Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The nerds have taken over the markets, Jim Cramer said on Mad Money Thursday. Yes, those uncool companies that were all but left for dead last quarter are now back in charge and are leading the markets higher.
Most notably, Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, is back in the saddle, proving the skeptics wrong as growth returned, sales in China were on fire and shareholders are being rewarded with a big buyback and a 7:1 stock split. Two other tech "nerds," Lam Research (LRCX) - Get Lam Research Corporation (LRCX) Report and Texas Instruments (TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report, also surprised Wall Street, ending the day sharply higher.
In the biotech space, AstraZenca (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report and Zimmer Holdings (ZMH) were standouts while the "uncool" stocks of McDonald's (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report and Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) - Get Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Report also both sprang to life without warning.
Cramer called out DR Horton (DHI) - Get D.R. Horton, Inc. Report, Timken (TKR) - Get Timken Company Report another Action Alerts PLUS holding, and Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report as three more examples of stocks that are suddenly back in fashion.
About the only thing wilder than this quarter's earnings have been the market's reaction to them, Cramer told viewers as he highlighted a few stocks that have seen wild trading this earnings season.
Cramer said Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report was one such stock that saw a strong open, only to sell off later in the day. While Facebook delivered strong earnings, it also tempered expectations, Cramer said -- and in today's market investors expect it all. He remains bullish on Facebook, an AAP holding, as the stock is cheap against 2015 and 2016 earnings.
Another standout, American Airlines (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report, a company that blew away the estimates, even with horrible winter weather. Imagine what the company can do in good weather, Cramer posited.
Cramer said he's also not giving up on two other Action Alerts PLUS names, Xilinx (XLNX) - Get Xilinx, Inc. (XLNX) Report and Celgene (CELG) - Get Celgene Corporation Report, both of which were down sharply in the day's session as investors were looking for perfection but didn't get everything on their wish lists.
Executive Decision: Martin Anstice
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer dove into the amazing quarter posted by Lam Research by speaking to Martin Anstice, the company's president and CEO. Lam just posted an eight-cents-a-share earnings beat on record revenue and offering analysts bullish guidance to boot, sending shares up over 11.5%.
Anstice said he's very pleased with the results just posted because they stem from three years of hard work and planning. He said Lam's goal has been to outperform the industry and that's what it is now able to do.
When asked how the company achieves its success, Anstice explained that in order to take share in their business a company must integrate both hardware and software to deliver solutions that are far better than everyone else. We all want cheaper products with better performance and better battery life, he continued, and that comes from better chips for both memory and logic. Lam offers the equipment and solutions to make that happen.
Cramer said even with the huge move in Lam shares today, he still feels the stock is far too cheap.
Executive Decision: Frank Slootman
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with Frank Slootman, president and CEO of ServiceNow (NOW) - Get ServiceNow, Inc. Report, the cloud-based software-as-a-service provider that just posted an eight-cents-a-share loss on better than expected revenue that were up 64% year over year. That news sent shares down over 6%. ServiceNow is also an Action Alerts PLUS holding.
Slootman explained that ServiceNow provides enterprises with modern service management systems that replace legacy systems that are often 10 to 15 years old. He said every IT department has a need for the types of systems that ServiceNow offers.
When asked about the poor investor reaction to its earnings, Slootman said that when the company had its IPO two years ago it laid out a plan to build a multibillion-dollar company, which is why it remains focused on top-line growth and not bottom-line earnings. He said in the end the share price will "work itself out" over time.
Finally, when asked how ServiceNow fits in with other cloud providers like Workday (WDAY) - Get Workday, Inc. (WDAY) Report, Slootman explained Workday and its HR platforms work well with ServiceNow's offerings and the two have lots of good synergies.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on United Rentals (URI) - Get United Rentals, Inc. Report, Valero Energy (VLO) - Get Valero Energy Corporation Report, HollyFrontier (HFC) - Get HollyFrontier Corporation (HFC) Report and Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) .
Executive Decision: Rick Hamada
For his third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Rick Hamada, CEO of Avnet (AVT) - Get Avnet, Inc. Report, which today disappointed Wall Street with a five-cents-a-share earnings miss that sent shares down by 6.7%.
Hamada explained that while sales were on track in Europe and Asia, Avnet did see a shortfall late in the quarter in U.S. and North America. He said its full-year guidance remains on track however and in line with seasonal trends.
When asked whether investors can trust those estimates after a rare inconsistent quarter, Hamada said that companies are still looking to expand their data centers and still need servers and storage. Projects that were delayed this quarter will likely come in next quarter, he continued.
Cramer held back from recommending Avnet, saying instead that he's still scratching his head as to exactly what went wrong for the company.
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
At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had positions in AAPL, CELG, FB, NOW, TKR and XLNX.