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Sometimes following the short-sellers will give you the biggest gains, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. That's because when the shorts get it wrong, panicked buying creates breath-taking gains.
What does a short-squeeze look like? How about Alphabet(GOOGL) - Get Report and Amazon.com(AMZN) - Get Report , which soared 9.4% and 10.8%, respectively, Amazon on an actual profitable quarter. The shorts clearly didn't see that one coming.
But it's not just these high-profile stocks that stumped the short-sellers. They assumed, incorrectly, that the banks needed higher interest rates to make money. They assumed the industrials wouldn't survive without China. And they assumed that consumer staple companies would remain lackluster. Enter JPMorgan Chase(JPM) - Get Report , General Electric(GE) - Get Report and Kimberly-Clark(KMB) - Get Report to prove them wrong.
All of these surprises have turned the market on its head, Cramer concluded, and that's how big gains like we saw today come into being.
Executive Decision: Nick Pinchuk
Pinchuk said that innovation continues to drive the business because Snap-on constantly invents tools to make mechanics' jobs easier. When cars change, the tools needed to repair them change, too, he said, and that's what keeps Snap-on in business.
Pinchuk highlighted diagnostic tools as one such innovation. He said the new wireless technology pairs real-time engine data and literally thousands of error codes with a proprietary database of recommended solutions from other Snap-on users.
Snap-on also continues to diversify its business. That's why even with military and oil and gas spending down, the company can still deliver growth in other areas, such as big trucks and general industry.
Cramer’s Lovin’ McDonald’s
When it comes to the turnaround in at McDonald's(MCD) - Get Report , Cramer said "count me in." The most remarkable thing about what's happening at McDonald's, he said, is that it's only just beginning.
Sure, the company posted a huge upside surprise today, sending shares surging 8.1%, but more important than a simpler menu and all-day breakfast is what comes next. Now that the company has the buy-in of the vast majority of its franchisees, expects lots more quick changes coming soon.
Cramer said McDonald's new CEO wasted little time getting to work. With additional time and investments in new technology, McDonald's could be seeing mobile ordering and other options to eliminate that inevitably long drive-thru line.
McDonald's was even strong in China, Cramer noted, another sign that with a little hard work, this once-great American franchise can be saved.
Executive Decision: T.J. Rodgers
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with T.J. Rodgers, president and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor(CY) - Get Report , which today posted a 1 cent-a-share earnings miss, but still saw its shares rise 3.2% on the news.
Rodgers said he still feels Cypress' stock is grossly undervalued by the markets, which is why the company continues to aggressively buy back its shares. He said the Cypress story is not getting out to the markets and he's working hard to make sure people better understand what the company is doing.
Turning to the red-hot Internet of things, Rodgers said Cypress has the best chips in the world for connecting devices to the Internet and that market only continues to grow. He also commented of the merger with Spansion, saying that the combined entity is seeing all of the benefits they had hoped for.
Cramer continued his recommendation of Cypress, saying with the company buying back so much of itself, shares can't help but move higher.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Waste Management(WM) - Get Report , Dow Chemical(DOW) - Get Report , Cheniere Energy(LNG) - Get Report , Chevron(CVX) - Get Report and AT&T(T) - Get Report .
Executive Decision: Nick Akins
In a third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Nick Akins, chairman, president and CEO of American Electric Power(AEP) - Get Report , the utility that just posted a 5 cents-a-share earnings beat. Shares of American Electric Power are down 2.5% for the year, yielding 3.6%.
Akins said that despite a downturn in oil and gas production, electric load in the regions the company serves are still growing at 10%. Outside of oil and gas, he said other industries like leisure and manufacturing are also on the rise.
When asked about the transition away from coal-fired generation, Akins said the economics dictate that older coal plants get retired and capital gets invested elsewhere, primarily to natural gas for base-load generation.
That said, Akins also noted that our country still needs more natural gas infrastructure to get our gas where the power plants need to be built.
Cramer said he likes consistent utilities and American Electric remains among his favorites.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in DOW and GOOGL.