Forget FANG — so far in 2019, the cloud kings are the technology sector's real winners, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Thursday after a strong, growth-filled earnings report from enterprise-facing cloud company ServiceNow.
ServiceNow, for one, delivered more than 30 percent year-over-year growth across the board. The stock has now surged some 52 percent from its late-2018 lows. And while it's "the best of the bunch" so far, it's not the only cloud stock doing well in this "choppy environment," Cramer said.
Since the late-2018 lows, VMware has gained over 37 percent, Salesforce.com has climbed nearly 34 percent, Workday is up 54 percent, Splunk has tacked on 49 percent and even Adobe, the weakest of the group, has rallied 21 percent, he noted, adding that Adobe being up only about 9 percent for may be a buying opportunity.
"These are classic worldwide secular growth stories that don't need a strong economy because they help other businesses trim the fat and increase their margins, and businesses always want to cut costs," Cramer said. "So when someone says the king is dead, you just come back and say long live the king."
Despite Facebook's numerous privacy scandals, the social media giant's fourth-quarter results handily beat analyst estimates, sending the stock 10.82 percent higher in Thursday's session. The beleaguered GE saw a similar reaction: shares of the industrial gained the most in 9 years Thursday after a much better-than-anticipated fourth quarter.
Those two stocks helped the broader market along, with the capping off its best January since 1987.
"You know what most of the stocks that have exploded higher this earnings season have in common? They had already gone down hard going into the quarter," Cramer said after markets closed. "We have seen this over and over and over again, including [in] today's session. [...] These stocks are all acting like coiled springs."
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Wall Street's relative disappointment with PayPal's fourth-quarter earnings report — with the exception of the almost-profitable Venmo — may have stemmed from the company's forward guidance, CFO John Rainey told CNBC on Thursday.
In an exclusive "Mad Money" interview after PayPal's report, Rainey emphasized that management was "really pleased" with the fourth-quarter results, highlighting the company's 26-percent earnings per share growth and its record-breaking net new customer additions.
But there were three potential pain points in PayPal's first-quarter guidance that were worth addressing, Rainey told Cramer after the financial technology company's shares dropped 3.96 percent.
Click here to watch and read more about Rainey's interview.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants billionaires like Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg to subscribe to the United States' "social contract" and pay "their fair share" in taxes, she told CNBC on Thursday in an interview with Cramer.
"I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders," the Democratic senator said on "Mad Money." "I want them to pick up their fair share. That's how we make a system that works not just for the rich and the powerful, but works for all of us."
Warren, who is considering a 2020 run for president, proposed a "wealth tax" on Americans with over $50 million in assets earlier this month. She has also criticized former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — who is also weighing a 2020 presidential bid — for thinking he can "buy the presidency."
On Thursday, the Massachusetts senator broke down her problem with billionaires, even those who contribute to charities and do good social works.
Click here to watch and read more about Warren's full interview.
Auto parts maker Meritor isn't as antiquated as its 110-year history might suggest, President and CEO Jay Craig told Cramer on Thursday in an exclusive interview.
In fact, the company believes it's "become one of the leaders" in the electric vehicle component space, an industry expected to grow dramatically in the next five years, the CEO said.
"We believe we've become one of the leaders in that space so far," he told Cramer. "We have a number of programs throughout the globe with every major … original equipment manufacturer [on] the globe to help them electrify their commercial vehicles."
And electric vehicle adoption could happen more quickly in some areas than in others, said Craig, whose company specializes in making drivetrain, braking and suspension systems for commercial buyers.
"I think it's going to happen in certain narrow niches" like refuse vehicles and transit buses, he said, adding that he expects transit buses in particular to "move pretty quickly" to becoming fully electric.
Click here to watch Craig's full interview.
In Cramer's lightning round, he flew through his responses to callers' stock questions:
Citigroup Inc.: "We only care where something's going, not where it's come from, and I've got to tell you, I think Citi is the cheapest of the bank stocks. It sells way through its tangible book [value]. They are going to continue to buy back stock. It has been disappointing, but it is inexpensive."
Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: "I'm not recommending any automakers. Life's too short. It's just too hard. I've actually been saying a lot of positive things about Tesla. I hate it when the CFO quits, let alone quits a second time, but I've got to tell you, I thought that they actually had a decent quarter. But it's a balance sheet issue and I don't have the faith."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Salesforce.com, Facebook, Apple, PayPal and Citigroup.