Companies with leadership are the ones who prevail in this market, Jim Cramer told a live audience of Mad Money viewers Thursday, as he celebrated Veterans Day early with a special episode from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
What does leadership look like? Cramer said it looks a lot like the principles being taught at places like West Point. Successful companies have strong leaders at the top, like Pepsico (PEP) and Apple (AAPL) . The leaders in this market also have the first-mover advantage, embracing new technology, like Amazon (AMZN) , to get there first.
Loyalty is also a necessary element for success, Cramer said, something that banks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) have in spades.
Finally, leaders need to have a keen attention to detail and the ability to think strategically, as well as the ability to thrive under pressure. All of the biggest winners in the current market have these traits, Cramer concluded, which is why he continues to recommend them as long-term holdings you can depend on for years to come.
He also pointed out that these characteristics of leadership are among the reasons why many veterans are successful in business.
Over on Real Money, Cramer says the bond market is giving off the wrong signals. Rates need to go up for the banking sector rally to continue. Get more on his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: Johnson & Johnson
For his “Executive Decision” segment, Cramer welcomed Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) — and a West Point graduate — to the show.
Gorsky said that he learned a lot of valuable lessons at West Point, including the power of teamwork and being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself. He said it’s important to love what you do so you can bring that passion every day. It’s also important to take care of yourself, he said, both physically and mentally, so you can always be your best.
Speaking of teamwork, Gorsky said that if our government and industry work together, they can make healthcare better in our country. He said there are many important goals, like smart tax policy and creating more STEM jobs, that are all within our reach.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson are up 21% so far this year.
Cramer and the AAP team say markets have seen very low volatility, but don’t forget that a movement like today’s is part of the natural progression of equities. 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.
Veterans Can Make Great Executives
Veterans make excellent executives, Cramer told viewers, as he highlighted several CEOs with military backgrounds.
He said that Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon (VZ) , helped turn that company from a regional telco to a national colossus. The former CEO of Clorox (CLX) , Donald Knauss, is also a vet, as in Scott Wine, CEO at Polaris (PII) .
Cramer called out Twitter’s (TWTR) COO, Anthony Nodo, as well as Mark McLaughlin, who heads up Palo Alto Networks (PANW) . All of these world-class executives got their start in the military, Cramer noted, adding this is why it’s so important for companies to hire more veterans.
Cybersecurity Is a Smart Investment
The cybersecurity threat isn’t going away any time soon, Cramer told his audience, and that means investing in cybersecurity stocks is a smart move. He said that Palo Alto Networks, under CEO Mark McLaughlin, remains his favorite in the group, but there are some smaller players which aren’t getting a lot of attention.
Shares of Mimecast (MIME) are up 72% for the year, but Cramer said this cloud-based data security company still has a lot more room to run. Shares of Cyberark (CYBR) have been under pressure this year, but this protector of privileged network accounts still has a bright future.
Cramer was also bullish on ProofPoint (PFPT) , L3 Communications (LLL) and even platform integrations specialist, SAIC (SAIC) , which has seen its shares fall 20% in 2017.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Supernus Pharmaceuticals (SUPN) , CVS Health (CVS) , Coca-Cola (KO) , Norfolk Southern (NSC) , IBM (IBM) , Randgold Resources (GOLD) , SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and Cimarex Energy (XEC) .
Cramer was bearish on pandora jewelry sale Media (P) , Pfizer (PFE) , Kroger (KR) , Celgene (CELG) , Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Southwestern Energy (SWN) .
Cramer Talks Investment Ideas with the Cadets
In his final segment, Cramer listened to investment ideas from members of the U.S. Military Academy Investment Club to see if these cadets had done their homework.
Cramer was a big fan of the first pitch for steelmaker Nucor (NUE) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding that Cramer has liked for a long time.
Cramer had questions for the second pitch, Transocean (RIG) , but said for younger investors, he’d bless this speculative off-shore oil driller.
Cramer was a fan of another Action Alerts PLUS holding, Southwest Airlines (LUV) , as this low-cost airline continues to thrive in our growing economy.
Finally, Cramer agreed with the investment club that Home Depot (HD) was a solid retail play, as long as Amazon doesn’t make any aggressive moves into their space.
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