Chinese trade negotiators suddenly canceled a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington this week.Marketsread more
Trump also said he is "not looking for a partial deal" with Beijing, moving away from his suggestion last week that he would consider an "interim deal."Politicsread more
For investors taking a breather from the chaos in August, buckle up as the market is about go crazy again, Goldman Sachs warned.Marketsread more
Canadian trade union Unifor said roughly 4,500 of its members have been temporarily laid off because of the GM strike so far.Autosread more
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March 2018, Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps stemming from an investigation into its developer ecosystem.Technologyread more
The former top aide of retired United Auto Workers Vice President Joe Ashton, a former member of the GM's board, was charged Friday with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and...Autosread more
Stocks fell to their lows of the day on Friday on news that Chinese trade officials are cutting short their visit to the U.S.US Marketsread more
The wearables company has retained advisors to consider exploring a sale of the business.Technologyread more
Roku shares have more than quadrupled this year, but the stock has had some rocky days of late as more players jump into streaming.Technologyread more
"I really want to encourage competition because I think competition creates innovation, and when you create innovation everyone wins," Humana CEO Bruce Broussard says.Health and Scienceread more
Walmart is the latest to pull back from the industry. Federal regulators said they will soon ban flavored e-cigarettes, while some nations have outlawed the products...Health and Scienceread more
But since then, all four major contenders — Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft — have lost traction, particularly during the sell-offs U.S. stocks endured in the fourth quarter of 2018. In those three months, Apple's stock lost 30 percent of its value, Amazon's shed 25 percent, Alphabet's fell 13 percent and Microsoft's sank 11 percent.
"This time, ... the odds are very different," Cramer said on Thursday. "Now that many of these mega-cap tech stocks seem to have found a bottom here, I think it's time for us to start handicapping the race back to $1 trillion."
Apple, for one, re-entered the race in a less-than-ideal position, he said. Its last day as a trillion-dollar player was on Nov. 1, when the iPhone maker issued a disappointing forecast and announced a major change to its earnings reporting that some saw as a sign of slowing iPhone sales. On Jan. 2, Apple confirmed that it saw an iPhone slowdown in China.
Microsoft has also seen a change of fate, though its was notably positive. The stock had been trailing the other trillion-dollar contenders for most of 2018, but it held up in the marketwide declines, ending the year as the most valuable public company in the country.
Now, Amazon has retaken first place with an $810 billion market cap, Microsoft is a close second at $795 billion, Alphabet is in third place at $747 billion and Apple is trailing the pack at $730 billion.
And this time, "I think Amazon is the odds-on favorite, and not just because it's already in the lead," Cramer said.
The "Mad Money" host favored Amazon for several reasons: its stock still ended 2018 up 28 percent, which Cramer called a "pretty pedestrian" result for the e-commerce giant. Amazon is also finally seeing earnings growth after years of earnings losses coupled with revenue expansion, a common model for growing tech companies.
Lastly, its three businesses — the cloud-based Amazon Web Services, the advertising business and the consumer-facing retail segment — look to be performing strongly, which may be confirmed in its January earnings report.
Even so, "Microsoft is a real challenger" in the race, Cramer argued. Its Azure cloud services product is second only to Amazon, it has invested in growth with its LinkedIn and GitHub acquisitions, and its stock, according to Cramer, is "the safest of the bunch."
Google parent Alphabet might also put up a fight as its advertising arm continues to outperform and its "moonshot businesses," particularly self-driving car project Waymo and life science research subsidiary Verily, gain steam, Cramer said.
Apple, unfortunately, will remain in the "penalty box" until Wall Street sees tangible earnings and sales improvement, he said.
"I don't think Apple will win the race back to a trillion, but I do think it represents incredible value here," the "Mad Money" host said. "Bottom line here? In the race back to a trillion, Amazon's the new favorite and the competition's not that close, although I think both Alphabet and Microsoft are absolutely worth buying here. As for Apple, I think it's being chronically underestimated, but we shall see."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft.