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The March employment report was good enough to dim worries about a recession and not rattle the Federal Reserve, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.
“The Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls report gave you some goldilocks numbers, alright, with just the right amount of job growth and just the right amount of wage inflation, meaning robust and meager respectively,” the “Mad Money” host said.
The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs, topping estimates for 175,000, and unemployment maintained a 3.8% rate. The number was a rebound from February’s abysmal 20,000 addition to nonfarm payrolls.
Wage growth, however, eased a bit, increasing just 0.14%.
“As investors in the stock market, a labor report that shows strong growth with little wage growth is really the perfect combination,” Cramer said. “Of course, it’s not so great if you work for a living and were hoping for a raise. Great for the stock market, though.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 40 points during the session. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both gained about 0.50%.
Cramer said the market didn’t run very high because “we’ve been up for seven straight days—there was a lot of money betting to get a strong jobs number. In other words, it was already baked in.”
Here’s Cramer’s game plan for next week:
“We will have to pay more attention than usual to factory orders and durable goods orders,” Cramer said. “We want them to remain robust enough that it puts the recession worries to bed, at least for now.”
WD-40: WD-40 will report earnings after the market closes. CEO Garry Ridge told a “dynamite story” when he came on “Mad Money” last month, Cramer said.
“This is one of those stocks where if you like the product, you do the homework, and then you buy and hold the stock,” he said. “Worse case scenario, it sells off and you get a chance to buy more in two weeks.”
JP Morgan: The bank hosts its annual Boss’ Retail Round-Up Conference in New York City. Cramer expects to hear some positive stories from retailers, especially out of Kohl’s CEO Michelle Glass.
“I can’t think of a better-timed conference,” Cramer said.
Bed Bath & Beyond: The home goods chain reports earnings after the bell. Activist investors are looking to shake up the company’s management, and Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock from sell to hold.
“Maybe if the stock gets hit on a bad quarter, maybe you’ll actually buy it. It’s up from low teens,” Cramer said.
Conagra: Conagra has an analyst call scheduled. The company seemed to justify its Pinnacle Foods acquisition in its latest earnings report, and the food group seems to have bottomed out, Cramer said.
“Conagra’s well run. It could be a very important meeting,” he said.
Walt Disney: Disney will host an analyst meeting, one that Cramer said will be the most critical that he’s ever seen. The entertainment conglomerate is working to reinvent itself.
“I think CEO Bob Iger will have good news and bad news … and that could potentially mean we get an earnings guide down along with a discussion of how 2019 is an investment year,” he said. “I recommend buying half a position [on Tuesday] before the meeting. If the meeting creates fear because of this issue involving investment, you buy the other half [Friday].”
J.P. Morgan Chase: JP Morgan will deliver earnings before the bell. Cramer expects the bank, which he owns a piece of in his ActionAlertPlus.com charitable trust, to have a good quarter.
“I can’t remember a time when it’s been this cheap on an earnings basis,” he said.
Wells Fargo: Cramer thinks Wells Fargo will show positive results when it presents earnings before the market opens, but there are headwinds in its way. Still, it may not matter after the resignation of Tim Sloan as CEO.
“There are people who don’t want to own that one ahead of the upcoming grilling on Capitol Hill that starts the week after.”
China trade: It will be another week of speculation about a trade agreement between the United States and China.
“I still believe that the Chinese want a deal … but it will be very hard for them to make one because President Trump is unwilling to roll back the tariffs,” Cramer said. “He wants to keep them on as [an] enforcement mechanism. The problem is that there’s very little incentive for China to make a deal if they can’t get rid of the tariffs.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of JP Morgan Chase, Kohl’s, and Disney.
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