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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The markets are full of "cons," Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Thursday, but there are a few "pros" out there as well. He said that while it may seem like everything that was good is now bad and everything that was bad is now worse, there are a few silver linings. Cramer reminded viewers that, historically, being optimistic has been a winning strategy, even if that optimism is being very challenged at the moment. So what cons are the markets worried about? The most obvious is the fiscal cliff, something the markets were hoping would be solved with new leadership in Washington. But now that the president is still the president and Congress is likely still gridlocked, is there any hope? Cramer said the Republicans have to know they must strike a deal since not striking one has already cost them the White House. Then there are disappointing earnings. Cramer said earnings are always a game of expectations and expectations are still too high given the environment. Take Starbucks ( SBUX). The company was trading in the low $50s when it reported over the summer, when expectations were too high. Shares immediately plummeted into the mid $40s. This week, the company reported again and expectations were in line and shares rallied back into the low $50s. There's no reason to panic, said Cramer, prices just need to be readjusted. Europe is another con against the market, said Cramer, but here, too, that's old news. Perhaps more important than a sagging Europe are hopes of a resurgent China, which might happen under new leadership in the coming year. Hurricane Sandy put a damper on the markets as well, noted Cramer, but after the devastation comes rebuilding. Once people have their power turned back on and get back to work, things will start flowing again in the Northeast. Cramer said the markets are clearly ratcheting down ahead of the fiscal cliff, but soon there will be capitulation, and that will be the time to buy, buy, buy.
Recession-Proof AbbottLooking for a stock that's both recession-proof and doesn't have anything to do with the fiscal cliff? Cramer said investors need to consider Abbott Labs ( ABT), a stock he owns for his charitable trust,
Executive DecisionIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer once again spoke with Cheryl Bachelder, president and CEO of AFC Enterprises ( AFCE), purveyors of the Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen chain of quick-serve restaurants. Shares of AFC are up 85% for the year and 14% since Cramer last spoke with Bachelder in August. Bachelder said that Popeye's new flavorful menu is bringing excitement to the stores and is part of the reason the company delivered a an earnings beat of 2 cents a share on a 6.3% rise in same-store sales. She said the company's fourth annual crawfish festival is once again being well received and is proving that seafood should remain a mainstay on the Popeye's menu.
Bachelder also noted Popeye's is increasingly becoming a national advertiser and is growing its footprint at 4% a year. The company is closing underperforming stores and opening new ones in different neighborhoods and recently purchased 29 former KFC locations out of bankruptcy. AFC is also currently about one-third complete in the remodeling of it's stores, something that will be completed at all locations in three years. Cramer once again praised Bachelder for a remarkable turnaround and growth story. He continues to recommend the stock.