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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This market spends too much time worrying about what could go wrong and not enough time reflecting on what didn't go wrong, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Wednesday after a see-saw day on Wall Street. Cramer said the market has been brimming with worries this year, but surprisingly, none of them came true. Cramer said today's announcement that General Motors ( GM) is buying $5.5 billion worth of its shares from the U.S. Treasury is one such example. He said just a few years ago everyone was worried GM would be out of business and sending one million workers home. But today, the company managed to find $5.5 billion to repay a large chunk of its bailout, albeit at a loss for taxpayers, and make itself whole again. The markets tend to ignore the fact that the U.S. is producing more oil than it has in 17 years, noted Cramer, paving the way for continental energy independence and hopefully eventually, U.S. energy independence. The markets also gloss over the fact that corporate balance sheets are flush with cash and the U.S. consumer is spending again. We entered 2012 worried about Europe, Cramer reminded viewers, but the European "kick the can" strategy is working, giving those countries time to work out their problems. Meanwhile China, another big market worry, is also on the road to recovery. Whether it was "shadow inventory" in the housing market or expected corporate bankruptcies, a whole host of potential worries never materialized, said Cramer, leaving us with at least a glimmer of hope that a fiscal cliff induced market collapse probably won't either.
An UnderperformerOver the past year, Cramer's focused a lot on companies that are breaking themselves up in order to unlock value. In fact, he's featured 13 such stories, from Kraft Foods ( KFT) to Covidian ( COV) to McGraw-Hill ( MHP). Out of those 13 there's only been one that's underperformed the markets -- Hillshire Brands ( HSH). Cramer said Hillshire shares have fallen 1% since its spinoff from Sara Lee ( SLE), during a time when the markets have risen 3%. He said the story at Hillshire is not a bad one, but clearly the company will require more time to execute its turnaround than he initially anticipated.
Hillshire, which owns such iconic brands like Jimmy Dean and Ball Park Franks, is reinvesting in its businesses in order to drive future costs, said Cramer, and is working on everything from cutting costs to innovating with new products and more appealing packaging. The company is also selling non-core assets in order to focus its efforts on just a few key areas. While many investors worry about commodity cost inflation, Cramer said he's not one of them because Hillshire's expected growth will more than offset any price increases. He said the company reported a great quarter and only gave tepid guidance in order to create the classic under-promise and over-deliver situation. Breaking up is not only easy to do, it's profitable, too, Cramer concluded, but sometimes it takes a little longer than you might expect.
Executive DecisionIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods ( WFM), a stock that's up 40% since Cramer last spoke with Robb a year ago. Robb responded to tweets from viewers asking when they'll have a Whole Foods in their town by saying, "We're working on it." He said Whole Foods is expanding into markets such as Boise, Idaho, and Wichita, Kansas, and will be accelerating its growth into 2014. The company has signed 74 new leases already, Robb noted, with more to come. When asked about the company's experiments with such things as in-store organic nail salons, Robb said Whole Foods is about a lifestyle and an experience, which is why it experiments with things like in-store pubs, which are now in 55 locations, and the nail salon concept. People just want to come in and relax after work, said Robb. Turning to private-label products, Robb explained that Whole Foods seeks to strike a balance between brand-name products, local brands and private-label goods. He said there's always a balance between quality and value. Robb also commented that the markets appreciate Whole Foods' culture and the spirit of the company, which is why it receives a valuation similar to that of Starbucks ( SBUX) and Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG), two other aspirational brands.
Cramer said that Whole Foods remains a great story.