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Cramer: These stocks would get biggest boost if US, China near a trade deal

CNBC logo CNBC 12/12/2018 Elizabeth Gurdus
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Several key market sectors would get a boost if trade talks between the United States and China proceed without a hitch, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday as stocks rallied on renewed hope for a deal between the countries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 458 points intraday after a Wall Street Journal report said China was working to foster better access to foreign companies in an effort to improve relations with the United States. All of the major averages closed modestly higher, but well off their midday highs.

"Why did almost every stock fly up on the news today, even though they gave up some of the gains in the afternoon? Because without a trade war, our whole stock market is actually worth more, hence why so many buyers went for the S&P 500 ," Cramer explained. "This is a market where everything goes up on one day, and then tomorrow, we're going to get more selective."

The "Mad Money" host expected a couple of stock groups to benefit from improved trade talks on Thursday, beginning with the technology space.

In recent months, any downturn in trade talks led to Wall Street turning negative on the tech cohort as investors grew concerned about the prospects for the underlying companies, many of which do a good deal of business in China.

But "barring any contradictory riposte from either government," companies that make the equipment that produces semiconductor chips, namely Lam Research and Applied Materials, "could get a boost" on Thursday, Cramer said. Faster-growing chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices, Broadcom and Xilinx could also trade higher, he noted.

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U.S. retailers have also found themselves in the crosshairs of the trade dispute. Many retail companies source at least some of their products and materials in China, so as disagreements between the two countries flared, some began to move their manufacturing operations out of China.

"I like the prospects of the companies that are frantically trying to move away from Chinese suppliers, even as it's causing some quality issues along the way," Cramer said, highlighting furniture maker RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware.

"The dollar stores source a lot of cheap merchandise from China. They work, too," the "Mad Money" host continued, naming Dollar Tree and Dollar General. "Same goes for the department stores that have a decent percentage of Chinese goods, like Kohl's."

And if China's government is being truthful in its intentions to pave the way for foreign companies to access its markets, then shares of credit card giants Visa, Mastercard and American Express could rise "on the possibility that they might be able to do business" there, Cramer said.

"The bottom line? The market deserved to roar today off the Chinese news, even if their government may not be trustworthy," he concluded. "But if the Chinese do blink on trade, ... we enter a positive, more benign atmosphere where traders don't mind owning stocks after 4 p.m."

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Kohl's.

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