4. Shareholder capital return. Tractor Supply offers a small dividend and a buyback while Liquidators is reinvesting every penny it makes. In this case, that's OK, said Cramer, but for this scale it's three points to Tractor and zero for Liquidators.
5. International. Neither company has any plans for international expansion, but either could if they wanted. Five points each.
6. Balance sheet strength. Cramer said both stocks offer very strong balance sheets. Nine points and 10 points, as Liquidators has no debt.
7. Out-year valuation. Both stocks trade at deep discounts to their earnings potential in a few years, with Liquidators a little more so. Eight points and 10 points, respectively.8. Management. Again, strong executives at both companies, but a little more tenure at Liquidators. Eight points to nine. 9. Cyclical? Cramer said Liquidators is more beholden to the housing market, giving Tractor Supply the win with eight points to six. 10. Gross margins. A strong finish for both companies, but with Liquidators edging a win once again. Eight points for Tractor Supply to 10 for Liquidators. Add up all the scores and Cramer said both companies are terrific, but Lumber Liquidators edged out Tractor Supply 78 to 73, making it the more compelling name.
Who's Better?Some managements simply do a better job than others, Cramer said. To show the perfect example of how much execution matters to a company's bottom line he compared Polaris Industries (PII) to Arctic Cat (ACAT), two makers of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and accessories there were both up big on the year going into earnings season. Polaris was able to post a three-cents-a-share earnings beat on a stellar 25% rise in revenue, while Arctic Cat posted one of the worst quarters seen anywhere, a 26-cents-a-share earnings miss on lower-than-expected revenue that sent shares plunging 15%. Looking into the results, Cramer said it was easy to see how Polaris was just eating Cat's lunch. While Polaris saw strength in every segment, Cat saw declines in parts, accessories and garments. Those areas that saw growth did so only with heavy promotional activity. Polaris saw gross margins expanding while Cat's were shrinking. Furthermore, Polaris management called out Europe as a bright spot for the quarter, but Arctic Cat saw a "challenging" European environment. Given that Polaris trades at 20 times earnings with a 16% growth rate, compared to Arctic Cat at 14 times earnings with a 20% growth rate, investors may be tempted to think Arctic Cat is the better value. But Cramer said after reviewing the quarters, it's clear to see Polaris deserves its higher multiple as the company's management is hitting it out of the park.
Lightning RoundIn the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Rite Aid (RAD), Google (GOOG), Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Paychex (PAYX). Cramer was bearish on Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX) and Yandex (YNDX).
Executive Decision: Debra CafaroIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Debra Cafaro, chairman and CEO of Ventas (VTR), the senior living real estate investment trust that's now yielding 4% thanks to an 18-point drop in its shares since May. Ventas just posted an earnings beat of 2 cents a share on an 11.5% rise in revenue. Cafaro said Ventas aims to be a stable and consistent earner for its shareholders and has been delivering on that goal. She said the company just purchased another $1.3 billion worth of assets, borrowing for as little as 3% for the next 12.5 years. When asked whether Ventas deserves to trade on the whims of the Affordable Care Act, Cafaro noted that 84% of Ventas' tenants are private payers of their services, making them largely unaffected by Obamacare. Additionally, she said what matters most is America's demographic trends, all of which point to years of growth, with a high demand for senior living services and medical office buildings. Cramer called Ventas the best performer in its class.
No Huddle OffenseIn his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said there's a new swing factor in company's earnings reports and it's called Europe. Cramer explained that after getting hit big by a faltering Europe that accounted for a big chunk of their earnings, many industrial and tech companies have learned their lessons and have aggressively cut costs and right-sized their operations. With expectations now set very low, he said these companies' earnings could pop big and the time to buy in is now, ahead of the strength that's expected in 2014. To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here. -- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDC
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