NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "There's a lot of nonsense on Wall Street," Jim Cramer told the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Thursday. Case in point: today's retail sales numbers, which were widely reported as painting a "mixed picture" for retailers, he said. "This wasn't a mixed picture," argued Cramer, "it was a grand slam!" He said that among the 13 retailers he follows closely, all reported numbers that were better, not worse, than expected. Everything from the high end, like Coach ( COH), to the low end, like Ross Stores ( ROST) were right on the money, said Cramer.
Used Car Sales BoomIn the Thursday "Sell Block" segment, Cramer discovered that the rental car industry doesn't actually make money form renting cars. Since the market lows of March 6, the rental car companies have been a one- way ticket to profits, with Avis ( CAR) up a staggering 3000%, Dollar Thrifty Automotive ( DTG) up 3100% and Hertz ( HTZ) bringing up the rear with a gain of 300%. Why such huge gains? As Cramer discovered, it's because the bulk of rental car company profits come not from renting cars but from selling their cars into the used car market. Cramer said the used car market has been on fire, with the values of used cars actually appreciating with help from declining new car sales, aging rental fleets and Cash For Clunkers, which killed many thousands of vehicles. Cramer said these trends mean the rental car company with the most cars to sell, wins. In this case, Hertz comes out the winner, with 70% of its fleet being owned by the company versus leased by the manufacturer. The company with the fewest vehicles to sell? Well, that's Dollar Thrifty, said Cramer, and he's said he's staying away from that one. In the middle is Avis, which he said was another sell. Cramer reminded viewers that homework always pays off. While the markets assumed the rental car companies were ready to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of the dropoff in travel, the companies instead made money selling their used cars, and taking their stocks from pennies back to respectable levels.
Jobless-Recovery ThreatIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Dan DiMicco, president and CEO of Nucor ( NUE), to get a better handle on the state of the economic recovery. Dimicco came out with guns blazing, saying that all of the demand the economy has seen thus far is inventory-related and not job-related. He said those in Washington are not focus on the real crisis, and that's jobs. The threat of a jobless recovery is much more severe than anyone realizes, he said. Armed with charts of the past five recessions, Dimicco illustrated that with every recession since 1980, the recessions have been getting deeper and the recoveries taking longer to get back to the original employment levels. And with the current crisis, the numbers are off the charts, as the job losses continue to mount, he said. Dimicco said everyone's top three priorities need to be jobs, jobs and jobs. He said health care and global warming don't hold a candle to the problem of jobs. Dimicco said our country could do itself a great service by cutting off foreign oil and using its own natural gas and oil until alternative energy becomes feasible. This alone would create tens of thousands of jobs and help move us towards the road to recovery, he said. Cramer commended Dimicco for his efforts to get Washington to focus on jobs. He said he's joining in Dimicco's crusade and hopes viewers do as well, as jobs are not a Democratic or Republican issue but an American issue.