Cramer Remix: Trump has had less of an impact on stocks than you think

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer challenged the theory that President Trump has sent stocks soaring this year. Instead, he said there's another force at work within the market.
  • Cramer also sat down with the CEO of Zebra Technologies, who said the outlook for retail may not be as bad as everybody seems to think.
  • In the lightning round, Cramer advised investors to watch, not buy, one movie theater stock.

Plenty of investors are wondering whether President Donald Trump is to thank for the stock market's monster rally since his election in 2016. But CNBC's Jim Cramer had some other ideas.

True, the S&P 500 index is up 21 percent since Trump's election. But the Japanese Nikkei has rallied 33 percent, the German DAX is up nearly 28 percent, the South Korean Kospi has gained 27 percent and the Hong Kong Hang Seng ran 26 percent over the same period.

"None of those moves are about Trump," the "Mad Money" host said. "The truth is, when you've got a synchronized global economic expansion, stocks tend to roar higher the world over, often regardless of the politics or style or even substance of the leader[s]."

But rather than pressuring major steel producers like China and South Korea to stop dumping (keeping costs artificially low to suppress competition), Trump has adopted a different strategy.

"The president has been a terrific salesman for our international companies, best in my lifetime for certain. [He's a] very commercial president, often making it clear that if foreign countries want to appease him, they need to buy and build American," Cramer said. "I think he's had some success getting foreign companies to do business here, to open more plants here, although he's been less effective at his stated objective of narrowing our trade deficits."

That said, Cramer found that much of the stock market has embraced a White House with more bark than bite and few negative surprises. So the "Mad Money" host reviewed the 10 top-performing stocks since Nov. 8, 2016 to see if the gains could be traced back to Trump.

Take Two Interactive CEO talks Grand Theft Auto, esports

Strauss Zelnick, CEO, Take-Two Interactive Software
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Strauss Zelnick, CEO, Take-Two Interactive Software

Take Two Interactive Software Inc. CEO Strauss Zelnick told CNBC on Wednesday that his company wasn't expecting the success it's seen with its latest Grand Theft Auto games.

"It's amazing what's happened with Grand Theft Auto V," Zelnick told Cramer. "We've sold in 85 million units and we're having another record year with Grand Theft Auto Online which, as you know, is not our expectation. Four years after initial release, the audience is growing and people love it more than ever."

Take Two, the parent of the wildly popular Red Dead Redemption and NBA2K franchises, has watched its installed user base rise as people spend more time playing video games and continue buying current-generation gaming consoles, Zelnick said.

Currently, there are roughly 90 million current-generation consoles in households around the globe, a number Zelnick said would grow to something like 140 million in the next two years.

Snap's quarter from hell

Signage for Snap Inc., parent company of Snapchat, adorns the front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.
Getty Images
Signage for Snap Inc., parent company of Snapchat, adorns the front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.

There's no way Snap Inc. would have been able to have the same kind of bombastic IPO it had if it came public in the wake of its latest earnings report, Cramer said on Wednesday.

"I'll tell you one thing: you wouldn't get these prices, no way. There's no way we'd actually pay just under $13 bucks for this thing in an IPO, even though the stock fell almost 15 percent today on what can only be considered hellish earnings," he said.

After a dismal post-earnings call in which management said business is slowing, Snapchat is lagging behind its competition and that the company had purchased more Spectacles than it thought it could sell, Cramer wondered how the social media giant amassed its $15.5 billion valuation.

"This is bush league, people," the "Mad Money" host quipped.

Zebra Technologies CEO says retail isn't dead, it's growing

Anders Gustafsson, the CEO of enterprise asset management company Zebra Technologies, told CNBC on Wednesday that a recent study commissioned by his company revealed that all isn't lost for the retail industry.

"We talked to about 1,000 retailers in Europe and the U.S. to really understand what are the trends, what's going on?" Gustafsson told Cramer. "The headlines are so negative, but we actually found that retail is expected to grow by 3 percent ... per year for the next five years. Store openings are slightly higher than store closings this year."

Only five retail chains were responsible for 30 percent of the year's store closings, Gustafsson said, adding that Zebra, which helps companies improve their productivity, commissioned the study because of its high involvement in the retail space.

But one key trend holds true for retail leaders, the CEO said.

"The leaders in retail today are investing heavily in new technology to enable them to be able to execute on an omni-channel strategy," Gustafsson said.

Ducati North America CEO on drawing new customers

Finally, Cramer sat down with Jason Chinnock, the CEO of Italian motorcycle maker Ducati's North America branch.

As the demographic drawn to Ducati's competitors grows older, Chinnock said his company is using different, "guerrilla-style" marketing tactics to capture younger customers.

"We just basically find the things that we believe that they would connect with outside of motorcycling. And with that brand, we also don't look at motorcycling as being the continuity," Chinnock said on Wednesday. "We also bring that direct to them in environments where maybe we would be unexpected, like surf contests or pop-up stores [or] music festivals. And it helps bring people into motorcycling."

Overall, Chinnock said the company's strategy is centered around selling Ducati's brand and lifestyle, which is partly why the company has broadened its array of products in recent years.

"Some people get themselves pigeonholed with what they're known for," the CEO said. "We've diversified our product offering a lot over the last 10 years and we do build a cruiser, but we build a Ducati cruiser. It's a power cruiser. We're pushing almost 160 horsepower. So then we get away from the 'not for me' conversation. And the diversity of the product lineup has been a big element that has helped us and shaped our new customers for the future."

Lightning Round: Look, don't touch, with AMC

In Cramer's lightning round, he zipped through his take on some callers' favorite stocks:

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.: "Just look. Don't do a thing. Just look. Because that stock is not going higher. I don't want you anywhere near it."

Glacier Bancorp Inc.: "It's a very big premium to the book value, which does concern me because that's what those companies trade at, but at the same time, the Fed's raising rates. If the Fed's raising rates, Glacier would be terrific to own. So you don't need to do it, but you need to know that it is pricier than a lot of the banks that I follow."

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