There are a lot of things that can drive a stock higher, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday, but there's only one thing that produced massive, multi-year gains. That thing is sustained, revolutionary innovation, the kind that Apple (AAPL - Get Report) delivered on Wednesday.
After 40 years of picking stocks, Cramer admitted that most days are pretty mundane. But yesterday was not one of those days, as Apple introduced not only new iPhones, but also the 4th generation Apple Watch, which includes the first FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) and heart monitoring system to appear on a watch.
Cramer called the new Apple Watch a breakthrough, something older folks, and their cardiologists, will be clamoring for. Not only can the device monitor your heart health and alert you to problems, but its cellular connectivity and GPS tracking make it perfect for getting assistance in an emergency.
In decades past, we saw this type of rampant innovation from semiconductors and drug companies, Cramer said, but lately those sectors have stalled, only delivering iterative upgrades and very few true breakthroughs. With the exception of Google's (GOOGL - Get Report) Waymo self-driving cars, investors today will find innovation of this velocity hard to find outside of what Apple delivers year after year.
Cramer and the AAP team are making a few changes to the bullpen, including Micron Technology (MU - Get Report) and Cisco Systems (CSCO - Get Report) . Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
Executive Decision: AeroVironment
In his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Wahid Nawabi, president and CEO of unmanned aircraft maker AeroVironment (AVAV - Get Report) , a stock that's more than doubled since Cramer last checked in with the company back in October. AeroVironment recently posted a monster 56-cents-a-share earnings beat on revenues that rose 127% from a year ago.
Nawabi said that AeroVironment is the only pure play on unmanned aerial system, combining robotics, software, sensors and connectivity solutions for military and commercial applications. One of the company's newest drones can be launched from a submerged submarine, providing a virtually undetectable eye in the sky that is superior to the traditional periscope.
When asked about their divestiture of electric vehicle charging systems, Nawabi said that while EV charging was a great business, they felt AeroVironment would be best served by focusing on their highest growth opportunities. The company's aerial products are unrivaled, he said, and that is where they need to be focusing.
AeroVironment has also partnered with SoftBank to explore the possibilities of high-altitude, solar-powered aircraft that can provide next generation 5G wireless coverage. The company is the current world record holder for solar-powered aircraft that have flown to 96,000 feet in the stratosphere.
AeroVironment's products are also used in commercial applications such as agriculture and search and rescue for natural disasters like fires and hurricanes.
Over on Real Money, Cramer asks if the new low-level trade negotiations with China are yielding results. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Railroads Riding Economic Optimism
The railroads are getting the credit they deserve now that Wall Street has stopped fretting so much over trade wars, Cramer told viewers. In fact, since the end of June, all four major rails -- Union Pacific (UNP - Get Report) , CSX (CSX - Get Report) , Norfolk Southern (NSC - Get Report) and Kansas City Southern (KSU - Get Report) -- are up between 10% and 17%.
Cramer said while each of these companies has their own story, there are some generalizations that can be made. The most important of these is the realization that a strong U.S. economy can trump trade wars and tariffs. While all of the rails were initially hit by trade fears, a combination of higher shipping rates, strong ecommerce growth and a pickup in domestic oil production has let Wall Street see just how strong things can be, even with a downtick in global trade.
Off the Tape: Barstool Sports
In his "Off The Tape" segment, Cramer again sat down with Dave Portnoy, founder, and Erika Nardini, CEO, of the privately-held Barstool Sports, the growing sports media empire.
Portnoy explained that Barstool simply talks about things that people like and it does so in innovative ways that can deliver something different and entertaining. Nardini added that Barstool now has the No. 1 show on Snapchat (SNAP - Get Report) and also on Facebook's (FB - Get Report) Instagram.
In addition to sports, Barstool has expanded into food with their One Bite mobile app that now includes over 100,000 entertaining restaurants reviews. The service began as a project of Portnoy, who has personally reviewed over 400 pizza restaurants in Manhattan.
Cramer commended the pair for doing what they love while making a lot of money doing it.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer pleaded to the financial world to stop making sports analogies when talking about the stock market. While guilty of the occasional reference himself, Cramer said that stocks are never in the "early innings" or near "the fourth quarter." The stock market goes on, he said, it just keeps evolving and changing.
When people come on TV or write about the market rally being in the seventh inning, how is that helpful, Cramer asked? What if the trade war gets resolved? What if it gets worse? Are we then back in the second inning? The ninth?
These references just aren't helpful, and those who are wrong are never called out for keeping people from investing in great long-term stories. These analogies have only caused people to miss out on massive gains, Cramer concluded, and everyone should stop making them.
Cramer was bearish on Gilead Sciences (GILD - Get Report) , Encore Capital Group (ECPG - Get Report) , Tower Semiconductor (TSEM - Get Report) , Manitowoc (MTW - Get Report) , Camping World (CWH - Get Report) , Weatherford International (WFT - Get Report) , Uniti Group (UNIT , Kinder Morgan (KMI - Get Report) and General Electric (GE - Get Report) .
Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener.
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.