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The sum of the parts are worth more than the whole, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday, after another down day on Wall Street. How can that be? Cramer said it's because the markets are playing two different tunes.
On one hand, the market believes higher oil prices mean the worldwide economy is getting stronger and is a good thing. But on the other hand, higher oil means the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, perhaps multiple times, and send stocks sharply lower.
There is a sweet spot in the middle, Cramer admitted, although the market hasn't yet sorted out exactly where that middle is. In the meantime, there are a multitude of stocks that are working, no matter what the futures market is indicating.
Cramer remains a fan of Action Alerts PLUS holding Cisco System (CSCO) - Get Report , which delivered a 2-cents earnings beat, and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) - Get Report , which soared 8.5% on the news that rival Sports Authority is shuttering all 450 of its locations.
All of these great stories were drowned out by the market's overall weakness, Cramer concluded, but that doesn't make them any less profitable.
Executive Decision: Julia Stewart
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Julia Stewart, chairman, president and CEO of DineEquity (DIN) - Get Report , purveyors of IHOP and Applebee's, which has seen its shares fall to 52-week lows after reporting an 11-cents-a-share earnings miss on weak revenue.
This week, Applebee's announced the addition of wood-fired grills at all 2,000 of its locations, and Stewart was quick to point out that the new grills affect 40% of the menu, with new great-tasting options for steak, salmon and pork. The chain is now hard at work spreading the word and the staff has been fully trained and is taking pride in the new additions.
On the negative side, Stewart said McDonald's (MCD) - Get Report addition of all-day breakfast did take a bit out of sales at IHOP, but she noted that IHOP has been doing all-day breakfast for 57 years and is far superior than a fast food meal.
Finally, when asked about labor costs, Stewart said most servers already make more than minimum wage, but in the states that are raising their minimum wage the franchisees are responding with slightly higher prices as needed.
Cramer said with the entire restaurant group trading so low, DineEquity should be one to consider.
But that all changed this quarter, Cramer said. The retailer awoke from its slumber and posted impressive results. Walmart saw strength in health and wellness, apparel and seasonal items, as well as a pickup at its Sam's Club stores.
Cramer credited the new surge to CEO Doug McMillon and his decision to raise wages for all associates. Not only did the wage increase help morale, he said, but it also decreased turnover, which is vitally important for any retailer.
Walmart is also innovating with new services such as curbside pickups for online orders. All of which led Cramer to conclude that Walmart is only in the first inning of this turnaround.
Executive Decision: Strauss Zelnick
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) - Get Report , the game maker that delivered a strong 20-cents-a-share earnings beat that sent shares higher by 4.5% by the close.
Zelnick said Take-Two's mission continues to be to meet consumers where they are with great entertainment. He said his company's NBA titles continue to gain more and more momentum as basketball overall gains in popularity. Take-Two now has over 31 million users in China alone.
Take-Two takes basketball seriously, Zelnick continued, and has the largest motion capture studio that has profiled 92% of all players thus far. With over 100,000 animations, Take-Two's NBA games have all the moves, as well as every tattoo and eye color.
When asked about virtual reality, Zelnick said the technology is still not a consumer product and needs both hardware and software to improve. He said Take-Two will certainly consider VR platforms when they're viable, but for now, they remain a "$0 billion industry" at the consumer level.
Am I Diversifed?
In the "Am I Diversified" segment, Cramer spoke with callers and responded to tweets sent via Twitter to @JimCramer to see if investors' portfolios have what it takes for today's markets.
Cramer said this portfolio was "perfect."
The third portfolio had Sterling Bancorp (STL) - Get Report , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report , PPL Corp (PPL) - Get Report , General Electric (GE) - Get Report and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) - Get Report as its top five stocks.
Cramer also blessed this portfolio as diversified.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL, CSCO, GE and WFC.