Cramer Remix: Why Netflix is the best-performing stock of 2018 in the S&P 500

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer lays out how streaming giant Netflix is crushing the competition.
  • Cramer also sits down with J.P. Morgan retail guru Matthew Boss.
  • In the lightning round, Cramer gets bullish on what he calls a "plain, boring, terrific" company.

As shares of Netflix surged to an all-time high on Tuesday and sent the broader market higher, CNBC's Jim Cramer tied the rise to the lasting effect of the FANG stocks on the economy.

Analysts have long said FANG, Cramer's acronym for the stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet, was near-dead or overvalued, but the "Mad Money" host has balked at the allegations.

Even so, Cramer admitted that analyzing the stocks can be enough to drive people crazy.

"Today's epic 9 percent run in Netflix, after the company reported some preposterously fantastic sign-ups, is the kind of thing that makes you want to tear your hair out, if you have any, if you're trying to value the stock on traditional metrics," he said.

Netflix's stock has soared despite the company's heavy spending on content and its negative free cash flow, which some see as a threat to the streaming giant's earnings.

But Cramer argued that "the simple fact is that the world loves Netflix. We're beginning to believe that it could easily reach 300 million subscribers someday and they'll be willing to pay a heck of a lot more for the service. Why? Because it is such a bargain."

"That's why Netflix is the best-performing stock in 2018 for the S&P 500," Cramer continued. "That's why it has a $145 billion market cap, very close to Disney and more than seven times the size of CBS. That's why Netflix is the most powerful force in the entertainment world today."

Off the charts: Defending your portfolio?

An employee works inside the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jet being manufactured for the Indian Air Force.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee works inside the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jet being manufactured for the Indian Air Force.

With increased geopolitical worries threatening markets at every churn of the 24-hour news cycle, Cramer wanted investors to be prepared for the next marketwide panic.

"What works here [is] not just in spite of these worries, but perhaps, in some cases, because of them," Cramer said on Tuesday.

Every time investors or analysts fret about President Donald Trump's escalation in Syria and its potential ramifications, for example, it translates into good news for U.S. defense companies, Cramer said.

Aerospace and defense stocks spent much of 2017 in the green, setting new highs in January before pausing their rallies after the broader sell-off in February.

With that in mind, Cramer called on technician Rob Moreno, publisher of RightViewTrading.com and Cramer's colleague at RealMoney.com, to help him get a sense of where the top defense stocks might be headed.

Retail guru talks the China 'wildcard'

Matt Boss, Equity Research Analyst, J.P. Morgan
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Matt Boss, Equity Research Analyst, J.P. Morgan

The man whom CNBC's Jim Cramer calls "the best retail analyst on Wall Street" is positive about the improving state of the retail sector — but there's a non-retail catch.

Matthew Boss, J.P. Morgan's equity research analyst focusing on retailing, department stores and specialty retail, said "the optimism was in the air" at his recent Retail Roundup conference.

But among the top retailers at Boss' annual roundup, which spanned from the low-cost Dollar General to higher-end brands like Lululemon, one key variable still stoked worry: China.

"This is the wildcard to this space," Boss told Cramer, detailing his three-pronged strategy to how investors should approach the potential trade war's effect on their retail stocks.

Passing on SNAP

Snap co-founders Evan Spiegel (R) and Bobby Murphy walk to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, March 2, 2017.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Snap co-founders Evan Spiegel (R) and Bobby Murphy walk to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, March 2, 2017.

Cramer cautioned investors against buying Snap despite the social media company's new app redesign — at least for now.

"The stock is not cheap here," Cramer said on Tuesday. "I say take a pass — for now — at least until we know whether the Snapchat redesign will actually hurt them. I think it's a little bit too risky. I'd prefer to see more panic, more sturm und drang."

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, was founded in 2011 and went public in March 2017. Shares maintained the initial IPO trading price at the time of the first earnings report, but plunged more than 60 percent by summer, falling from their March 3, 2017's highs of $29.44 to $11.28 a share on August 14.

The main problem, Cramer said, is that Snap isn't growing fast enough and its expenses are too high. The company reported a loss of $2.2 billion during the first quarter of 2017.

Netflix fallout

Cramer also told investors how they should approach the stock of Netflix after its blowout quarter.

"Look, I'm sure there are some people who want to take profits here," he said, acknowledging the bear case that Netflix spends too much on content and has an overblown valuation.

Cramer, however, had a much more bullish view that Netflix could one day have 300 million subscribers, all of whom pay a higher rate for its streaming service than consumers do now.

"If you were telling people to sell Netflix on these worries going into today or any other time in the last 10 years, that has to inspire some real soul-searching about what you're doing in the business," Cramer said. "People have been fretting about content costs for years, it's simply kept you out of a magnificent multi-year rally."

Lightning round: Plain, boring and terrific

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

Ecolab Inc.: "A plain, boring, terrific situation that I want you to hold onto and buy more if it comes down. What a fantastic security."

B&G Foods, Inc.: "No. We're going to stay away. This whole food business is just- I like Conagra, but that's really about it. This group is just snakebit."

— CNBC's Kellie Ell contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet.

Questions for Cramer?
Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Want to take a deep dive into Cramer's world? Hit him up!
Mad Money Twitter - Jim Cramer Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Vine

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com