CNBC’s Jim Cramer found Wednesday’s market sentiment to be somewhat nearsighted about the potential catalysts that could drive stocks higher.
“We’ve got to take a step back and look at the bigger picture here, because that’s what helped power today’s rally,” the “Mad Money” host said.
For Cramer, the main market-moving theme was Hurricane Harvey and the nationwide push to rebuild Texas after the devastating storm.
“The fourth-largest city in the [United States] has been taken offline, but for the most part, the state and local authorities actually seem to have it under control,” Cramer said. “While Harvey has been a real tragedy for the millions caught in its path, the natural disaster hasn’t been accompanied by any man-made catastrophes like we saw during [Hurricane] Katrina. Trump’s visit to Texas didn’t turn out to be a fiasco. If anything, it was workmanlike [and] gave us a glimpse of the ‘can do’ business side of the president that we haven’t seen much of lately.”
Now, Cramer expects potentially tens of billions of federal dollars to flood Texas as the waters recede, especially because it is such a largely Republican state.
The massive reclamation project in Houston will likely deliver a boost to an array of companies related to rebuilding, the “Mad Money” host said.
From companies dealing in homebuilding materials — think Weyerhaeuser, Louisiana-Pacific and USG — to road aggregates — Martin Marietta Materials’ wheelhouse — to roofing — the specialty of Owens Corning and Beacon Roofing — Cramer is anticipating a lift across the board.
“The rebuilding effort will be so enormous that, while the hit to the U.S. economy from Houston short-term going offline will be noticeable, it will also be very ephemeral compared to what will happen when the reclamation project begins,” the “Mad Money” host said.
“This could even extend to a spike in autos and truck sales, as the Houston Automobile Dealers Associated says there could be half a million vehicles damaged by the storm,” Cramer continued. “Can they be replaced? Of course, because they have insurance, which means there’ll be lots of new orders, something Warren Buffett also hinted at today when he mentioned the liabilities of his own auto insurer, Geico.”
And unlike Hurricane Katrina, do-it-yourself retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s also have a chance to take part in the gains, Cramer said.
Cramer said the main difference is how organized and under-control the post-Harvey rebuild will be versus the reconstruction post-Katrina, which, in some areas, is still ongoing.
Moreover, President Donald Trump’s handling of the disaster, including his visit to Texas, was both hands-on and on-message, a boon to the market in itself, Cramer said.
His lack of off-message remarks translated into a lack of abstractions for investors, which caused health care and technology stocks to rise on hopes of Trump’s health care and repatriation policies finally being back on the table.
“Granted, that’s an element of wishful thinking I’ve just laid out. But a president who acts presidential is worth a couple of percent on the upside; a president who acts peeved, to put it diplomatically, ends up hurting his own cause as well as the market,” Cramer said. “The bottom line: President Trump, you want higher stock prices? You focus on the country, all of the country, as it attempts to help America’s fourth-largest city get back on its feet again.”
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