Even the company dubbed “the Netflix of China” can’t change CNBC’s Jim Cramer’s opinion on Chinese IPOs.
“In the midst of the trade tensions with the People’s Republic, China-based companies keep coming public here and their stocks have been roaring,” the “Mad Money” host said Thursday. “Many of these names, though, [are of] dubious quality.”
Those names include iQiyi, a video streaming service provider majority-owned by China’s Baidu that came public on the Nasdaq exchange in March. CNBC previously reported that iQiyi helped the U.S. IPO market have its best quarter in three years.
Since its offering, shares of iQiyi have been notably volatile, sinking lower than its $18 offering price on its first trading day, climbing to $46 a share by mid-June, then getting clobbered into the low $30s in late June and early July.
Shares of iQiyi ended Thursday’s trading session in the red, down 5.43 percent at $31.19 a share.
While Cramer understood the hype brought about by another Netflix-like investing opportunity, he asked investors to be cautious.
“Hey, who wouldn’t be intrigued by the Chinese Netflix?” he acknowledged. “But this kind of stock is very difficult to value and I think it needs to cool off more before it’s worth even considering.”
One day of reprieve for U.S. stocks couldn’t curb Cramer’s worries about the threats facing the market.
In particular, Cramer was watching the two-year and 10-year U.S. Treasuries on Thursday as the two notes took on what he called a “highly unusual” pattern: the gap between their yields grew tighter.
“That’s not a very big difference,” Cramer said. “Normally, when the two-year’s at 2.5 percent, I would expect the 10-year to be at 3.5 percent.”
And when the largest bond market in the world behaves oddly, Cramer takes it upon himself to translate the action for investors.
“Here’s what bonds are saying right now. They’re saying that with the two-year Treasury so close in yield to the 10-year Treasury, … we’re almost experiencing a flat yield curve,” the “Mad Money” host said. “That matters because when you have a flat yield curve, it does usually presage a recession. It’s a sign that investors are worried about the future.”
With U.S. investors laser-focused on the White House’s tit-for-tat trade dispute with Beijing, Cramer wanted to hone in on four stocks in the market that are most resilient to trade tensions.
“In one of the great coincidences in stock market history, FANG’s got nothing in China,” Cramer said Thursday as stocks rose in a day of recovery from the U.S.-China dispute.
“All four are accidentally anti-Chinese stocks, and that is perfect for this market,” he added. Find out why here.
As the United States’ second-biggest payroll processor, Paychex frequently offers the market insights on broad employment trends.
And with its human resources outsourcing business gaining momentum, the company is getting a look into key concerns among small businesses, Paychex President and CEO Marty Mucci told CNBC in a Thursday interview with Cramer.
“One of the biggest issues they’re worried about these days is, because of the risk, how do they handle harassment?” Mucci said. “What kind of policies should they have in place and how do they deal with it when somebody does complain?”
Mucci emphasized that Paychex’s 500-plus human resources specialists have heard these concerns from the more than 1 million worksite employees they serve.
“We’re hearing this a lot,” the CEO said. “That’s the top topic of concern right now.”
For more on where the jobs are, who’s hiring and how business is at Paychex, watch Mucci’s full interview here.
Cramer didn’t let Thursday’s intraday recovery cloud his judgment about the negativity present in the market.
“The contortions of negativity are painful and they are everywhere,” he said after analysts pounced on companies including spice maker McCormick and furniture giant Herman Miller on their post-earnings conference calls.
It didn’t matter if they reported strong quarters or their managements aced the calls, Cramer said.
“The questions … [were] the same: when is it going to end, when are things going to roll over, when is it all going to come to a screeching, horrendous halt, throwing everybody to the mercy of the bears?” he lamented.
The “Mad Money” host’s favorite response to the negativity was what Herman Miller’s CEO said after the brutal question-and-answer session on his company’s conference call.
“He speaks for all of Main Street, not Wall Street but Main Street, when he says: ‘While we are nervous about all of the political things going on around the globe and the tariffs … all those things that certainly make you cautious'” Cramer quoted. “But, he adds, ‘We have no signs that the business is backing up at all in the face of those things. Business continues to look quite strong today.'”
In Cramer’s lightning round, he flew through his take on some callers’ favorite stocks:
FedEx: “[This] is a stock I want to buy right here. The stock shouldn’t be down. Let me give you a two-fer: I think Adobe shouldn’t be down. FedEx and Adobe. Why? Random, but those were two companies that reported that went down and if I said all last week [that] when I come back, I’m talking them up.”
BlackBerry: “It’s got intellectual property and cash. I know people seem to have given up on it, but periodically they give up on it and they come right back and I think they’re going to come right back.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet.
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