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The banks, restaurants and retail stocks should be on fire this time of year. Instead, they are downright toxic, Jim Cramer said.
"They are houses on fire, and there is no letting up in the flames, even as the averages rebounded hard today," the "Mad Money" host said.
As the quarter winds down, Cramer compared each group's progress this year to where investors expected them to go not long ago.
With the expectation that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates several times in 2016, the banks were supposed to make a fortune. Instead, only one hike came last December and the subsequent rate rise never happened.
The European banks are also a disaster. London banks finally found their footing, but had core franchises obliterated by the Brexit referendum. Deutsche Bank was in a league of its own, as the Justice Department requested $14 billion for its role in the mortgage crisis, and the bank has only $5 billion to $6 billion in legal reserves.
"Deutsche Bank is in dreamland where it somehow believes things are all hunky-dory, despite relatively low reserves and versus their potentially very expensive legal problem," Cramer said. "Deutsche Bank has historically been totally clueless about the American way of justice when it comes to banks."
Nike's stock fell more than 4 percent on Wednesday after the company's growth fell shy of the 8 percent that Wall Street expected, coming in at only 7 percent. And while North American future orders did grow 1 percent, it was the worst rate in more than six years.
The hidden culprit was the return of Adidas, Cramer said. This topic never came up on the conference call. Cramer heard a rosy story from Nike, as if everything went well.
Cramer struggled to find any reason to recommend buying Nike's stock at 23 times earnings, when he can recommend a stock like Foot Locker at 14 times earnings.
"Until Nike admits the slowdown is for real, they can't solve it," Cramer said.
Paychex, the nation's No. 2 payroll processor, reported earnings on Wednesday, and its stock dropped more than 4 percent.
While the quarter itself wasn't a disappointment, Cramer saw guidance as the issue. Management lowered its forecast for the 2017 fiscal year. Often, investors care more about guidance than actual results, because it indicates where the stock could head.
According to management, it cut numbers because of a change in accounting policies for certain tax issues. The company also said payroll service revenue growth could come in between 3 and 4 percent, down from 4 percent last quarter.
To learn more, Cramer spoke with Paychex President and CEO Marty Mucci, who addressed why revenue growth is expected at 3 to 4 percent.
"I think it is really fine tuning. We had a guidance out there at about 4 percent and when you look at the year, we lost one payroll day this year compared to last year … We refined it to be 3 to 4 percent, and we try to be on the conservative side of making sure there is no surprises and we are very transparent," Mucci said.
Earlier this year, Newell-Rubbermaid and Jarden merged to create a pastiche of over 100 brands, under the name of Newell Brands. With the stock up more than 18 percent this year, Jim Cramer could not be more pleased.
"That is why I have put my charitable money where my mouth is and bought it for ActionsAlertsPlus.com, and it is why I think it would make a great addition to your portfolio, too," Cramer said.
Multiple analysts who cover the sector initially hesitanted to get behind Newell Brands, either because they feared the complexity of integrating the companies, or because they didn't like how much money Newell borrowed to pay for Jarden.
Ultimately Cramer found Newell Brands a cheap consumer goods stock with a 14.5 percent long-term growth rate, great management and fabulous cost-saving catalysts in the pipeline.
Some of the smaller biotechs have come roaring back recently, though they still remain far from 2015 highs. Radius Health is a development-stage biotech focused on treating osteoporosis and other endocrine-mediated disorders.
The lead drug for Radius is a treatment for osteoporosis in post-menopausal women that's waiting for FDA approval. The company expects to hear the decision by March 30 of next year at the latest. Radius also just published positive phase 3 clinical trial data showing that the drug increased bone density and prevented fractures.
The stock has rocketed higher since its lows in February, and has since traded sideways for the past six weeks. Cramer spoke with the company's CEO Bob Ward, who shared that the company's pipeline also includes an investigational abaloparatide transdermal patch, which could possibly be used by a larger market share.
"Patch has been difficult to get right. So, what was super exciting today was the new data where we have shown that the short wear time patch that would be put on — we estimate 5 minutes once a day — could be a potential replacement for what would be considered for a typical subcu."
In the Lightning Round, Cramer gave his take on a few caller favorite stocks:
AAR Corp: "I like the aircraft service business, I always have. You're right, a winner."
B/E Aerospace: "I do like it. Now, it did have a couple bad quarters and it did try to at one point sell itself. I have to tell you, I do like it, but just be a little bit careful with aerospace in general because we know that Boeing's numbers were a little bit squishy last time around."