Mad Money

Cramer tracks the telltale signs of retailers entering an Amazon-free zone

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer spots some retailers seemingly shedding their fears of Amazon.
  • Cramer says brick-and-mortar names like Ulta Beauty and Home Depot are starting to bounce back.
  • Still, the "Mad Money" host wonders how long this "Amazon-free zone" will last.
Telltale signs of retailers entering Amazon-free zone

To Jim Cramer, it almost seems like the widespread fears of Amazon that have burdened retailers are starting to wither away.

"We're seeing some things here that might indicate the age of Amazon as the destroyer of all things retail may, at last, be receding, at least for the moment," the "Mad Money" host said.

Cramer first turned to cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty, which received a downgrade and was mentioned in some negative comments by the CEO of partner L'Oreal, who cited pricing pressures on middle-market makeup.

Having peaked at $314, shares of Ulta settled at $243 on the news before Wednesday's buyers pushed it up slightly, to $255 and change.

"Still, with Ulta trading at 33 times earnings, you have to tread a little carefully and be ready for another reversal if Amazon squawks to some reporter, somewhere, in some paper about cosmetics, although the follow-through 4-[basis]-point rally today was certainly pleasing," Cramer said.

Home Depot and Costco's stocks also managed to push higher out of the weekend, stabilizing on Wednesday after solid rallies. Both were hit not just by Amazon's competition, but by other news that seemed to threaten their core businesses.

Home Depot's stock suffered at the hands of Sherwin-Williams and PPG, which indicated weakness in do-it-yourself painting in their reports. It also declined on the announcement of Amazon's partnership with Sears and its Kenmore brand.

Costco, however, is slightly more complicated. The stock's valuation is relatively high, and Costco faces direct threats from Amazon with its takeover of Whole Foods as well as from German grocery chains Aldi and Lidl, both of which recently set up shop in the United States.

Shares of Wal-Mart are flirting with new highs, although Cramer bets the company will also face a challenge from Aldi and Lidl's low-cost stores. Still, Cramer expects the acquisition will start to pay off soon, and Wal-Mart's valuation is still relatively low, he said.

"Now, much of this move has occurred during the swoon of Amazon's stock itself. I don't know if its rally can be sustained — the stock went up more than $8 bucks [on Wednesday] — but it's something worth watching, as the Seattle behemoth's been mighty quiet of late," Cramer said. "Right now, though, we seem to be in an Amazon-free zone. I do not know how long it lasts, but for the moment, you have to believe that when the cat's away, the mice will, indeed, play."

Watch the full segment: Cramer tracks retail's comeback

Cramer tracks the telltale signs of retailers entering an Amazon-free zone

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