The market got off to a “great start” Friday after the first two months of the year were terrific, but there is some worry that it could lose some momentum, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.
The “Mad Money” host said he’s curious to see if the rally will hold now that many stocks have rebounded from December’s drop off. There’s one report looming that Cramer said could be a determining factor.
“The one thing that might stand in the way of a continued rally—other than the possibility of a blown trade deal with China—is the non-farm payroll report on Friday,” he said.
Here’s his game plan leading up to the jobs report that will close out the week:
Salesforce.com reports after the bell Monday.
“It’s been a horse, but that’s what worries me,” he said.
He pointed out that three cloud kings, Workday, Splunk, and VMware, all beat on their earnings report Thursday. Each stock surged higher in after-hour trading, but only VMware held on to some of its gains with Workday and Splunk both closing Friday in the red. Workday dropped more than 4 percent.
Cramer, who holds the stock in his charity trust, worries Salesforce could follow Workday’s lead because the stock has risen so much. It’s up more than 20 percent this year.
“We aren’t going to trade this in the trust—that would be just wrong, it’s an investment—but others may not be sanguine,” he said. “So if you don’t already own Salesforce, can I suggest that you wait to see what happens after the quarter? You might get a better price.”
Cramer circled Tuesday on his calendar because it kicks off the “retail fest.” Target and Kohl’s will give their latest earnings in the morning. The host is expecting Target CEO Brian Cornell to deliver good news and Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass to tell a more complicated story. But his charity trust is ready to load up on the latter, if it gets hit, for a long-term play.
“Given how much the stock has run this week into the quarter … I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a pullback, even as I think the management is sensational,” Cramer said.
“Ross has been busting out of late—I bet that continues after the quarter,” he said. “Urban’s become a value play, though, and at the moment this market has little love for value”
Dollar Tree is one of Cramer’s favorite companies, but he’s watching to see if any of its balloon sales deflated due to a helium shortage. The host also wants to see how the company is turning Family Dollar around since its merger nearly four years ago. The stock has been gaining traction, and Cramer expects it to keep rising.
Shares of Thor Industries have been getting run over the past two years. Cramer recalled the company has had weak RV sales and struggled with raw costs. But he expects Thor Industries to eventually mitigate those costs and boost sales.
“But I don’t know if it’ll be this quarter,” Cramer said. “Camping World is exposed to basically the same end markets and it just caught a downgrade today. Still, sometimes stocks get too cheap to ignore and that’s what I’m gonna be focused on when Thor reports.”
Estee Lauder reported earnings last month, but Cramer is anticipating the analyst meeting planned for Wednesday. Cramer called its chief, Fabrizio Freda, “one of the smartest, savviest executives I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.”
He wants to learn more about Freda’s “reverse mentoring” philosophy that lets younger associates be the boss and explain what they think works.
“Think about it, isnt’ that clever? I mean this is a cosmetics company that often targets younger consumers,” Cramer said. “So don’t you want the younger employees to be the boss of the older employees at some point? That’s what he does. It’s just so refreshing.”
Kroger has its work cut out for it after the Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Amazon is planning a second grocery store concept, Cramer said. On top of that, Kroger’s stock didn’t react well to its most recent earnings report.
“Be careful,” he warned.
“I don’t know if you caught Warren Buffett talking about the dominance of the Kirkland brand, Costco’s private label business,” he said. “Good call.”
Cramer is also interested in Etsy‘s analyst meeting.
Cramer said this week’s employment report will be more important than usual. The market has been flying higher ever since the Federal Reserve reversed course in January and cut back on the number of planned interest rate hikes, he said.
The “Mad Money” host hopes a too-strong labor report doesn’t pressure Fed Chairman Jerome Powell into tightening again. He said it’s unnecessary because inflation has been “mild.”
“I hope Powell won’t be swayed—he finally seems to have a very good handle on things—but if he goes back to his old mindset, it could be well let’s just say deadly given the run we’ve had,” Cramer said.
Because the economy has been heating up, “peril awaits,” Cramer said. He expects there to be some profit taking leading up to the jobs report. He also predicts “inflation hawks” will call for higher rates to fight off “imaginary” inflation, which could “cause at least a hiccup in the averages.”
Cramer thinks the economy can handle one rate hike this year.
“We’ve been up for an awful long time. We’re probably due for a break, especially with the unemployment number on the horizon,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I still like this market. … And in most circumstances I’d tell you to buy the dips, but … we’ve been up for 11-straight weeks without a dip, so maybe it’s time to proceed with some caution.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Kohl’s, Amazon, and Salesforce.com.
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