Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: The Best and Worst Earnings

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's time to take a vacation from Washington and focus on what really matters -- earnings, Jim Cramer said on "Mad Money" Thursday. Great companies don't make excuses, they deliver the goods, which is why Cramer took time out to celebrate the best and worst earnings so far this quarter.

Among the triumphs: Verizon ( VZ), a stock that delivered double-digit growth, strong cash flows and customer loyalty, plus beat the estimates and raised them. Cramer said that with this remarkable management team, it's no wonder he's been recommending the company for almost eight years.

Also making Cramer's top performers list: American Express ( AXP), a company on the ropes just a few years ago but now one with credit card losses at historic lows. American Express didn't see any slowdown in spending from Washington, Cramer noted, which is why shares popped 5% today.

Finally, there's PPG Industries ( PPG), a company that dispelled the myth that there are no opportunities for growth if you're an industrial company. PPG has growth in every region around the globe, including Europe.

Then there were the misses, failures and disappointments. Cramer called out IBM ( IBM), eBay ( EBAT) and Xilinx ( XLNX) as the worst misses so far. He said IBM delivered no growth, while eBay saw commerce decelerating. After boasting it was taking market share a few weeks ago, Xilinx announced today it lost a huge order to a competitor and offered up only tepid guidance for the rest of the year.

Cramer said he expects most earnings this quarter to be like Verizon, American Express and PPG, three great companies that can prosper even when Washington is on the brink of tanking our entire economy.

Executive Decision: Michael Kneeland

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Michael Kneeland, president and CEO of United Rentals ( URI), the construction equipment renter that today delivered a four-cents-a-share earnings beat on a 7.5% year-over-year rise in revenue. United Rentals also reaffirmed guidance, news that sent shares up 3.6% in today's trading.

Kneeland said an economic recovery in the U.S. seems to be underway, which is why he expects a strong 2014 and a strong 2015. He said industries like the oil and gas industry are a major driver for equipment rentals, and United Rentals is following right along with them.

When asked if the U.S. was saturated with United Rental locations, Kneeland said there is still room for more and the company plans to open 18 new locations next year.

Turning back to the economy, Kneeland noted that non-residential construction has yet to pick up but residential construction has, and that's usually an 18-month leading indicator for non-residential activity.

Finally, when asked about his company's stock buyback program, Kneeland said United Rentals has the flexibility to both invest in its fleet of equipment and buy back shares. The stock is inexpensive, which makes it the perfect time to buy some back.

Cramer said nvestors aren't making money in a stock like Caterpillar ( CAT). So why not own United Rentals, which is making money hand over fist from Caterpillar equipment?

Varieties of Valuation

The stock market doesn't always efficiently value a stock where it deserves to be, Cramer told viewers. Sometimes the price of a stock can diverge wildly from its underlying fundamentals. That's certainly been the case with Best Buy ( BBY), which is up 260% for the year, and Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD), which has more than doubled.

When it comes to these two stocks, Cramer said the markets have simply gotten it wrong. Best Buy entered the year at a scant $11 a share on fears that the company, widely seen as just a showroom for Amazon.com ( AMZN), was going the way of rival Circuit City. But Best Buy proved that Amazon can't kill everyone and if you invest in your best-performing stores, close your underperforming ones and take advantage of new product cycles, you can actually make money.

Cramer said he still prefers GameStop ( GME), but commended Best Buy for a turnaround done right.

Then there's Pioneer, a company with 50 billion barrels of proven reserves in an oil field that was thought to be almost dry. Turns out with new technology, the Permian Basin is actually the second-largest oil field in the world, ahead of the Middle East, ahead of Russia and only trailing a single field in Saudi Arabia. Cramer said this stock could hit $300 a share before getting close to being overvalued.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Taiwan Semiconductor ( TSM), Take-Two Interactive ( TTWO), Oasis Petroleum ( OAS), EOG Resources ( EOG) and Wells Fargo ( WFC).

Cramer was bearish on ADT ( ADT), Nuance Communications ( NUAN), Just Energy Group ( JE) and MB Financial ( MBFI).

Executive Decision: Richard Kinder

In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Richard Kinder, chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ( KMP), the oil and gas pipeline operator with over 80,000 miles of pipelines and a 6.7% yield. Kinder Morgan is up 132%, including reinvested dividends, since Cramer first recommended the stock in 2007.

Kinder said the growth opportunities for his company have never been better, as evidenced by the $14.4 billion backlog of projects Kinder Morgan is waiting to build. He said the Marcellus shale, in particular, is a terrific opportunity given its close proximity to the power-hungry northeast U.S. He said electric generators in that region need more capacity and Kinder Morgan is working to provide it. He also noted that his company is connecting into eastern Ontario, which itself is another big opportunity.

Kinder also have great things to say about the Permian and Eagle Ford areas of the country. He said his company is working towards moving over 250,000 barrels of product a day from those areas.

Turning to the larger picture, Kinder said continental energy independence is coming for North America, thanks to the many new oil and gas finds in the U.S. He said even without help from Washington, the industry is on its way and will get there soon.

Cramer said Kinder Morgan has been a great American company in which to invest.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer called the recently passed debt deal a total disgrace -- nothing gained and much lost.

Cramer said the mere three-month extension of the debt ceiling is laughable. The Republicans continue to be anti-business, both big and small, while the Democrats continue to be oblivious to the damage being caused. He said those countries -- such as Japan and China -- that hold trillions of dollars worth of U.S. debt won't stand for such incompetence for long.

History may have already forgotten that the British pound used to be the global currency, Cramer reminded viewers. We all know how that turned out.

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

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

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

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in WFC, XLNX.

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."

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