With NFL season in full swing, Jim Cramer decided to turn his attention to building a fantasy portfolio of stocks. After all, sometimes building a better portfolio is a lot like building a fantasy football team.
He started by picking a few kickers. When drafting kickers, Cramer looks for consistency, players who can deliver every time. For a player on a fantasy team, Cramer chose Steven Hauschka from Seattle with a flawless record this season.
Likewise he chose PepsiCo, under the leadership of CEO Indra Nooyi, who has a remarkable winning streak to beat Wall Street's revenue estimates.
When looking for defense, Cramer had to go with the Seattle Seahawks. Its defense gave up the fewest points per game in the last two seasons, and led the league with the lowest total yards allowed. The defense stock equivalent is Clorox, in the less cyclical group of consumer staples.
"As for your team's defense, that's all about limiting your downside, both in fantasy football and the stock market," Cramer said.
While many investors are banking on the Fed or strength of the U.S. economy to drive the next bullish phase of the stock market, Cramer is not. In fact, he says that much of the strength in the market lately is coming from China.
Could it be possible that the Chinese government's actions are rebooting its economy?
Cramer saw various signals of hope that it could be revived. First, Morgan Stanley went positive on two of the biggest companies in the mining sector, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. This was astounding to Cramer, as Morgan Stanley has disliked the mining sector for ages. Now two stocks that are total bellwethers of Chinese constructions roared.
But what happens if the Shanghai stock market opens for business, and it gets hammered? The Chinese government has been propping up its stock market with money raised from billions of dollars in bond sales, including U.S. treasuries. However, Cramer thinks that cannot last much longer.
After all, what else could explain the stunning decline in Yum Brands earnings? Cramer shared his perspective on the other side of the trade. At the moment, this market hates growth. Whether it is the high-growth semiconductor stocks or the health-care stocks, Wall Street abhors them.
So, if China falters, Cramer expects to see a rotation out of the mineral, mining, oil and heavy industry stocks and right back into the high-growth names.
"China holds the key to figuring out where the next bull phase is coming and where the next bear phase might be. It's not the Fed, it's not the U.S. economy — it's China," Cramer said. (Tweet this)
The company behind KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell was screaming in pain on Wednesday, when Yum Brands plummeted 18 percent following a large earnings miss. However. considering the damage done, Cramer was surprised that the stock only dropped that much.
"Given the ridiculous timeline of information coming out of the company, I'm actually surprised its stock wasn't down even more; that's how bad the story and the dissemination of the woeful news truly was," the "Mad Money" host said.
While Yum is a large international company, its driver has mainly stemmed from China. For years, investors have ridden the wave of growth in the People's Republic, simply by buying shares of Yum.
Yum revealed that not only was KFC terrible, but Pizza Hut had hit a wall and has descended alarmingly fast. Analysts then began to not only doubt the ability of management to forecast, but to also execute.
"In short, Yum Brands has crushed the dreams of both the activists and the momentum players, leaving everyone holding empty boxes of pizza and KFC," Cramer said. (Tweet this)
Cramer now considers this stock to be radioactive, for the foreseeable and maybe unforeseeable future.
The biotech group has fallen on hard times recently, down some 15 percent since Hillary Clinton's infamous tweet regarding pharmaceutical price gouging. And while the group did rebound on Wednesday, Jim Cramer has seen a number of companies that have had the unfortunate timing to come public amid the negative backdrop.
"So I have to wonder, is this market giving you an incredible opportunity to pick up high-quality biotech stocks at prices that are much lower than where they would be trading, if not for all of the headline risk from this political firestorm over drug pricing?" the "Mad Money" host asked.
That is why Cramer decided to dig into three biotech companies that have come public in the past week, to help investors figure out what IPOs are real opportunities and which ones are junk.
Novocure was the first company on Cramer's list. It is a $1.5 billion biotech, with a revolutionary approach to treating cancer. Unfortunately, it came public on Friday and sank almost 17 percent below its IPO price after the first day of trading.
Cramer thinks that is crazy.
"This is exactly the kind of recent biotech IPO that I think is worth betting on, and the fact that Novocure is down nearly 19 percent from where it came public last Friday only makes that opportunity more attractive," Cramer said.
One biotech stock that Cramer thinks has created some real value in the recent downturn is Alkermes. This is a company that develops drug delivery technologies, as well as proprietary medications for diseases related to the central nervous system.
Some of the treatments include long-acting therapies for schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. It also carries Vivitrol, a once monthly injection that helps to stop recovering alcoholics and opioid addicts from relapsing.
Unfortunately, Alkermes' stock has plunged more than 17 percent in the past three weeks. However, nothing has changed about the story, except it has gotten better. Could this be an opportunity to buy the stock? To learn more, Cramer spoke with the company's chairman and CEO Richard Pops.
"There is a lot of talk right now about price, people care about. There was some worry yesterday about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its effect on pharmaceutical prices around the world. And I think fundamentally if you make important medicines that help patients, you are going to do just fine," Pops said.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer gave his take on a few caller favorite stocks:
United Rentals: "I'm on the fence with United Rentals...I think URI works here if Caterpillar is going higher, and I also think that URI is down too much. But remember it's like XPO, it's considered to be a roll-up."
Union Pacific Corporation: "It's my favorite rail, it's incredible...I've got to tell you, I am late to the party. I am willing to like Union Pacific, but this group is having a major move and it's China related. Union Pacific, I don't think it's going to have that good of a quarter but I don't think anyone cares."