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After years of struggling to compete with lower-cost Chinese counterparts, European telecommunications companies Nokia and Ericsson stand to win big from the U.S.-China trade war, CNBC's Jim Cramer argued Wednesday.
"These once-beleaguered companies now have a chance to win the race for 5G supremacy, " he said on "Mad Money." "Their equipment might be more expensive than what the Chinese can make. Sometimes I think a lot of people would say it's even lower quality. Actually, I think the majority might say that. But you better believe neither Sweden nor Finland are pressuring their companies to spy on their customers."
Which stock wins out? Cramer thought both companies' most recent earnings reports were solid, with Ericsson delivering strong sales and a bullish outlook for the year ahead and Nokia issuing good headline numbers. And even though Nokia's stock dropped on what some saw as weak outlook for the first half of 2019, Cramer didn't agree with the move.
"The truth is Nokia's stock soared higher when Ericsson posted good numbers the week before, and stocks that run up into earnings tend to sell off even on strong numbers. Now, Nokia's American shares are at $6.05, which, to me, is crazy," he said. "I prefer Nokia here, both because it's too cheap here and because it has a better portfolio of end-to-end solutions. I have not recommended Nokia since 1997."
Click here for Cramer's full take.
The decline in shares of Centene after its much better-than-expected earnings report stumped even its Chairman and CEO, Michael Neidorff, he told Cramer in a Wednesday interview.
"I used to think, 'The market's irrational.' This one I don't understand," Neidorff said on "Mad Money." "Every number was solid, no noise in the quarter, no noise in the year, executing superbly."
Shares of Centene lost 1.03 percent overall in Wednesday's trading session. Part of the weakness could've been tied to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, the CEO said, citing his "policy, not politics" refrain.
"We have all kinds of ideas and an active Washington office promoting things that are good public policy," he told Cramer. "It's all about access, high-quality care, lower cost. That's what we're focused on."
Click here to watch Neidorff's full interview.
Five semiconductor companies are in a prime position to benefit from the rollout of 5G, the fifth generation of wireless communication that telecom companies are racing to implement, Cramer said Wednesday.
"If you're a semiconductor company with 5G exposure, this is your moment," he said after Skyworks Solutions, an Apple supplier that fits that description, surged over 12 percent intraday after delivering its quarterly earnings results.
Skyworks' surge was so strong that it lifted shares of other chipmakers involved in 5G, including Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Xilinx, all of which stand to benefit from the rise of 5G, Cramer said.
And while he preferred the stock of Skyworks to its peers because of its low price tag and the company's focus on 5G, he said investors "can make the case for all five."
Click here for his full analysis.
Wall Street received a boost from four unexpected stocks that managed to surprise on their earnings reports, Cramer said Wednesday.
"Today we had a whole parade of short squeezes in Skyworks Solutions, The New York Times, Capri Holdings (that's the old Michael Kors), and even Snap, " the "Mad Money" host said. "Together they helped stabilize a market that seemed that it was really going to head pretty low."
Short sellers, who try to make a profit on declining equities by borrowing and selling them at a lower price, have targeted each of these stocks, he said. Snap, the parent of the Snapchat social media platform, surely made it hard for those betting against it after shares closed 22 percent higher Wednesday. Short sellers scrambled to make up for the unexpected result, which caused it to surge higher because of a shortage in shares to meet demand.
Click here for his full analysis.
Google parent Alphabet's stock is "a steal here" considering the internet giant's power in the burgeoning e-commerce industry, Cramer said Wednesday after the stock dropped 2.52 percent.
"This was the quarter where we realized that you need to pay the piper to get sales on the internet, and in most cases, the piper is Alphabet's Google, hence its 22 percent revenue growth," the "Mad Money" host said.
Cramer noted how many company executives have cited their direct-to-consumer businesses as areas of strength, a sign that companies like Alphabet are becoming increasingly important in driving revenue. He also called attention to how few people carry shopping bags these days on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, a well-known retail hub, which could mean consumers are browsing in store before buying products online.
"Whenever you hear some executive say 'direct to consumer,' ... you should immediately think Facebook, Amazon and, most importantly, Google, because their ads are how you sell things directly to the consumer, " he said. "If you're a retailer, you need to pay Google for advertising, just like you had to pay rent on Fifth Avenue in the old days. It's simply where all the shoppers are, which is why I like Google's parent, Alphabet, so much into today's pullback."
In Cramer's lightning round, he tore through his responses to callers' stock questions:
Idexx Laboratories Inc.: "The stock is like any growth stock. These got just annihilated. I will tell you that I think this is a great level to buy Idexx. And let me tell you I think Zoetis is very good, too. I think Elanco's a little too high. "
Wix.com Ltd.: "First of all, I want to congratulate you and your son — I think Wix is a great company. Second, I am a Wix client — full disclosure — at our restaurants. You cannot make great websites on the cheap, meaning without having a lot of money, unless you use Wix, which is monumental."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon.