Cramer adds new stocks, recommends buying 12 laggards in his Covid-19 index

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday reviewed and made changes to his pandemic playbook to bring more diversification to his coronavirus index.

The Cramer Covid-19 Index, a basket of 100 stocks he determined can work in a coronavirus-plagued market, has outgained the major indexes since Cramer last updated the stock catalog.

“When you look at the biggest winners in the index, they’re overwhelmingly tech companies that help facilitate the stay-at-home economy, and a lot of these got hit today,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Cramer dropped two health-based stocks and one packaged foods company to make room for two cloud-based names and one gold business. VMware, Fastly and Newmont Mining were substituted for Baxter International, GlaxoSmithKline and Kellogg.

Baxter, a medical supplies company, was removed because of its high exposure to voluntary surgeries delayed by the impact of the health crisis on hospitals. GlaxoSmithKline, a drug company that’s working on a Covid-19 vaccine, was taken off because the stock is “not enticing many investors,” Cramer said. Kellogg, the cereal producing giant, was axed because the stock is lagging and the Cramer index already contains seven other similar plays.

As for the new additions, Cramer added VMware, one of his cloud king stocks, because the stock is “cheap on an earnings basis” and the prospect that the company could be spun off from Dell. Fastly, a cloud content delivery network whose stock price has increased sevenfold since bottoming in March, is one that in hindsight Cramer wishes he included when he created the index in April. Newmont is a gold company that can provide investors “more insurance against economic chaos” as the country continues to deal with fallout from the coronavirus crisis, he said.

The biggest winners on Crammer’s list – Zoom Video, Spotify, Zscaler, DocuSign, Etsy, The Trade Desk, Livongo Health, Square, Peloton and Cloudflare – are among the top plays in the stay-at-home economy.

“As the pandemic flares up again, get ready after the industrial rotation ends. It’s time to circle back to the blue-chip Covid stocks that are still way off their highs. That’s what offers the best risk-reward,” he said. “I love a rotation. They throw out the good, they buy the bad and then they change their mind two days later.”

Cramer last updated his coronavirus playbook in late May when investors were growing more convinced that the economy was headed for a V-shape recovery as states eased lockdown orders. The host said then, however, that it was “too soon to give up on the recession stocks” as he showed 10 stocks the exit and brought 10 others onto his stock index that was designed to outperform the market through the pandemic.

“Since we adjusted the index a little over a month ago, it’s rallied 6.4%. Meanwhile, the Dow [is] up 4.6%; S&P‘s only up 3.3%. Nasdaq Composite and NASDAQ 100, though, have both rallied 5.8%,” Cramer said. “Russell 2000 small-cap index has also underperformed of late, although got some good mojo today — gained 4.8% over the same period — but only after that big rally today, which is exactly what you’d expect with the pandemic once again spiraling out of control.”

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