Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Hating Stocks Hurts Your Wallet (Final)

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors who shy away from stocks are "just plain wrong," Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Wednesday. Responding to a CNBC investor survey that ranked stocks as only the third best place to put their money, behind gold and real estate, Cramer said that it's ironic that so many people hate stocks despite the markets putting in the best quarter they've seen since 1998.

Cramer said he understands that investors may feel ripped off by the markets, but to stay away in droves is simply not a winning strategy. He said that the markets are giving investors multiple ways to win, including some that are making the true stock believers a ton of money.

The first way to win in today's markets is to buy what you love, said Cramer. The CNBC survey noted that nearly 53% of investors have at least one Apple ( AAPL) product in their household, which is partly why shares of Apple are up 50% for the year and are a part of Cramer's charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS.

Cramer said whether its Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG) or Panera Bread ( PNRA) or defensive names like Clorox ( CLX) and Kimberly-Clark ( KMB), owning stocks in companies that make the products you use every day has been a terrific investment this year.

But the markets are offering investors even more gains with recent IPOs, noted Cramer. Of the 30 most recent deals to come public, only six were stinkers, with the rest appreciating admirably. Cramer called out today's IPO of natural foods maker Annie's ( BNNY) as one example. This stock nearly doubled in today's trading and Cramer said it's likely "not done yet."

Annie's is not alone; Brightcove ( BCOV) saw its shares pop 116% since its IPO and Yelp ( YELP) is up 87% from its introductory price. That's why Cramer concluded by saying that the time is now for investors to learn how to fall in love with stocks again.

Mad Tweets

In the "Mad Tweets" segment, Cramer responded to questions sent via Twitter to @JimCramer. When asked about whether Wendy's ( WEN) would be a better buy than McDonald's ( MCD), Cramer went in-depth to explore the two options. He said that while the new burgers and fries at Wendy's may have been enough to dethrone Burger King as the No. 2 fast-food chain in the U.S., that doesn't necessarily mean it's the better stock.

When it comes to the taste of the food, Cramer noted that Wendy's has always had the better fare, at slightly higher prices. But when it comes to investing, execution is what matters most. He said that McDonald's is a well-oiled machine when it comes to execution and practically runs itself. That's why the company was able to report a steady increase in same-store sales throughout last year, while Wendy's only saw one quarter with same-store growth of 5%.

Then there's the international story. McDonald's already has 50% of its locations outside of the U.S., while Wendy's only has 5%. That may actually be a point in Wendy's favor, however, as the company is attempting to transform itself from a fast food giant into a higher-end fast-casual establishment.

Cramer said it's important for companies to know who they are, something that McDonald's, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks ( SBUX) have all figured out. In the case of Wendy's, however, the transformation may be risky, given the company's track record of over-promising and under-delivering. That's why Cramer said McDonald's is the better buy, especially on its current weakness.

Executive Decision

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Richard Davis, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp ( USB), an Action Alerts PLUS holding and the next company to be highlighted in Cramer's "Hiring Our Heros" series.

Davis said that when it comes to hiring our veterans, U.S. Bancorp is sending recruiters to the front lines to provide on-site training and assistance to help our troops with resume and interview skills before they even head home to rejoin the workforce. He said that U.S. Bancorp is interested in all military personnel, whether they are commissioned or non-commissioned officers or enlisted personnel.

Among the three, however, Davis noted that non-commissioned officers have proven to be a perfect fit for U.S. Bancorp, as they have loyalty and trust as well as the skill set to be both good leaders and good followers within the organization. He said that all of our military deserves trust and respect; Davis was confident that they will be ready for the U.S. workforce when they return.

When asked about the bank's performance throughout the financial crisis, Davis credited the company's 63,000 employees for doing the right thing. He said the bank didn't engage in businesses that "didn't feel right" and it remained shareholder-focused. That's why the bank today looks much as it did seven years ago before the crisis began.

"We were lucky and we were smart, but also smart enough to know we were lucky," said Davis.

Davis also said that there are bad actors in every industry, but now that they've been largely weeded out, it's time to let the banks do their job and help America's economy recover. He said the country is at an inflection point and it's time to "start talking optimistically" about our country's future.

Cramer commended U.S. Bancorp for both its recent performance as well as its commitment to America's military personnel.

Am I Diversified?

Cramer spoke with callers to see if their portfolios have what it takes for today's markets. The first caller's portfolio included Annaly Capital ( NLY), Linn Energy ( LINE), Kraft Foods ( KFT), ConocoPhillips ( COP) and Inergy ( NRGY).

Cramer said that Inergy, Linn and Conoco are too similar. He recommended selling Inergy and Conoco and picking up Weyerhaeuser ( WY) and retailer Costco ( COST).

The second caller's top holdings included Dunkin Brands ( DNKN), Sandridge ( SD), Netflix ( NFLX), Wendy's ( WEN) and Diamond Foods ( DMND).

Cramer advised selling Wendy's and Diamond Foods and adding Abbott Labs ( ABT) and IBM ( IBM).

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer once again championed natural gas as the fuel of the future, while simultaneously bashing the current U.S. energy policy, calling it simply "nuts."

Cramer said despite the abundance of natural gas in America, our energy policy has turned this fuel from a positive into a negative for our economy, as the collapse in natural gas prices is occurring too fast and is now causing layoffs and job loses.

Cramer once again reminded everyone that the only way to put a dent in gasoline prices and break the stranglehold of OPEC is to embrace natural gas as THE bridge fuel, instead of just one in a mix of alternative energy choices. Using natural gas instead of diesel for trucks would reduce oil imports by 25%, said Cramer, and create jobs and energy security.

But sadly, Cramer conceded, our country's current policies just "make no sense."

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Opko Health ( OPK), Heckmann ( HEK), SandRidge Mississippian Trust ( SDT) and ACCO Brands ( ABD).

Cramer was bearish on Staples ( SPLS), Corning ( GLW), U.S. Silica Holdings ( SLCA) and MAKO Surgical ( MAKO).

--Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.

To contact the writer of this article, click here: Scott Rutt.

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS was long Apple, USB.

Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for TheStreet.com, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of TheStreet.com 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 TheStreet.com, 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 TheStreet.com 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, TheStreet.com 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 TheStreet.com, 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 TheStreet.com. 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 TheStreet.com, 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.

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