The rise of exchange-traded funds has made entire groups of stocks “nothing but chits in a bizarre game of stock market roulette,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday.
“The FANG stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet — are in 10 different ETFs, so on any given day, their movements tend to be driven by the action in the ETFs and not the other way around,” the “Mad Money” host said. “The tail is wagging the dog.”
And, unfortunately, “FANG’s not even the worst of it,” Cramer said. He warned of certain “hidden” ETFs that try to mirror the actions of portfolio managers, using derivative instruments to make bets on professional investors’ bets.
Calling those funds “totally abusive, moronic, horrible,” Cramer said big companies whose stocks appear in those ETFs should bring a case against “ETF peddlers” as a way to solve the potentially harmful trend.
“At the end of the day, these ETFs can be very useful for day traders, but normal investors pay a terrible price because it makes the whole business of stock picking much more difficult, and, … yes, far more futile than it should be,” he said.
Panicked selling in the month of October set some stocks up for victory in November, Cramer argued Thursday.
“The single best thing that happened to stocks in November was the hideous bruising that we got in the month of October,” he said. “Bizarrely enough, the newfound sense of fear and negativity created by the October meltdown is the best thing that could’ve happened to this market, because it gives stocks the breathing room that they need to roar higher again.”
The major averages pared their gains in Thursday’s trading session after the Federal Reserve announced it would leave interest rates unchanged. On Wednesday, much of the market rallied on the heels of Tuesday’s election results, in which the Democratic Party regained control of the House of Representatives and Republicans maintained Senate control.
“After yesterday’s 500-point Dow rally, I see a market that suddenly is beginning to make some sense,” Cramer said. “If you’re a bull, you need a day like today that consolidates and cements yesterday’s move.”
DowDuPont’s highly anticipated split into three companies will generate nearly $1 billion in research and development funding, DowDuPont chief Ed Breen told CNBC on Thursday.
“The beauty of redoing the portfolio — and I’ll use DuPont as the example — [is] we’re going to spend almost $1 billion on R&D per year, so it’s at a rate that’s very healthy compared to the competitive peer set,” Breen told Cramer in an interview.
DuPont, where Breen will stay on as a full-time executive chairman, will become a standalone specialty company focused in various secular markets including transportation, electronics and nutrition.
“What happened is you’re bringing R&D in from the Dow businesses that came in and the DuPont [businesses],” Breen said. “You’re bringing that R&D into the same end market opportunities, like in nutrition and health. We both had nutrition and health companies, and now you’re bringing double the R&D to bear on that industry.”
Click here to watch and read more about his full interview.
In just eight days, Take-Two Interactive Software’s blockbuster Western-themed video game, “Red Dead Redemption 2,” has outpaced its predecessor’s total sales, Take-Two chief Strauss Zelnick told CNBC on Thursday.
“In eight days, we’ve sold in 17 million units of ‘Red Dead Redemption 2.’ That’s more than we sold of the first ‘Red Dead Redemption’ in eight years,” Zelnick, chairman and CEO of the Rockstar Games parent, Cramer in an interview. “Oh, and by the way, the first ‘Red Dead Redemption’ was a huge hit.”
“Red Dead Redemption 2” made headlines last week for its bombastic opening weekend. Take-Two called the $725 million in sales generated by the game “the single-biggest opening weekend in the history of entertainment.”
Noting that the game overshot even Take-Two’s internal expectations, Zelnick said that “Red Dead’s” Wild-West-style, action-adventure theme works well in times of extreme social sentiment.
Click here to watch and read more about his full interview.
Wall Street pessimists who focus on overcapacity and business cycle gyrations in the cruise industry are missing the bigger picture, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio told Cramer on Thursday.
“All those doubters about overcapacity and the late business cycle, they just don’t understand the cruise industry,” he said on “Mad Money.” “We’re resilient, we perform terrific in both good times and bad times and, I think, sooner or later, the fundamentals of performance will overcome all the pessimism and all the wrong assumptions that are being made out there.”
Norwegian Cruise Line’s earnings report on Thursday topped analysts’ estimates, with sales up a higher-than-expected 12.5 percent year over year. The number of passengers carried by the cruise operator rose 11 percent.
“I simply don’t believe that the investor community at large understand the fundamentals of the cruise industry,” Del Rio told Cramer. “Our ships go full every single time. The question is, at what price? And we’ve shown, year after year, organic growth in that 3-plus percent level — 4 percent for us this year — that defies what the naysayers have to say.”
Click here to watch his full interview.
In Cramer’s lightning round, he sped through his take on callers’ favorite stocks:
Arista Networks Inc.: “I think that they are very good and [CEO] Jayshree Ullal, whom I would love to have back on the show, is a brilliant manager. But I also like what Chuck Robbins is doing at Cisco and Cisco’s got less volatility.”
SailPoint Technologies Holdings Inc.: “It’s very good. Digital identities. The problem is there are, like, five companies that are in this same ilk and they’re all too high and people could come in and sell them between here and year-end.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and DowDuPont.
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