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) -- You're only as good as your most recent quarter, Jim Cramer reminded

"Mad Money"

viewers Monday as he opined on the results from



, a stock he owns for his charitable trust,

Action Alerts PLUS.

Cramer said that Wall Street has a notoriously short memory. Despite Apple making fortunes for investors in years past and having an ungodly large amount of cash on hand to prove it, when the company's gross margins turned south last year Wall Street abandoned the stock, sending its price plummeting to a low of $385. Back then, expectations were too high, so high that even a quality operator such as Apple was unable to achieve them.

Fast forward to today, when Apple was able to post $8.26 a share in earnings, a full 32 cents a share more than expectations. Revenue rose 4.2% and gross margins expanded to 37%. Apple's holiday lineup looks even better and the company raised its revenue estimates for the rest of the year.

Cramer said he'd still be a buyer of Apple, even at today's levels, given the strength of its balance sheet and its products for the holiday season. He was also bullish on the consumer staple stocks including




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, which are benefiting from a falling dollar and input costs.

Cramer's 10-Point Plan

The markets will always have an appetite for growth, Cramer told viewers, but how should investors choose which growth stock to add to their portfolio? Cramer unveiled his 10-point plan for choosing the best growth stocks.

His method is simple: 10 criteria, each with a possible 10 points, for a total score up to 100.

Cramer's candidates for this exercise are two specialty retailers that blew away the estimates,

Tractor Supply



Lumber Liquidators



1. Multiyear growth.

Cramer said while both companies have years of expansion, Liquidators has more room to expand. He gave seven points to Tractor Supply and 10 to Liquidators.

2. Total addressable market.

Both companies have huge opportunities ahead. Eight points Tractor, nine points Liquidators.

3. Competitiveness.

Cramer said both companies are incredibly competitive in their respective industries. Nine points a piece.

4. Shareholder capital return.

Tractor Supply offers a small dividend and a buyback while Liquidators is reinvesting every penny it makes. In this case, that's OK, said Cramer, but for this scale it's three points to Tractor and zero for Liquidators.

5. International.

Neither company has any plans for international expansion, but either could if they wanted. Five points each.

6. Balance sheet strength.

Cramer said both stocks offer very strong balance sheets. Nine points and 10 points, as Liquidators has no debt.

7. Out-year valuation.

Both stocks trade at deep discounts to their earnings potential in a few years, with Liquidators a little more so. Eight points and 10 points, respectively.

8. Management.

Again, strong executives at both companies, but a little more tenure at Liquidators. Eight points to nine.

9. Cyclical?

Cramer said Liquidators is more beholden to the housing market, giving Tractor Supply the win with eight points to six.

10. Gross margins.

A strong finish for both companies, but with Liquidators edging a win once again. Eight points for Tractor Supply to 10 for Liquidators.

Add up all the scores and Cramer said both companies are terrific, but Lumber Liquidators edged out Tractor Supply 78 to 73, making it the more compelling name.

Who's Better?

Some managements simply do a better job than others, Cramer said. To show the perfect example of how much execution matters to a company's bottom line he compared

Polaris Industries



Arctic Cat


, two makers of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and accessories there were both up big on the year going into earnings season.

Polaris was able to post a three-cents-a-share earnings beat on a stellar 25% rise in revenue, while Arctic Cat posted one of the worst quarters seen anywhere, a 26-cents-a-share earnings miss on lower-than-expected revenue that sent shares plunging 15%.

Looking into the results, Cramer said it was easy to see how Polaris was just eating Cat's lunch. While Polaris saw strength in every segment, Cat saw declines in parts, accessories and garments. Those areas that saw growth did so only with heavy promotional activity. Polaris saw gross margins expanding while Cat's were shrinking.

Furthermore, Polaris management called out Europe as a bright spot for the quarter, but Arctic Cat saw a "challenging" European environment.

Given that Polaris trades at 20 times earnings with a 16% growth rate, compared to Arctic Cat at 14 times earnings with a 20% growth rate, investors may be tempted to think Arctic Cat is the better value. But Cramer said after reviewing the quarters, it's clear to see Polaris deserves its higher multiple as the company's management is hitting it out of the park.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on

Rite Aid






Automatic Data Processing






Cramer was bearish on

Celldex Therapeutics






Executive Decision: Debra Cafaro

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Debra Cafaro, chairman and CEO of



, the senior living real estate investment trust that's now yielding 4% thanks to an 18-point drop in its shares since May. Ventas just posted an earnings beat of 2 cents a share on an 11.5% rise in revenue.

Cafaro said Ventas aims to be a stable and consistent earner for its shareholders and has been delivering on that goal. She said the company just purchased another $1.3 billion worth of assets, borrowing for as little as 3% for the next 12.5 years.

When asked whether Ventas deserves to trade on the whims of the Affordable Care Act, Cafaro noted that 84% of Ventas' tenants are private payers of their services, making them largely unaffected by Obamacare. Additionally, she said what matters most is America's demographic trends, all of which point to years of growth, with a high demand for senior living services and medical office buildings.

Cramer called Ventas the best performer in its class.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said there's a new swing factor in company's earnings reports and it's called Europe.

Cramer explained that after getting hit big by a faltering Europe that accounted for a big chunk of their earnings, many industrial and tech companies have learned their lessons and have aggressively cut costs and right-sized their operations.

With expectations now set very low, he said these companies' earnings could pop big and the time to buy in is now, ahead of the strength that's expected in 2014.

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:

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL.

Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of or its affiliates, or CNBC, NBC Universal or their parent company or affiliates. Mr. Cramer's opinions are based upon information he considers to be reliable, but neither, nor CNBC, nor either of their affiliates and/or subsidiaries warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. Mr. Cramer's statements are based on his opinions at the time statements are made, and are subject to change without notice. No part of Mr. Cramer's compensation from CNBC or is related to the specific opinions expressed by him on "Mad Money."

None of the information contained in "Mad Money" constitutes a recommendation by Mr. Cramer, or CNBC that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You must make your own independent decisions regarding any security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy mentioned on the program. Mr. Cramer's past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance. Neither Mr. Cramer, nor, nor CNBC guarantees any specific outcome or profit, and you should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investments discussed on the program. The strategy or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than you invested. Before acting on any information contained in the program, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser.

Some of the stocks mentioned by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are held in Mr. Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio. When that is the case, appropriate disclosure is made on the program and in the "Mad Money" recap available on The Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio contains all of Mr. Cramer's personal investments in publicly-traded equity securities only, and does not include any mutual fund holdings or other institutionally managed assets, private equity investments, or his holdings in, Inc. Since March 2005, the Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio has been held by a Trust, the realized profits from which have been pledged to charity. Mr. Cramer retains full investment discretion with respect to all securities contained in the Trust. Mr. Cramer is subject to certain trading restrictions, and must hold all securities in the Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio for at least one month, and is not permitted to buy or sell any security he has spoken about on television or on his radio program for five days following the broadcast.