Cramer’s game plan: A week defined by trade talks and employment

Trade talks and the latest data on U.S. employment will color the week ahead for the stock market, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday as stocks rallied on high hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal at the weekend’s G-20 summit.

President Donald Trump is planning to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Buenos Aires, Argentina gathering on Saturday to discuss what has amounted to an ever-escalating trade war between the two nations. Next Friday, a Labor Department report on U.S. job creation will bookend what Cramer expects to be an “exciting” week for stocks.

“Between Trump’s meeting with President Xi over the weekend and the employment number on Friday, there’s a whole lot going on next week. Let’s just hope it’s not too exciting,” the “Mad Money” host said.

With Saturday’s market-defining meeting in mind, Cramer turned to his game plan for the week ahead:

Monday: Coupa Software

Spending-focused cloud player Coupa Software reports earnings on Monday. The Federal Reserve’s slight step back from its initial plans for raising interest rates created a better environment for growth stocks like Coupa’s, Cramer said.

“Speaking of the Fed, I sure wish they’d start thinking not just about the raw data interpretation, but also about outfits like Coupa, which save companies a fortune … by cutting back on people — the most expensive part of a business — and allowing them to rely on software to handle procurement,” he said.

“That means all of these cloud-based enterprise software companies are inherently deflationary,” Cramer continued. “So [Fed Chair Jerome] Powell might want to listen in on Coupa’s conference call, which, by the way, I expect to be a good one.”

Tuesday: Dollar General, Autozone, HD Supply, Toll Brothers

Dollar General: Cramer expected a strong earnings report from Dollar General, which will issue its quarterly results Tuesday morning.

“The best-performing portions of retail this week were the bargain basement operations: Ollie’s, TJX and Burlington Stores. Dollar General fits that bill,” he said. “I see an upside surprise coming.”

Autozone: Auto parts retailer Autozone will also report earnings. Cramer is a fan of the company’s share buyback program, which he said was as good a reason as any to buy Autozone’s stock after its report.

“Even if the company delivers slightly off numbers, just a little bit of slippage, it’s usually a great buying opportunity,” he said. “These days, people are keeping their cars longer and longer, which means they need more maintenance and spare parts, a real boon to all of these … auto parts companies.”

HD Supply: HD Supply’s earnings will give Cramer a sense of how small businesses are faring in this country because the company provides industrial services to roughly 500,000 smaller-scale professional customers.

“It’s all part of the pastiche that I like to put together to take the temperature of the economy in real time,” he said.

Toll Brothers: Homebuilder Toll Brothers will add to that pastiche. Cramer expected the company’s earnings report to “tell a tale of both strength and weakness.”

“Remember, I’m not saying the economy overall is weak, I’m saying it’s weaker than it’s been, and one of the reasons is the slowing housing market,” he explained. “I bet Toll confirms my view, particularly on the coasts.”

Wednesday: Lululemon Athletica, Five Below

Two Cramer-fave retailers, Lululemon and Five Below, will report earnings on Wednesday. The stocks of both companies have been struggling of late, Lululemon’s “in sync with … the rebellion against high-priced apparel” and Five Below’s on worries about trade with China, Cramer said.

“I think both sell-offs are overblown at this point,” he argued. “However, I’m mindful of how hard it is to own retailers right now, [now] that people think the economy’s shifting to a lower gear.”

Thursday: Kroger, Broadcom

Kroger: The largest U.S. supermarket chain will also issue its quarterly results. The “Mad Money” host harbored concerns about the company’s slew of formidable competitors.

“While I think, certainly, that Kroger can spin a good yarn about remodeled stores, that merely makes it an OK house in a very bad neighborhood,” he said. “I’m going to have to say no, thank you.”

Broadcom: After Wednesday’s closing bell, investors will get results from chipmaker Broadcom. Cramer said there was a lot to be learned from the company’s conference call.

