6 signs that the consumer glow wins over low oil

Cramer: Money on consumer cavalry saving the day
Cramer: Money on consumer cavalry saving the day   

There is a battle going on right now on the stock exchange floor. It is a battle between the consumer benefiting from the cheap-gasoline stimulus plan and the overstretched oil companies threatening the U.S. economic recovery. Jim Cramer's got his money on the consumer.

"The cheap-gasoline fueled consumer might be able to repel any weakness that the producers of oil in this country may cause it," the "Mad Money" host added.

That battle was won on Thursday when the retail sales number came in and saved the day with a 7 percent growth in retail sales for the month of November. That excellent gain was due in part to better employment and low gasoline prices.

Thus, any consumer-oriented stock that was taken to the wood shed on Wednesday reversed itself on Thursday. However, the market lost some of those gains when oil closed at $59.71, breaking that basement level of $60.

Still, the market really does want to rally on lower oil prices—despite the crying oil producers.





Lending Club executives celebrate with company executives during the company’s IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, Dec. 11, 2014.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Lending Club executives celebrate with company executives during the company’s IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, Dec. 11, 2014.

In Cramer's perspective, there were various signals that indicated that the consumer is winning this battle. He outlined the six signs of a strong consumer:

No. 1: American Express announced that Cyber Monday was the best day ever for card spending. This is good news on the tail of reports that Black Friday was disappointing this year.

No. 2: Many businesses shared the positive news that things are going well for them and they are improving. For example, Restoration Hardware had an awesome 22 percent gain on comparable-store sales. Even LuluLemon, which initially tanked on weak same-store-sales numbers, found a way to rebound when management clarified that its new merchandise is selling well.

No. 3: LendingClub went public and its shares soared 56 percent. This is a concept that brings both lenders and borrowers together on the Internet. The fact that there was so much enthusiasm for something that amounts to a bank stock is good news.

No. 4: Initially, the news on Toll Brothers was negative, but Cramer is turning the tables on this one. Toll, a builder of luxury homes, reported a strong number and indicated in its guidance that it thinks the housing market will be stronger in the long term. However, the analysts disagreed, based on the notion that the next eight weeks could be weaker.

"I was flabbergasted. I'm sure the company was, too … you want to downgrade Toll when the company's got enough firepower to sop up the weakness? Be my guest. But how about taking a two-year perspective rather than a two-month perspective? I know, call me old-fashioned," Cramer added.

No. 5: The restaurant explosion. This cohort is making bank on low oil prices, and it's playing out in the numbers. Domino's, Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, Jack in the Box, Cracker Barrel ... and the list goes on.

No. 6: Ciena reported a weak earnings number but had good revenues and positive commentary. That is enough to beat out oil woes. And if retail is strong, that means consumers will be buying tech gadgets, too. That will reflect on stocks like Micron, Hewlett-Packard and Skyworks.

These positive signs helped lead the market rally on Thursday. The rally would have gone even further, too, if oil hadn't fallen below $60 a barrel.

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However though the rally could easily reverse on Friday, but the "Mad Money" host still has his money on the consumer. Especially if the cut-rate gas stimulus package continues.

"I'll bet that huge positive can ultimately triumph over the looming and serious oil credit woes as the two continue this now titanic clash that gets more and bloodier as oil plunges deeper and deeper into the red, now down 45 percent from its high of the year."

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