Sure, the government's helping. Yes, it's pumping money into the economy. We cheer when they throw money at business, of course through the banks, which are being paid handsomely to make loans.
But I don't care.
I think this is a market that's rewarding businesses that have foresight and originality and has a heart. It's a market that's valuing companies with, well, not to be to sappy, a heart.
We see it every day but rarely is it on as great display as today.
We know that Marc Benioff (Salesforce (CRM) ), now famously has proselytized that business is the greatest platform of social change. Some of us got that right at utterance. Maybe we got it early because my wife and I have been lucky enough to be able to build a playground at the Benioff Children's Hospital.
But he is by far not alone. That's why tonight, with so little to celebrate, I want to take a moment out to praise business which has done so much to be able to make this moment palatable, often in the absence of the government, which can frequently default to dispiriting rancor that fails so many with invective and partisanship. Oh and in the end a ton of the small business money ended up going to big business, a program I championed and I now feel like a chump because so many publicly traded companies got money I stupidly thought would go to small business.
I don't want to devolve into being a critic tonight and I don't want to wade into the shark-filled Washington waters. I want to talk about real business people doing really great things that will ultimately make you real money. That's my job and I like it because if I can link good deeds with good management I can figure out which stocks are worth buying, a deliciously non-political agenda.
Let's start with Cramer fave Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) . So often, like others, when I analyze companies, I plot the earnings and sales against the projections and then I measure the forecast versus street estimates, the latter being the most important part of the equation.
You have to be a knucklehead to offer a forecast. What do you know that the CDEC doesn't? What edge do you have over a Regeneron or a Gilead (GILD) or Harvard Med or Hopkins?
So now, I have taken to looking at other things, things that I used to ignore in my headlong rush to rationalize the direction of a stock.
Like the stuff that Chipotle put up front in of its earnings release. "At Chipotle, investing in our people has always been the top priority, after all they are our greatest asset," CEO Brian Niccol began. "Well before Covid-19 we had industry-leading benefits for all employees that include free meals, paid sick leave, crew bonuses, debt free degrees as well as mental health benefits and and access to a healthcare concierge service for all employees and their families."
The company committed millions in bonuses to show appreciation for just showing up during the covid era. Why, "It's part of their DNA."
You know what else is part of their DNA? How about food safety. When I listened to this call I found myself thinking that Chipotle's like Taiwan, like South Korea, two places that handled Covid-19 with aplomb because of experience with SARS. So many restaurants, if they are even open, are scrambling to be sanitary lest they lose their sanity and their customers. A couple of years ago Chipotle had some unfortunate food illnesses and they put through protocols that make it so there cannot possibly be a safer place to eat.
Since Niccol became CEO he has emphasized all sorts of ways to get your delicious burritos. They've got Chipotlanes. "It takes us all of 12 seconds to get you your food when you pull up in your car," Niccol told CNBC not long ago. They've got a terrific national delivery and a great national delivery partnership with Uber Eats (UBER) . "Collectively these decisions translated into strong engagement with our guests as evidenced by March digital sales growing 103% year over year and representing 37.6% of sales."
Even better Chipotle, which always had a strong balance sheet, courtesy of fabulous CFO Jack Hartung, is expanding and at the right time. Many of the real estate investment trusts that control strips makes weren't crazy about the build out of the Chipitlanes. Guess what? Now they are the most desired tenant around. If I were negotiating a Chipotle deal with a REIT now, I am not sure if I wouldn't asked to be paid. The only other new tenant on that parking lot might be some outfit swabbing your nose for covid.
Now I point all of this out because I think these issues make for the winning formula which is why I said that Chipotle's stock is going to $1000. No sooner did I say it than the distinguished "Bubble Boy Finance," on Twitter, perhaps his given name? tweets, "I only follow Jim Cramer to see what that dumbass thinks. Further, Mr Finance, or is it "Boy Finance" writes, "It's amazing that he thinks Chipotle will make the same if not more money from this crisis." Bubble Boy goes on to say that "the time for pleasantries is over" and he's got to call me out for hurting people.
Well, Mr.Bubble Boy, Chipotle's stock is 94 points to $881.
Last night was chock full of winners for the moment. There was Snap (SNAP) , which is becoming the preferred way for bored younger people to get some enjoyment between or even during Zoom (ZM) classes. That caused the stock to zoom 4 points or 31%. Thank heavens I got on that one although I think CEO Evan Spiegel is still angry at me, when I said this one wasn't working -- when it wasn't -- even as I apologized before recommending it. Or how about Texas Instruments (TXN) , with an incredibly reassuring call about how they are simply breaking out the 2008 financial crisis and they are confident things will be fine. That ignited rallies in Intel (INTC) , Advanced Micro (AMD) , Broadcom (AVGO) , Nvidia (NVDA) , Qualcomm (QCOM) , Skyworks (SWKS) and a host of others in the cohort.
But nothing was more spectacular than the awesome quarter from Netflix (NFLX) . Again, the company starts by pointing out it is giving $150 million to supporting the people in the industry that produces content. Second they agreed to suppress demand because countries struggled to meet with broadband capacity by stay-at-homes who crave the content. Finally they snared more than 15 million subs, double what many were looking for, although they immediately said that pace can't be sustained.
I say "wrong." In truth this pandemic has changed people's behaviors perhaps forever. Netflix, like Amazon (AMZN) , like Chipotle, offers a superior product. Netflix does this cool interview on all of its execs where they have to name their favorite Netflix offering. I was furiously scrambling down the names just so I could be relevant with my wife and my kids. They have made a ton of content ahead almost as if they saw the pandemic coming. They aren't going anywhere but up. Put that stock away.
I told you yesterday that oil was a financial fake-out. The stocks are horrible, but they aren't going to take the economy down. I told you that there are severe distortions like how hard it is to find TP, hence the strong run in the stock of Kimberly-Clark (KMB) with its paper gold.
But the reality is that in a dysfunctional, bitter, angry political firmament, there's one portion of this economy that's worth rejoicing about, the one that runs by ingenious people who have hearts. Brains per share. Hearts Per Share. Oh, come on, as an old hatchet man, I've been around long enough to be that positive, I like these companies and more importantly, I like their stocks.