“I want to know about its quizzical acquisition … of a software company called CA that works with mainframes, not to mention the exposure to China, 5G and Apple, although the latter is not to be named,” he said. “At most, you make some cryptic reference, say, [to] a major customer. Still, there’s a lot to learn from Broadcom.”

Friday: Non-farm payrolls

On Friday, Cramer will be eyeing the U.S. Labor Department’s non-farm payroll report, which measures job creation and is a key indicator for the Fed when it comes to raising interest rates.

“I think it will give us our last strong set of employment numbers — because I think it’s tailing off — giving the Fed [the] justification … that it needs for one more tightening, December tightening, before it waits to see how its rate hikes have impacted the economy,” Cramer said. “Now that Powell has chosen prudence over dogma, there’s a good chance this once red-hot economy can get the soft landing that it so sorely deserves.”

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Government looks to super funds to back $2 billion small business plan

Superannuation funds will be courted to participate in the federal government’s $2 billion push to increase funding for small business.

The government’s two part policy announced on Wednesday features a potential $2 billion investment in a  securitisation fund to help small businesses access debt finance outside the big banks and the “encouragement” of the establishment of a growth fund to provide longer term equity funding.

Mr Frydenberg told Fairfax Media on Friday there was a clear need for the funds “with the big banks responsible for more than 80 per cent of small business loans that are less than $2 million, there are few alternative funding routes.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the two funds on Wednesday.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the two funds on Wednesday. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Securitisation fund

The securitisation fund will operate through the government buying bonds that are drawn from a pool of small business loans and providing cheaper funding to smaller banks and non-bank lenders through new or existing warehouse facilities.

The government will receive interest from these loans on a monthly basis which is where it will make its money and a well placed source said the government hopes superannuation funds will also participate in a similar way.

Ultimately the source said the government envisages it will not have to keep investing as the market matures which could take around three to five years.

Looking to superannuation funds

Joseph Healy, is the co-founder of SME lender Judo Capital, which is likely to benefit from the fund and said if the government is willing to invest money through the fund, superannuation funds may be willing to invest as well.

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“Being able to invest into the securitisation fund and access a pools of funds rather than individual funds is a much better way for SMEs to access the superannuation market,” he said.

Eva Scheerlinck, chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, said new investment opportunities are always welcome but it’s too early to say what the response will be from super funds.

“Super funds have a fiduciary duty to their members to ensure that every investment made is the right one for their portfolio and the investment outlook,” she said.

“At the end of the day, the assets that trustees invest in still have to be of investment grade and assessed against a rigorous criteria to ensure members get the best outcomes.”

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees chief executive Eva Scheerlinck.
Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees chief executive Eva Scheerlinck.Credit:Steven Pam

Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell helped develop the policy and said the securitisation fund would encourage smaller banks and non bank lenders to lend to small businesses.

“For second tier banks the cost of lending is a mix of risk and cost of capital,” she said. “Why don’t they lend now?  The cost of capital is high and the dilemma of lending to small business or SMEs is that the risk is higher. By bringing down the cost of capital you can make the business case for some of these lenders to focus on small business.”

Small businesses having trouble securing finance

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Small businesses having trouble securing finance

Small businesses are being promised easier access to finance through a new $2 billion fund to be unveiled by the Morrison Government.

Growth fund

The second part of the government’s policy is to promote the establishment of a growth fund.

The government is consulting with the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and the banks over how the fund would work.

The fund would provide passive equity investment to small businesses to enable them to grow without taking on additional debt or giving up control of their business and is likely to be modelled on similar funds in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Since its establishment in 2011, the United Kingdom’s business growth fund has invested some $2.7 billion in a range of sectors across the economy.

Unlike a traditional private equity investment or a ‘Shark Tank’ style investment, businesses would not have to give up control or offer a board seat.

A similar fund doesn’t exist in Australia in part because the amount of capital APRA requires banks to hold for these investments makes it unprofitable for the banks however this treatment is under review.

The government’s role will be limited to setting up the rules around the funds operation and ensuring reporting and auditing.

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