- "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer reinforced his bull case on Apple and why it's on his shopping list this holiday season.
- Cramer also recommended the stock of Hess to investors because of the activist investor in its midst.
- In the lightning round, Cramer warmed to a group that the rest of the market has left for dead.
When CNBC's Jim Cramer went to buy the iPhone X as a holiday present for his wife, what could've been a mad dash turned into a bull case for Apple.
The "Mad Money" host was lucky enough to visit an Apple store that had one silver iPhone X left. Cramer happily bought it, but his Twitter followers weren't as pleased.
About half of the internet told Cramer it was awful that he could even get the iPhone X because that meant demand was light and inventory was heavy. The other half said Apple misjudged the demand for silver iPhones. It was "damned if you do, damned if you don't," Cramer said.
But Cramer wasn't having it. How could both sides of the argument possibly be bearish, he wondered?
"Can we just admit that you can't fault them both ways?" he said. "You should be thrilled that they had some inventory, but not too much inventory, because too much inventory is, quite frankly, the bane of a retailer's existence. I think this is ideal. Now, granted, this whole story is anecdotal, but it suggests that Apple threaded the needle about as well as you could possibly expect them to."
"If anything, I think they've made the bull case for Apple, not the bear case," Cramer concluded. "That's why I believe that, even up here, you should own, not trade, the shares of the greatest consumer products story the world has ever known."
Cramer has noticed Wall Streeters saying that certain companies "fit the profile" for success in 2018 and others don't.
"What exactly does it mean to 'fit the profile?' It means the company has to be a direct beneficiary of the new tax law and it needs to come from a cohort that's under-loved by Wall Street," Cramer said on Wednesday.
Cramer started by looking at Nucor, a steel producer with a stock that has struggled through much of 2017, up only 7 percent for the year.
Last week, Nucor pre-announced that it would only earn between 50 and 55 cents a share in its fourth quarter, lowering its estimates for the third quarter in a row. But shares of Nucor only momentarily dipped on the news, and the stock proceeded to climb higher.
"It's a company that can do much better if the economy accelerates [and] it pays a 31 percent effective tax rate, so it stands to make a lot more money under the new law," which would cut the corporate rate to 21 percent, Cramer said.
High-quality cyclical stocks like Nucor's make up Wall Street's most wanted going into 2018, so much so that Nucor could climb to $70 in the near future, Cramer predicted.
"Good thing we didn't jump on the bandwagon, because for the last five months, Zimmer's stock has continued to fall, almost entirely as a result of two fairly ugly quarters," the "Mad Money" host said. "But this whole time, you could see just how badly people wanted to believe."
"The response was as bullish as it was dramatic," Cramer said. "Immediately after the news broke, two analysts upgraded the stock, and a third analyst who upgraded it beforehand in anticipation of a good hire named Zimmer her top pick for 2018."
Still, Zimmer's recent weakness is worth considering, especially for investors who are eager to jump on board with the orthopedic implant manufacturer's new leadership, Cramer said.
With oil prices on the rise and in striking distance of the $60 mark, Cramer sought what he called "a spur" — a way for investors to play oil's potential turnaround.
"If you don't have any oil exposure here, ... maybe you should be thinking about buying the stock of Hess, because not only does it have a spur, it's got someone saber rattling for the CEO to go and the company to put itself up for sale," the "Mad Money" host said.
Elliott Management, an activist fund run by hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer, has held a stake in Hess since 2013.
But while the fund has made fortunes for investors with other energy investments like Marathon Petroleum, it hasn't had as much luck in Hess, building a large position in the oil and gas play just before oil's peak in 2014.
"Hess has been a dog," Cramer said. "The stock's now at $44. Elliott wants to put the company up for sale. I don't blame them because I think the sum of the parts could be north of $75 a share."
In Cramer's lightning round, he zipped through his take on some callers' favorite stocks:
Buckle Inc.: "This is young men and women apparel. We talked about this with [American Eagle Outfitters] the other day when I was on 'Halftime Report.' This group is smoking. It's been left for dead and it's not dead and I like it."
AXT Inc.: "This is a company that helps make the parts of semiconductors that, frankly, I don't want to be involved in, so I am going to say no. I am going to say that you could be in Intel or, yes, if you want one that is going to be down, I think, until year-end, but I do like, it's Nvidia."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Apple and Nvidia.