Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell just gave the stock market and the U.S. economy exactly what they needed to continue the steady growth they’ve seen in the last several years, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.
In a group interview with former Fed leaders Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, Powell said Friday that he would be “patient” with the central bank’s interest rate policies in the year ahead. The remark sent stocks soaring, with the Dow tacking on some 800 points intraday.
“Memo to Powell: keep listening. Be patient. Enjoy the employment gains. Let’s keep the strength going by waiting a little and not being too judgmental about rate hikes like some of your colleagues,” Cramer said.
The “Mad Money” host reiterated his distaste in some Fed officials’ tendency to stick to traditional metrics when gauging how the economy is doing.
“How can you claim to be data-dependent if you’ve made up your mind before you see the data that you need one or two more rate hikes to get back to normal?” he asked. “Normal is where the data says you should go. Normal is the natural progression of jobs being created without a lot of inflation. Normal is not a percent.”
The Fed, whose mission it is to keep inflation at bay while keeping people employed, will eventually have to reconsider what it sees as “normal” as a result of technology, Cramer continued.
“Every device is … designed to lay people off. Every software program you have is designed to let companies hire fewer people, because people are so expensive. Every invention of any note is about taking a job that’s done by 10 people and making it so it’s only two people, and they can do it better,” he said.
To read more about the Fed’s reversal, click here.
Thanks to the Fed, the stock market could actually get some relief in 2019 after several months of turbulent trading brought 2018 to a historically weak close, Cramer said Friday.
The major averages surged on Friday following Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s statement that the central bank would remain “patient” with regard to hiking interest rates, paving the way for stocks to rise without fear of higher rates.
“We shook off one of the shackles that has bedeviled this market since October, and it left us with the possibility of a save for 2019, just when so many investors had already written off the whole year … after the first week of trading,” Cramer said.
“Today is a day to celebrate the flexibility and the terrific pivot that Jay Powell took this morning,” said Cramer, who has criticized the Fed for months about what he considered an overly aggressive interest rate agenda. “It takes a lot of guts.”
With that positive layout in mind, the “Mad Money” host turned to his game plan for the week ahead, which includes a major health-care conference and some key economic data.
Click here for his weekly outlook.
The Fed pledge to be more “patient” with its interest rate hikes erased one of the biggest obstacles to a stock market rally that went on for much of President Donald Trump’s time in office, Cramer said.
Earlier on Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in an interview with two former Fed leaders that the central bank had “no preset path” for raising interest rates and was “listening very carefully” to the market, statements that sent stocks soaring in Friday’s trading session.
The stock market endured some debilitating declines in the final months of 2018, which saw several-hundred-point swings in the major averages, often back to back. At last week’s lows, the market was up a mere 3.3 percent since Trump’s inauguration and less than 10 percent since his election.
“It was like we had rolled back the entire Trump rally,” Cramer said.
But after today, “I bet a ton of money actually flows back into the market given that Powell’s come around,” he said.
Click here to read more.
The 30-stock index saw its largest annual loss since 2008 last year, dragged down by concerns tied to the Federal Reserve, the Trump administration’s trade dispute with China and a potential global economic slowdown.
Out of the Dow’s best and worst performers the final quarter of 2018, “many” are actually buys, Cramer said Friday as stocks surged on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s announcement that he would be “patient” with his market-moving interest rate policies.
“You can understand why we rocketed higher today,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Many of these Dow stocks have already been humbled. Many of them are buys.”
Click here for his full analysis.
Mergers and acquisitions, drug pricing and the outlook for 2019 will be leading topics of discussion at J.P. Morgan’s 37th annual Healthcare Conference next week, Managing Director & Senior Equity Analyst Lisa Gill told Cramer on Friday.
The San Francisco-based confab will host nearly 8,000 institutional investors and 300 companies, said Gill, who runs J.P. Morgan’s health-care technology and distribution equity research teams.
Gill added that the Bristol-Myers-Celgene tie-up will likely color discussions and presentations at the conference.
“When you think about consolidation within health care, you look at, on the services side, … Cigna and Express Scripts coming together, CVS and Aetna coming together, UnitedHealthcare being as big as they are. You have to think that others have to come together as well because size matters,” she told Cramer. “So you’re going to see more of these companies, in my opinion, come together because they’re going to need to have a broader portfolio when they go to those service companies.”
Click here to watch her full interview.
In Cramer’s lightning round, he rattled off his responses to callers’ stock questions:
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson: “Ericsson should be kicking butt here and they’re not. They should be the big beneficiary of all the Chinese turmoil, Huawei, but they’re not, and that’s because they’re not that good a company. What a judgment.”
Momo Inc.: “Momo? No no. That is exactly the kind of stock I don’t want you in. It’s a Chinese stock. I mean, hey, listen: we’re having a trade war to end all trade wars with the Chinese and you want some Momo? I say ix-nay.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of J.P. Morgan and UnitedHealth Group.
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