China Cannot Derail The U.S. Economy - Cramer's Mad Money (7/18/18)

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Includes: ALGN, CSX, FHN, FRT, GIS, GOOG, GOOGL, IBM, IFF, INGR, NFLX, NLY, OHI, PEI, SPG, UAL
by: SA Editor Mohit Manghnani
Summary

IBM SVP Schroeter talks about their blockchain technology being best in class.

REITs show retail is not dying.

Not recommending Align Technology near all-time highs.

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday, July 18.

What companies say, matters. When Cramer interviewed chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow, he was astonished to hear Kudlow say, "As far as we know, President Xi, at the moment, does not wish to make a deal. I’d love to be wrong on that. We are waiting for him. The ball is in his court. And the tit-for-tat business, which is nobody’s favorite path, but nonetheless — they can end that this afternoon by providing a more satisfactory approach."

Kudlow said that they are close to a deal with the EU and despite the uncertainties, the U.S. economy remains strong. There are many U.S. companies that do considerable business in China. Most of them are industrial stocks and things could get much worse for them before they get better.

The companies that are not dependent on China for business are reporting strong quarters. United Continental (NASDAQ:UAL) earnings is a classic example of the U.S. economy doing well and railroad CSX (NYSE:CSX) confirmed this in their earnings. In the tech sector, Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) barely moved after a $5.1B fine imposed by the EU. Even Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) recovered most of their decline after earnings.

This shows that investors are betting on growth and strength of the U.S. economy. Cramer thinks the strength is strong enough that China won't derail it.

SVP interview - IBM (NYSE:IBM)

IBM reported a good quarter and the stock went up in after-hours trading. Cramer interviewed SVP Martin Schroeter to hear more about the quarter. The stock still trades at 10 times earnings.

The trajectory of IBM's business in cloud, analytic and cognitive services continues to improve. Their gross margins have been under pressure as the company tries to add more services to the mix.

In the services business, they remain competitive with big wins from the Australian government. Schroeter added that companies and governments trust IBM to have their best interests at heart. IBM is investing heavily in the services business. Their mainframes business is good as there are still many things like encryption that only a mainframe can do.

Their blockchain business is robust. "People love our blockchain. We have more blockchains running today in the world than anybody else. The reason we have that is because of the security that comes with it," said Schroeter. Blockchain has taken the world by storm and there have been encryption issues. The encryption offered by IBM blockchain mainframe is a system that can scale and this puts IBM a class above the rest. In 2017, IBM made a deal to build blockchain for seven of Europe's largest banks.

Schroeter said he is an advocate of free trade.

REITs

In March, Cramer advised staying away from the REITs as the rising interest rates made bond yields a better investment compared to REITs. The facts since then have changed and it's time to re-evaluate.

The stocks of retail-oriented REITs Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG), Federal Realty (NYSE:FRT) and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:PEI) have made a comeback and are performing better than others. "But we have to ask ourselves: Can the rally continue?" pondered Cramer.

Simon Property Group announced a $4B upgrade to a host of its properties from hotels, outdoor plazas and residences to their brick-and-mortar locations. Their recent earnings were good and the management raised full year FFO guidance. The stock yields 4.5%.

The shopping mall operator Federal Realty is also doing fine. They are focusing on mixed-use properties that will turn shopping hubs to places where people can gather and spend time. These bets are paying off. It yields 3.2%. Lastly, Pennsylvania REIT is up 20% from its lows and the stock yields 7.8%. They have trimmed 40% of their portfolio.

Goldman Sachs has upgraded the entire group to neutral from cautious. "Look, it’s very hard to hate these retail property owners when the business of retail is so strong. There is no brick-and-mortar apocalypse, at least not at the moment," he concluded.

CEO interview - First Horizon National (NYSE:FHN)

The stock of First Horizon National went down 3% after their earnings report. Cramer interviewed CEO Bryan Jordan to find out more about the quarter.

Jordan said they are focused on integrating the acquired Capital Bank to ensure a smooth transition for customers. Their fixed income business saw weakness but their overall credit quality is strong which is consistent with the strength in the economy.

The company bought back stock worth $45M in the quarter. They will also get incremental revenues of $17M from Capital Bank and give access to markets that First Horizon did not have a presence in earlier.

Cramer thinks the stock is cheap and worth investing in.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

General Mills (NYSE:GIS): Their equity offering crushed the stock. It's still a long-term hold.

Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN): The stock is near an all-time high. Despite the company being good, Cramer cannot recommend a buy at this price.

Ingredion (NYSE:INGR): International Flavors and Fragrances (NYSE:IFF) is a better pick in that group as the stock has come down a lot.

Annaly Capital Management (NYSE:NLY): The stock has come down and it's an opaque company. Cramer cannot recommend it.

Omega Healthcare (NYSE:OHI): The long-term care industry is not great.

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