Joe Papa, the “Mad Money” host said.
Now at $21 a share, Valeant’s stock was trading at a measly $8 a share in April, when Wall Street raised concerns about, in Cramer’s words, its “hideous” balance sheet.
“I’m sure many of you rolled your eyes … about the notion that Papa could clean up this love canal of debt, but that’s exactly what happened,” Cramer said. “Papa saved this company and now he’s taking it to levels that seemed impossible six months ago.”
Cramer also called attention to the consumer food cohort. Stocks in the space have been struggling of late as food companies report earnings miss after earnings miss.
But then there’s PepsiCo, with a stock about $2 away from its all-time high and a Cramer-fave CEO, Indra Nooyi, at the helm. McDonald’s shares have barely been hit since CEO Steve Easterbrook came on board.
“That’s really my point. People who look at this market and worry about taxes or the Russia investigation or North Korea or a host of big-picture problems problems … simply don’t realize that we do have some phenomenal value creators all over the place,” the “Mad Money” host said.
In the athleisure retail space, Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin is bucking the sector’s downtrend too after a strong earnings report, Cramer said.
So for investors who are worried about entire sectors or cohorts, Cramer offered some advice: view companies on a case-by-case basis.
“Management matters,” the “Mad Money” host said. “When you’ve got a fabulous CEO working for you every day of the week and the weekend, for that matter, it makes a difference, often a big difference. That’s why you need to judge companies on their own merits rather than just taking your cue from the amorphous blob that is the market.”