Cramer Remix: Warren Buffett selling IBM could be a sign it’s on the cusp of a turn

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer said the old-school tech company could be ready to make a comeback, despite the moves of Warren Buffett.
  • Cramer also congratulated Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang on a recent accolade by Forbes.
  • In the lightning round, Cramer issued a warning about targeted oncology companies.
Cramer Remix: Warren Buffett selling IBM could be a sign it’s on the cusp of a turn

CNBC's Jim Cramer didn't want to be so quick as to write off Thursday's rally to the House of Representatives passing its first iteration of tax reform.

Instead, the "Mad Money" host argued that much of the rally resulted from the performance of two stocks, Cisco and Wal-Mart, "which pleasantly surprised us with their numbers. These are both turnaround stories, people. Nothing proves the worth of a CEO like executing a turnaround."

One company that Cramer said could be in the midst of its turnaround is IBM. IBM's latest quarter was embraced by the market as the last quarter with weak revenue growth, giving Cramer some faith in the company.

"Will it lead to a turn in the stock? Well, that's a different story," Cramer said. "Why? Warren Buffett, once IBM's largest shareholder, seems to be dumping stock at an aggressive pace. We saw he sold a third of his position in the last quarter. But you're being paid to wait here with a 4 percent yield as CEO Ginni Rometty hopefully completes her reinvention of the company as a fast-growing cloud and data analytics business. You know what? It feels a lot like Cisco before this quarter."

Kudos to Miles White

Miles D. White, CEO, Abbott
Getty Images

With all the talk on Wall Street about CEOs who have let their companies down, like former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, Cramer wanted to focus on the cream of the crop.

"While a lousy CEO can wreck even the best enterprise, the flip-side is also true," Cramer said. "A great CEO can turn a company that may be mediocre into a powerhouse and stir up a tremendous amount of value in the process."

That's why Cramer wanted to highlight the work of Miles White, longtime chairman and CEO of health care giant Abbott. The $96 billion company deals mainly in diagnostics, medical devices, nutrition and generic drugs, with 70 percent of its sales coming from outside the United States.

Since White took over in 1999, he's made moves that have rewarded his shareholders handsomely, the most major being the spin-off of Abbott's pharmaceutical arm into AbbVie in 2013.

Dexcom CEO on Abbott competition

Kevin Sayer, CEO, Dexcom
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Abbott gaining FDA approval for its no-prick glucose monitoring device won't have a dramatic effect on Dexcom's sales, Dexcom President and CEO Kevin Sayer told CNBC on Thursday.

"One of the hidden assets of Dexcom is this investment we've made in technology," Sayer told Cramer. "Our system offers features that competitors' don't. We connect to phones. We share data with people who watch patients. We offer performance and accuracy that others don't. We've been competing with [Abbott's] Libre in Europe for three years now, and you've seen our international growth, up 80 percent in the third quarter. So it's not like we're getting killed."

In Dexcom's post-earnings conference call, management said Dexcom could release its own blood-free glucose motoring device by the end of next year.

PPG Industries CEO on electric cars driving gains

The rise of electric cars has brought some unusual ancillary benefits to the coatings industry, particularly PPG Industries, Chairman and CEO Michael McGarry told CNBC on Thursday.

"We're working with all the battery companies," McGarry told Cramer. "Without getting into the particular customers, there's actually more coatings on a battery than there are on the car because what they try to do is try to insulate the battery from the rest of the car from a cooling perspective and also for prevention of thermal events or fires."

As the No. 1 supplier of those battery coatings in the world, PPG Industries will likely be a leading beneficiary from increased electric car output, which most major auto manufacturers predict will come sometime in the 2020s.

"Obviously, it's many years away, but when it comes, we'll be on the forefront," McGarry said. "We're going to be well-positioned regardless of who's winning, whether it's electric or whether it's hybrids or whether it's traditional gas-powered."

Congratulating Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang

Finally, Cramer applauded Fortune's choice of Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang as Businessperson of the Year.

"This man is, quite simply, brilliant, and the company he created is a gem, one of the great enterprises of our time," the "Mad Money" host said. "I want you to read this Fortune article, which gives you some tremendous background on Huang and NVIDIA, including a sense of this company being a lot like Intel back in the early '90s."

Cramer noted how many major trends Huang saw coming, from the artificial intelligence boom to the rise of machine learning to the development of gaming.

"Congratulations, Jensen. You deserve it," Cramer said. "You're a visionary who's created one of the most fantastic companies of the era. And I think this story and your success are far from over."

Lightning Round: Only Mad Money

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

Mirati Therapeutics Inc.: "Remember, I like all the targeted oncology companies, but only as specs. No more than 5 percent of your portfolio, and that's it. Because the ones that win are going to go up big and the ones that lose are going to make you nothing."

Symantec Corporation: "I didn't like the last quarter of Symantec. I prefer Proofpoint if we're going to go in there. Don't forget, Cisco had a security business that grew 8 percent, outgrowing everybody. Clearly taking share."

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