Jim Cramer is always thrilled when earnings play out like they are supposed to. This new dynamic only began when the market bottomed in February, and could be a very good sign for earnings season.
"Companies that do well are being rewarded with higher stock prices, and that is something that hasn't happened in a very long time," the "Mad Money" host said.
This dynamic was evident to Cramer when he looked at the airlines. Delta reported a strong quarter on Thursday morning that reflected passenger growth and lower costs and a huge buyback.
Cramer was impressed with the discipline of the industry itself. Companies have been very smart about not boosting capacity, which could be tempting based on how much they make per ticket.
Despite the robust earnings, Delta was not happy with unit revenues, which fell 4.5 percent. It expects that it will decline by less than that this quarter, yet there was no relief in sight.
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"These guys are running scared like they are losing money, not walking around fat and happy because they are making money," Cramer said.
It is for this reason that Cramer finds it ridiculous that Delta's stock only sells for eight times this year's earnings, and seven times next year's earnings. That is almost half of the average stock in the S&P.
Ultimately, Delta's quarter had a ripple effect through the entire industry and sent the whole group soaring. That was exactly what Cramer expected to occur.
Another example that Cramer noted was Alcoa, which reported a setback in its key aerospace division, Firth Rixson, on Monday. While there was a significant decline in profits for this division, it was clear that there were company-wide cost cuts in anticipation of the company breaking itself up this year.
As a result, Alcoa's stock surged more than 2 percent on Thursday.
What the heck happened?
Cramer thinks there is a genuine belief that this could be the last bad quarter for Alcoa, like many other commodity companies. While he doesn't know if this is true, he did find the pattern compelling that it could do well, and so the stock finally reflects that.
"It is a very good sign for an earnings season that was supposed to be the worst in seven years," Cramer said.