Jim Cramer on Wall Street’s relation to George Floyd protests: ‘The market has no conscience’

Wall Street rallied after a weekend chock full of protests across the U.S. because the market is blind to social justice, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Monday.

“At the end of the day, the market has no conscience. Investors are simply trying to make money, and that’s why they’re crowding into the stay-at-home economy stocks,” the “Mad Money” host said, “because the stay-at-home economy just got a major extension for many investors [and] right or wrong, thoughtless or cerebral, it’s worth exploiting.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up almost 92 points, or 0.36%, to close the session at 25,475.02. The S&P 500 rose 0.38% to 3,055.73, and the Nasdaq Composite moved 0.66% to 9,552.05.

Thousands of people in America and countless others abroad have spent days on end protesting — most of them peacefully — racism and police brutality in the wake of the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. 

When it comes to the market, investors have their own beliefs and cast judgments on current events, but the market generally doesn’t react to social justice — if the demonstrations don’t impact the corporation’s bottom line, said Cramer, who voiced his support for peaceful protesters.

“Until very recently, nobody was investing with an eye toward making the world a better place — whatever that might mean,” he said. “While there’s now a younger generation that invests with their hearts as well as their heads — and I share a lot of that sentiment — for the most part, people still pick stocks because they’re trying to make money.”

He is worried, however, how the mass demonstrations nationwide could impact public health as the country continues to grapple with both the coronavirus pandemic and tough economic conditions. While protesters have good reason to take to the streets, their congregation in close spaces could lead to another spike in Covid-19 infections, leading to another reason for employers to delay calling employees back into the office, Cramer said.

“That’s why I’m concerned that we’re going to get a huge second wave of infections, far earlier than people thought,” he said. “Plus, in the places where protests turned violent, it gives businesses another reason to shut down or keep their employees working remotely. From this stock market’s perspective, everything that happened this weekend means the stay-at-home economy will last longer than we thought.”

Given those factors, the former hedge-fund manager recommended that investors keep investing into the stay-at-home plays. His suggestions came after Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer earlier that day became the latest governor to lift a state’s stay-home order as the country gradually reopens the economy.

Cramer recommended Zoom Video, despite the stock’s nearly 14% run on Monday. The household video software name is set to report quarterly earnings after Tuesday’s close.

“Zoom’s running today because there’s a decent chance it might go higher after it reports. During my 40 years of investing, you rarely get situations like this,” he said. “Buy high and sell higher is a bad strategy, people, but in this crazy market, anything can happen.”

As employees continue to work from home and use products such as Zoom, cybersecurity will continue to be in high demand as companies look to protect their networks, he added.

“As long as there’s a huge level of enthusiasm for stocks like Zscaler, Okta, … Fortinet, Proofpoint [and] Crowdstrike, which reports after the close tomorrow, the averages can keep climbing,” he said. “These cybersecurity plays were practically made for this moment.”

Amazon, Facebook, DraftKings and DocuSign are the other stay-at-home winners, he said.

“Put it all together, and it’s not that the market is totally heartless, although it certainly has no heart,” Cramer said. “It’s that buyers are oblivious to the risk of purchasing stocks that have run and run and run some more.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Amazon and Facebook.


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