Cramer Remix: Johnson & Johnson has to stop dropping for the market to head higher

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Four things need to occur for the stock market to break out of its downtrend, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said as stocks plunged in Monday’s trading session on worries about an expected interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

“Now that pretty much everything’s in bear market territory, maybe in a bear market, what’s the formula for getting out of it?” he said on “Mad Money,” adding that “this is the most treacherous market” he’s witnessed “since the financial crisis.”

The recovery has to start with the Fed, Cramer said. He reiterated that its chairman, Jerome Powell, should end the central bank’s pivotal meeting this week with a declaration that the Fed will be more data-dependent as it considers future rate hikes.

The second leg of the market’s potential recovery could come from improved market sentiment, the longtime investor argued. He said the staggering declines in shares of Johnson & Johnson after a Reuters report claiming that the company knew of asbestos in its baby powder product, while warranted, may have been an overreaction.

“This is genuine bear market behavior,” said Cramer, whose charitable trust owns shares of the pharmaceutical company. “It needs to stop going down before we can get a sustained rebound in the averages.”

Click here for the rest of the potential catalysts.

Johnson & Johnson’s Chairman and CEO, Alex Gorsky, on Monday defended his company against reports claiming that it knew for decades about the presence of asbestos in its baby powder product.

“We unequivocally believe that our talc, our baby powder, does not contain asbestos,” Gorsky told CNBC in an interview with Cramer. “And that’s demonstrated in thousands of studies, studies not only conducted by J&J, but studies conducted by independent authorities, well-respected authorities, where we work closely with regulators who are overlooking the methodology.”

“By the way, throughout this process, we also not only use the best testing methodologies that are available, but we continue to improve them through the years,” the CEO continued.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson plunged 10 percent on Friday in the stock’s worst trading day in 15 years. They lost another 2 percent Monday, totaling roughly $50 billion in market value losses for the pharmaceutical giant.

The Reuters report, which said that Johnson & Johnson executives and others were aware from the 1970s to the 2000s that the company’s talc materials sometimes tested positive for asbestos, was matched by the New York Times.

Click here to watch his full interview and read more.

Consumer products giant Nestle’s $7.15 billion deal for the rights to sell Starbucks products at its international locations will greatly benefit both massive companies, Nestle CEO Mark Schneider told Cramer in a joint interview with Starbucks chief Kevin Johnson.

“I think this really plays to the strengths of both companies,” Schneider said. “It allows Starbucks to focus on this thriving coffee shop business and international expansion opportunities, and then Starbucks partners with us for what we do best, and that is consumer packaged goods.”

The CEOs told Cramer they were surprised by how well their teams worked together, which has enabled them to expedite the integration process and make the partnership profitable early on. Johnson attributed that in part to the values shared between Starbucks and Nestle, parent to top coffee brands Nespresso and Nescafe.

“Sustainability is one of the three social impact pillars that we have, and, as Mark said, this is something we share in common,” Johnson said. “Embracing the pursuit of doing good is a part of the Starbucks brand, and it’s woven into who we are, into our mission and values, and, candidly, it’s part of why customers want to do business with us.”

Click here to watch their full interview.

Cramer also addressed DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach’s Monday comments on CNBC’s “Halftime Report,” in which the well-known investor said that passive investing “has reached mania status.”

The “Mad Money” host said he disagreed, noting that the strategy, which involves investing in index funds and other relatively stable entities that grow in value over time, has worked for him.

“As much as I fret about the stock market, … I’m still making regular contributions to my index funds for my retirement account,” Cramer said. “The truth is, even though we are in an ugly situation, stocks have been one of the greatest engines of wealth creation of all time and we can’t afford to lose sight of that, even when it’s so treacherous.”

And while it might take a lot for stocks to bottom, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to sell everything, he argued.

“I think it’s worth sitting tight on your index funds here, because someday, we will bottom, and you don’t want to feel like an idiot for dumping all of your stock exposure right into the teeth of this oversold decline,” Cramer said.

In Cramer’s lightning round, he flew through his responses to callers’ stock questions:

General Mills Inc.: “I cannot believe General Mills is where it is. I cannot believe it has fallen to 5 percent yield. I cannot believe that it’s this cheap. But I’ve got to tell you something: I have no catalyst. So all I can do is just tell you to buy the stock and wait until they turn it around, which is not something you want to hear. [The] 5 percent yield should protect the stock here. It’s down 40 percent. This is the stock of General Mills, for heaven’s sake. What an awful market.”

Fluor Corp.: “It is at a 52-week low. The engineering and construction stocks have gone out of favor. I don’t want you to sell it here. It’s too low. It’s a good company, it’s well-run and you never know when you’re going to get a pop.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Johnson & Johnson.

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