Cramer explains the odd action in Starbucks and Activision Blizzard


When the stock market acts unexpectedly, CNBC’s Jim Cramer says you just have to roll with the punches, like investors did with the stocks of Activision Blizzard and Starbucks on Friday.

Both companies reported their quarterly earnings after Thursday’s bell. Activision Blizzard, the video game giant behind “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush,” beat analyst estimates and raised its full-year guidance. Shares popped in early-hours trading on the better-than-expected results.

Meanwhile, shares of Starbucks shed more than 3 percent after the coffeemaker reported a revenue miss, slowing domestic same-store sales and slashed long-term guidance.

“But when the market opened this morning, Activision Blizzard’s stock collapsed while Starbucks’ stock soared,” the “Mad Money” host said. “How the heck is that even possible? Well, you see, it’s all in the expectations.”

When a company’s earnings results are lower than Wall Street’s expectations, its stock typically declines. When they are higher than what the Street expects, the company’s stock tends to rally.

In Starbucks’ case, most of its larger shareholders saw the growth rate cut as “a given,” Cramer said. Smaller investors who weren’t expecting the guidedown sold the stock on Thursday, but buyers who expected it bought into Starbucks on Friday morning, erasing its losses.

The stock soared further after Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson’s interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” in which he talked about the company’s 20 percent dividend increase, share buyback program, mobile pay improvements and accelerating growth in China.

Activision Blizzard’s management, on the other hand, made the mistake of talking about holiday sales competition on its post-earnings conference call, the “Mad Money” host said.

News of the company’s expanding esports business and professional Overwatch league fell on deaf ears.

“What’s ironic here is that I think that Activision Blizzard should be bought and bought aggressively, which is something we told members of the club many times today,” the “Mad Money” host said. “But you know what? I would not chase the stock of Starbucks here unless we knew for sure that the guidance they gave, the new guidance, wasn’t too optimistic.”

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