Betting against America is a sucker's game, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. As billionaire Warren Buffett has proven, buying and holding onto shares of great American companies is a great way to build wealth.
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average now having crossed 20,000 for the first time, Cramer took a look back at the top five winners since the Dow average crossed 10,000.
UnitedHealth Group(UNH) - Get Report topped the list, rallying 548% between Dow 10,000 and Dow 20,000. Cramer said UnitedHealth has a fabulous business with not many competitors and the foresight to not embroil itself in the Affordable Care Act.
Fourth and fifth on the list were Visa(V) - Get Report , up over 300%, and Walt Disney(DIS) - Get Report , up 247%. Cramer noted that Visa still has years of growth ahead of it and he remains a believer in Disney.
Were all of these gains achievable to the average investor? Cramer said not only were they getable, they were completely obvious, as probably all of us have a Visa in our wallet, shop at Home Depot, have visited a Disney theme park, are perhaps insured by UnitedHealth and know someone, or maybe a bunch, that own and love Apple products.
Executive Decision: ServiceNow
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Frank Slootman, president and CEO of ServiceNow(NOW) - Get Report , the IT service management company that just delivered a penny-a-share earnings beat on a 35% rise in revenues with strong guidance to boot.
Slootman said what you're seeing with ServiceNow's strength this quarter is all of the pieces of a successful platform strategy falling into place.
He explained that his company takes a holistic approach to customer service, building systems to not only help customers with problems, but also to prevent those same problems from happening again. At ServiceNow, customer service is truly a team sport, he said.
ServiceNow also is moving into cyber security with both monitoring and protection services. Slootman touted his company's partnership with IBM(IBM) - Get Report as a big driver of growth; ServiceNow provides the software and IBM performs the integration services.
Cramer said investors looking for a higher-risk, but fast-growing tech company should consider ServiceNow.
Executive Decision: Lam Research
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also checked in with Martin Anstice, president and CEO of LAM Research(LRCX) - Get Report , the semiconductor equipment maker which just posed a five-cents-a-share earnings beat on a 15% increase in revenues -- news that spawned seven analyst upgrades but also saw shares decline by 2.2%.
Anstice explained that there are a number of secular trends powering LAM's growth and a strong diversity in the products and technology that it offers. Whether you're talking about virtual reality, autonomous cars or the connected home, LAM helps enable the roadmap for many companies and industries.
Anstice continued by saying that traditional PCs only account for 10% of the logic power in the world and LAM is helping to power the next generation of devices that we haven't even seen yet.
Shares of LAM are up 66% over the past year. Cramer called today's weakness simply, "an opportunity."
Don't Touch That Hat
Being a financial commentator is a very asymmetric job, Cramer told viewers.
That's why you won't see Cramer celebrating Dow 20,000 or any other round-number milestone. He said if the market rolls over, the photos of him donning the Dow 20K hat would haunt him forever and the risk is simply not worth the reward.
So instead of celebrating, Cramer said he's doing what he always does: looking for stocks where it's not too late to buy and where the valuations are low. It's important to always be constructive, he said. Don't cheer lead, but also don't scare people away from what's been a remarkable run.
Executive Decision: American Electric Power
In his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also spoke with Nick Akins, chairman, president and CEO of American Electric Power(AEP) - Get Report , the Action Alerts PLUS holding with a 3.7% dividend yield.
Akins started off by saying that after guiding earnings growth higher to between 5% and 7%, American Electric Power fully plans to keep its promise to move the dividend higher to match their earnings growth.
Turning to the economy, Akins said that last quarter saw a pickup in activity in oil and gas, autos, construction and health care in their service areas.
When asked about Donald Trump's pro-fossil-fuel stance, Akins said that there's already transformation underway toward a cleaner energy environment. Natural gas and renewable energy will remain the preferred sources of power going forward, he said, but Trump's stance on coal will help keep that fuel in the portfolio.
Akins was more bullish on Trump's efforts to renew American manufacturing, however, and said that with the shackles being taken off, manufacturing will help support commercial and residential activity as well.
Cramer is updating his investment club members about five core stocks: Cisco(CSCO) - Get Report , Apple, General Electric(GE) - Get Report , Magellan Midstream(MMP) - Get Report and Dow Chemical(DOW) - Get Report . Don't you want to know what they're saying? Get a free subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had positions in CSCO, AAPL, GE, MMP, DOW and AEP.