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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On days like today, when the tide heads out, investors can really see who's swimming and who's just treading water, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. While the markets continued to punish those companies with links to China, Cramer identified six themes that are still working.
The first theme was "FANG," Cramer's acronym for Facebook (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report, a stock which he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report and Google (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report, another core position in Action Alerts PLUS. Cramer said these stars will be shining for a long time to come, as seen by Amazon's amazing 17% rise in today's trading.
Cramer's third trend was apparel and fitness: Think Nike (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. Class B Report, Under Armour (UA) - Get Under Armour, Inc. Class C Report and Fitbit (FIT) - Get Fitbit, Inc. Class A Report, all of which continue to grow as stealth technology companies.
Fourth on the list was cameras and drones, represented by GoPro (GPRO) - Get GoPro, Inc. Class A Report, Ambarella (AMBA) - Get Ambarella, Inc. Report and Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) - Get Skyworks Solutions, Inc. Report. GoPro ended the day up 3.6% while Skyworks rose by 2.8% on a beautiful quarter.
Housing came fifth. Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS) - Get Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. Report popped 6.5% on its earnings, while companies like Whirlpool (WHR) - Get Whirlpool Corporation Report and Owens Corning (OC) - Get Owens Corning Report are also benefiting from rising home prices.
Defense took the last spot on Cramer's list, with stocks like Raytheon (RTN) - Get Raytheon Company Report up 6.4% today. Cramer said the other defense stocks should follow Raytheon's lead as just about every country is beefing up their defenses.
Executive Decision: John Ferriola, President and CEO, Nucor
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with John Ferriola, chairman, president and CEO of Nucor (NUE) - Get Nucor Corporation Report, the steelmaker that just posted a 13-cents-a-share earnings beat, sending shares higher by 3.1%. Shares of Nucor now yield 3.5%.
Ferriola said that one of Nucor's strengths is its diversity. The company touches multiple markets and many of those markets are now getting stronger. He noted that nonresidential construction in the U.S. looks to rise between 5% and 6%, while residential construction is seeing a big jump. Ferriola also noted autos as another bright spot.
Ferriola applauded the latest trade regulations out of Washington, saying they're a great first step in protecting against unfair trade practices and leveling the playing field for steelmakers around the globe.
Finally, Ferriola noted that Nucor continues to have a strong balance sheet and a healthy cash flow, both of which are helping to propel it into the future.
Look Closer at These MLPs
What's behind all the weakness in the oil and gas pipeline master limited partnerships (MLPs). It's certainly not the fundamentals, Cramer explained, but rather the mechanics of the money management business. Or as he calls it, "Hedge funds gone wild."
Cramer admitted that there are a small minority of pipeline MLPs that will suffer from the continued weakness in oil and gas prices and that some pipeline projects will get canceled. But the truth is that the vast majority of these MLPs are doing just fine, and we need all pipelines we can get.
With so many coal-fired power plants slated to close, the demand for natural gas continues to grow. And let's not forget that the U.S. will be exporting nearly 10% of its production in the coming months and years, also adding to demand.
That's why it makes no sense that Williams Partners (WPZ) , which just boosted its distribution by 44%, has shares that are down 11.9% over the past three months. Likewise with Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding that's been knocked down 10.8%, or Markwest Energy (MWE) , which now yields 5.8%.
Hedge funds are clearly behind these moves, Cramer said, and are being forced to liquidate their positions on a daily basis. When will the selling subside? No one knows for sure, but Cramer concluded that a few months from now we'll all be wondering how these stocks got so low.
Executive Decision: Nick Akins, Chairman, President and CEO, American Electric Power
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Nick Akins, chairman, president and CEO of American Electric Power (AEP) - Get American Electric Power Company, Inc. Report, the utility which just posted a seven-cents-a-share earnings beat. Shares of American Electric Power are down 10% from their highs and currently yield 3.9%.
Akins said that the U.S. economy continues to improve, and American Electric Power is seeing improvement in all three of its segments: Residential, commercial and industrial. He also said that his company's dividend will continue to track its earnings improvements.
Akins said coal will remain a part of the electric generation portfolio, but that there is a massive rebalancing of the industry underway. Given the cost and environmental benefits of natural gas, Akins said he doesn't expect there will ever be another coal-fired power plant built in the U.S.
Cramer asked about solar and renewable power. Akins said that while renewables are great, they're also only an intermittent power supply, and one that still needs to be backed up by large central-plant generation. A balanced generation portfolio will always be needed.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Target (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report, Costco (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report, Nordic American Tanker (NAT) - Get Nordic American Tankers Limited Report and Dominion Resources (D) - Get Dominion Energy Inc Report.
Cramer was bearish on United Rentals (URI) - Get United Rentals, Inc. Report, JC Penney (JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report, OvaScience (OVAS) , CBS Corp (CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report and Teekay Tankers (TNK) - Get Teekay Tankers Ltd. Class A Report.
Executive Decision: Kevin Johnson, President and COO, Starbucks
In his third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Kevin Johnson, president and COO of Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report, which just reported its best quarter in its 23-year history as a public company.
Johnson painted a positive picture for Starbucks, noting that same store sales in China rose by 11%, as the company now operates in over 90 cities and has 5,200 locations throughout the region.
Johnson cited technology as a strength, mainly the Starbucks rewards program, which now boasts 10.4 million members that are racking up nearly 20% of all Starbucks payments on their phones. Starbucks recently announced partnerships with several companies that allow customers to earn points outside of Starbucks that can then be redeemed at Starbucks.
There was also positive news from Starbucks' Express location, smaller stores that offer a quick turnaround for customers. Johnson said these stores do just as much business as bigger locations, but don't seem to cannibalize them.
Cramer said that Starbucks was "amazing."
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in ETP, FB, GOOGL and TGT..