NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Something big has changed in this market," Jim Cramer told the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Monday. He said for the first time in years, it's actually OK to buy the banks into weakness. "We no longer have to fear the banks," said Cramer, who noted that the media's relentless assault on everything financial has seemingly come to an end. He said after two years of almost non-stop negative coverage, readers are finally tiring of bank bashing articles, so publishers and editors are moving on. Case in point, positive articles on JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC), two stocks which Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
Healthy Tech DemandIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Roy Vallee, chairman and CEO of electronics wholesaler Avnet ( AVT), a stock that's up 22% since Cramer last spoke with Vallee on Jan. 28. Vallee shared in Cramer's enthusiasm for the technology sector, saying that since the recession, electronic component demand has been strong in both business and consumer markets. Valle predicted a multi-year growth run, with growth exceeding that seen in the years leading up to this most recent recession. Even Europe, a region all but written off by analysts, is stronger than people realize thanks to a healthy export market. When asked about which areas of tech are most in demand, Vallee said that tablet PCs are hot and are having an impact on netbook computer sales, but it's not yet known if they're cannibalizing full size notebook PCs. He said flash RAM remains strong, as does backlit LCD screens, but traditional DRAM memory, the kind used in netbooks and notebooks, is still weak but recovering. Cramer said with all the conservatism surrounding tech, he's reiterating his buy recommendation on Anvet, a solid performer.
Restaurant Stock SoarsIn a second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Ron Shaich, executive chairman of Panera Bread ( PNRA), a stock Cramer has championed since July of 2008. Since then, Panera shares have skyrocketed 112%. Shaich said that Panera is the second best performing consumer stock over the past decade, and the No. 1 best performing restaurant stock. He said Panera's strategy of free wifi and comfortable locations promotes what the company calls "Chill Time," where patrons utilize Panera as a place just to sit, talk and connect as well as eat. He also said that Panera's new loyalty program, MyPanera, will take that customer relationship even further, buy offering freebies and other incentives to loyal customers. When asked about rising food costs, Shaich noted that since Panera is a cash business, the company can raise prices to offset input costs. Turning to the company's growth, Shaich said that Panera ia focused on building quality stores to deliver the highest return on invested capital possible. He said the company operates in 44 states and Canada, but is focused on profitable growth and looks at one market at a time. Shaich said as a result of the recession, development costs are down. He said it's been the best time he's seen to further expand the company. Finally, when asked whether young adults are eating healthier than their parents, Shaich said he has definitely seen that trend playing out at Panera. Cramer reiterated his buy on the company.