Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Follow the Leaders

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We've had a huge rally from the generational lows of March 2009, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Thursday. And the leaders that have brought us this far will likely take us even higher, he continued, as he ran down the list of the top, and worst, performing Dow Jones Industrial Average components since those historic lows.

Topping the list of gainers was American Express ( AXP), which has risen 484% since March 2009. After experiencing terrible losses, Cramer said American Express is now a well-run company that's still very inexpensive.

Next on the list were Caterpillar ( CAT), up 286%, and Home Depot ( HD), up 276%. Cramer said that Caterpillar represents the best in American manufacturing but struggled as it customers required financing that simply wasn't available. Meanwhile Home Depot, a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS , has reinvented itself and is now right at the heart of the housing recovery.

Rounding out the list of winners, Disney ( DIS) and General Electric ( GE), another Action Alerts PLUS name. Disney has gained from great acquisitions like Marvel and Star Wars, while GE gets its strength from its exposure to everything from infrastructure to aerospace to oil and gas.

Among the biggest losers in the Dow were Alcoa ( AA), which gained only 58% since 2009, followed by Cisco ( CSCO), Wal-Mart ( WMT), Exxon-Mobil ( XOM) and finally, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), the only Dow component to be down over the past four years.

Cramer said that Cisco, also an Action Alerts PLUS name, could be a winner, but he's not a fan of Alcoa or Hewlett. Wal-Mart, he said, has run too high so far this year, so that stock is also no longer attractive.

Executive Decision: Marc Benioff

In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com ( CRM), which recently reported an 11-cents-a-share earnings beat on better than expected revenues.

Benioff started off by saying that after passing the $3 billion mark annually for revenues, his company has now set their eyes on achieving $4 billion. He said the analysts who have been negative on Salesforce has been dead wrong so far and will continue to be so. "It's a new world of computing," said Benioff, one with fewer PCs running Windows and more tablets and smartphones running Salesforce.com.

Benioff also touted some of his company's recent client acquisitions including Philips Electronics, luxury retailer Burberry and General Electric. He said whether you're talking about a next-generation consumer electronics company, or a next-generation retailer or manufacturer, everyone is building their customer relationship system on the Salesforce platform.

Executive Decision: Patrick Doyle

For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Patrick Doyle, president and CEO of Domino's Pizza ( DPZ), a stock that's risen 20% since Cramer last spoke with Doyle in October. Domino's just released strong earnings and instituted a new dividend, bringing its yield to 1.6%.

Doyle said that new technology and better recipes have been the winning combination for Domino's, and since his company still only has 10% of all pizza sales in the U.S., there's still a long way to go. He touted Domino's introduction of pan pizza as another bright spot for the company, as pan pizzas have always been one area that they haven't been servicing.

Doyle also noted that for the first time, Domino's is allowing customers to save their profiles online, including credit card information, which will make the company's online ordering system even more streamlined and convenient than before.

When asked about the company's newly-instituted dividend, Doyle said that after Domino's refinanced its debt last year, they began looking seriously as a dividend and there's still plenty of cash left over for stock buybacks and other initiatives.

Cramer continued his recommendation of Domino's.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Hain Celestial Group ( HAIN), American Railcar ( ARII) and SeaDrill Limited ( SDRL).

Cramer was bearish on CommonWealth REIT ( CWH).

Executive Decision: Cheryl Bachelder

For his third and final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer welcomed back Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of AFC Enterprises ( AFCE), a stock that's up 14% since Cramer last spoke with Bachelder, but also one that fell 5% in today's trading after analysts were disappointed with the company's store growth and full-year guidance.

Bachelder commented on a few of the analysts' concerns, saying that her company did close 2% of their locations last year, but most of those were underperforming international locations. However here in the U.S., she said that Popeye's remains in the top three restaurants as far as new unit growth. She added that Popeye's is now advertising on a national level and is seeing tow-year comparable store sales up 10% as a result.

Bachelder also commented on the company's forecasts, saying that it's difficult for AFC to offer three to five year guidance given their growth and innovation. Thus, she admitted, their longer-term guidance may be overly conservative.

Bachelder had positive things to say about AFC's international expansion. Despite closing a few stores, she said that the Popeye's concept "travels well" and they're seeing strong demand in Canada, Korea and Turkey and have very high expectations for Peru and the rest of Latin America.

Cramer said that its rare that investors can buy shares in a company that beat their numbers at a sizable discount, but that's exactly the opportunity the markets have provided in AFC.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer commented on the abysmal earnings releases from JCPenney ( JCP) and Groupon ( GRPN) and their equally abysmal CEOs.

Cramer said he has no faith in any company that begins their conference call with how "good" things are going when clearly, things are not going well. He said there's far more respect for calls where management admits their problems, right up front, then explains how they will fix them.

That was not the case with Groupon, he said, nor JCPenney, both of whose CEOs he called "delusional" about how bad things really have become. Groupon took the appropriate action by firing its CEO, Andrew Mason, earlier today, something JCPenney's board must seriously consider doing.

Cramer said that he's never seen a retailer come back from sales that are declining as fast as JCPenney and he's questioning whether the company will survive to see another holiday season. As such, Cramer added JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson to the top spot on his "Wall of Shame" list of the worst CEOs.

Cramer said that Groupon's Mason was spared the Wall of Shame honor only by getting fired right minutes before "Mad Money" began airing.

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To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

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

To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt

Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDC
At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in HD, GE, CSCO.

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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