Turning to the U.S. housing market, Thaman said he's encouraged by rising rent prices, but is not yet seeing enough demand to warrant a return of the company's dividend. He said that Owens maintains an investment-grade balance sheet, but the company wants to see improvement in all of its businesses before reinstating that dividend. Cramer told viewers to make their decision wisely when considering investing in Owens Corning. He said the stock is cheap, but may not be the best way to play the recovery in housing with weakness in Europe still looming.
"Management matters," Cramer told viewers, as he highlighted the turnaround in Gap Stores ( GPS), an apparel chain that lost its way for over a decade but also one that's been resurrected by its new CEO Glenn Murphy. Cramer said that Murphy, who took the reigns at Gap in 2007, has done the exact opposite of J.C. Penney ( JCP) CEO Ron Johnson in his efforts to turn around the company. First, Murphy told shareholders that it would take a long time to turn around Gap, which it did. He also set no expectations for shareholders. However, after years of a bottoms-up turnaround that involved asking the customers what they wanted and delivering on those needs, Gap's success is undeniable, said Cramer, which explains why shares of Gap are up 49% so far this year. In its quest to provide customers with new merchandise they actually want to buy, Gap saw same store sales up 4% last quarter, the first time in years the company saw all three of its U.S. divisions grow. Gap also has no exposure to Europe, added Cramer, but it does have an expanding business in China. While Cramer said he's worried about the balance sheet at J.C. Penney, he has no such worries at Gap, a company where the turn has only just begun.
Here's what Cramer had to say about caller's stocks during the "Lightning Round": Advance Auto Parts ( AAP): "No, I don't want you to touch that. Go with AutoZone ( AZO)" Michael Kors ( KORS): "I have enough problems, I don't need Kors. I like PVH ( PVH)." Pilgrim's Pride ( PPC): "I like Pilgrim's Pride because their costs are coming down." Windstream ( WIN): "That was a real nasty quarter. I'm not recommending in anymore."
Gaining Share in Gas
For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Peter McCausland, president and CEO of Airgas ( ARG), the man who single-handedly rebuffed a hostile takeover bid from rival Air Products ( APD) at a substantially lower valuation. McCausland said that he will be turning over the CEO role to a competent executive, but will remain as executive chairman and be actively involved in Airgas' strategy.