- "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer
- Cramer also spoke to the CEO of EPR Properties to hear how box office weakness is affecting his REIT's earnings.
- In the lightning round, Cramer wasn't kidding when he gave his take on iRobot.
"In the last 24 hours, we've ... seen three different ways to beat Amazon at its own game: the Williams-Sonoma way, the PVH way and the deep-value way as represented by the dollar store — think Dollar Tree — and the closeout companies like Burlington Stores," the "Mad Money" host said. "All these companies produced fantastic results and much higher stock prices."
For example, Williams-Sonoma's latest quarter, during which the company did a major overhaul of its administrative structure, could have staying power, Cramer said.
So as retailers climb out of the rut Amazon's monstrous rise had dug for them, Cramer tracks the defining factors driving them higher despite the e-commerce giant's domination.
"Retailers looking to protect themselves from Amazon, the dark star of retail, now have not one, not two, but three potential force fields," he said.
On a day when the stock market remained fairly flat, Cramer wondered why the week's rally seemed to have tapered out after several days of steady rise.
"There's plenty of gremlins at play here that seem to counteract the positives that might let us go higher," he said. "Why don't we tick them down?"
"We're excited about tax simplification. We've been working really hard for years to try to make it happen, but in the absence of that, we'll do the job for Congress," Smith told Cramer on Thursday. "We will simplify the taxes so people can get them done without having to worry about making a mistake."
The chief of the TurboTax parent said the notion that Intuit's business would somehow be jeopardized if the tax code were simplified was a misconception.
With superhero flicks almost single-handedly rescuing box offices across the United States, EPR Properties President and CEO Greg Silvers understood why some might think his lifestyle-focused real estate investment trust might be hurting.
"There has been a little softness in the summer, but the reality is that softness really only affects, potentially, our percentage rents, which are $1 [million] or $2 million dollars of our total revenue. Our underlying day-to-day rents are very highly protected and are not impacted by this softness," Silvers told Cramer on Thursday. "When we look at it quarter to quarter, we'll see these fluctuations, but over the year, there's never been a year that's been down more than around 5 percent and we're coming off two record years. So this is really kind of a reversion to the mean."
In reality, movie theaters bolstering their menus, obtaining liquor licenses and adding other "experiential" elements is actually helping business, Silvers said.
"It's not simply box office in our theater tenants, it's the concessions. With the introduction of expanded food and beverage and the high amenities, we're seeing that tick up," the CEO told Cramer. "So overall revenues can still do well even if box office is flat."
Finally, Cramer spoke with Rick Bergman, the CEO of Synaptics, a company that develops interface solutions like displays, touchpads and fingerprint sensors.
"Some of the key cycles are really in our favor," Bergman told Cramer on Thursday. "There's a big transition ongoing in the smartphone market around new display types, and over the last several years, we've been building key capabilities to be ready for that transition in the display, in the fingerprint area, in the touch area."
While Bergman wasn't permitted to name some of his largest and most high-profile clients, he said Synaptics' new acquisition of Conexant makes it essential to the ecosystems of Amazon as well as Chinese tech players Baidu and Tencent.
Bergman also said that, by the end of 2017, Synaptics will have begun mass production on a brand-new technology that could appear in new editions of smartphones.
"Today, most people have a fingerprint sensor on the front of their phone in the button or in the back of the phone. Not the greatest places to put it," the CEO said. "So we've innovated, and by the end of this calendar year, we'll be in mass production with what we call an optical fingerprint, which allows you to actually authenticate on your screens. Literally, it'll say 'authenticate here' right in the middle of the screen. No buttons, perfectly beautiful display to maximize your display area and the ease of use for the end user."
In Cramer's lightning round, he flew through his take on some callers' favorite stocks:
iRobot Corporation: "I think you should go. I think you should buy it. I'm not kidding. I've been seeing that product now, I was over at a house that had it. I really like it. The military applications are good. I think you're in a good one."
Universal Display Corp.: "I know there's a really huge short position in this. I think the company's set up for a good 2018 and '19, so I'm not deterred."