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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When the markets head south, you need to take opportunities where you can find them, Jim Cramer said on "Mad Money" Tuesday. In today's markets, that means taking advantage of eight big themes and avoiding two major pitfalls.
Cramer's list of opportunities includes:
1. Aerospace. Cramer said airlines are flush with cash and planes remain in demand.
2. Non-Residential Construction. After years of decline, this major generator of jobs is on the mend.
3. Personal Computers. The decline in PCs may finally be winding down because component makers appear to be bottoming.
4. Mergers and Acquisitions. The two big deals so far this year, Beam (BEAM) and Time Warner Cable (TWC), may just be the beginning.
5. Banking. The banking woes are winding down and all eyes are focused on the rise in net interest margins.
6. Europe. As Ford (F), General Electric (GE) -- a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS -- and may others have noted, Europe is growing again.
7. Telco Equipment Spending. Both Ciena (CIEN), another AAP holding, and F5 Networks (FFIV) are seeing strong equipment sales.
8. American Natural Gas. Cramer said chemical companies are finally benefiting from cheap American natural gas.
Cramer said investors also need to watch out for two major hurdles in the markets: One is a glut of oil and the continue assault on coal. He noted that both of these industries remain under pressure.
The other market hurdle: empty malls, which have been wrecking havoc on a host of retailers.
Executive Decision: Cheryl Bachelder
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of AFC Enterprises (AFCE), which starting today will be known as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI). Shares of Popeyes are up 75% since Cramer first got behind the stock 18 months ago.
Bachelder painted a mixed picture for the quarter. She said while sales were up 1%, overall traffic was down, although it's still less than the quick-service restaurant group overall. Among the major hurdles is consumer confidence. Bachelder said consumers need to be upbeat about their futures in order to start spending again.
Popeyes still remains a turnaround story, Bachelder noted, with 60% of its stores now remodeled and seeing a 34% uptick in sales as a result. When asked about saturation, Bachelder said Popeyes is not saturated in any market yet, which is why the company opened 194 new locations just last year. New national advertising has people lined up and waiting at many of the new restaurants, she continued.
When asked about international sales, Bachelder said that is another terrific opportunity for Popeyes. She said the company has opened a dozen locations in Peru, which are off to a great start.
Cramer remains bullish on the newly renamed Popeyes.
Peltz' Sweet Tooth
Following in the footsteps of successful activist investors is a fool's game, unless that activist investor is Nelson Peltz, Cramer told viewers. That's why Peltz' recent interest in snack-maker Mondelez (MDLZ) should have caught investors' attention.
Cramer explained that unlike many activists, which invest only for quick gains, Peltz has a 30-year track record of providing great returns for the long haul. His involvement with Heinz (HNZ) has seen a 75% gain for shareholders as margins improved and innovation flourished thanks to Peltz' positive input.
Don't expect instant returns from Mondelez, Cramer warned. But do expect that Peltz will know what to do with such great brands as Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy cookies and Philadelphia cream cheese. Even an increase in margins from 12% to 16% would be huge for the company and shareholders alike.
Cramer was bearish on Trinity Industries (TRN).
Off the Charts
In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleague Ed Ponsi over the chart of Alcoa (AA), a much-hated stock that's been on the move in 2014, up nearly 20% on strong fundamentals.
Ponsi noted that Alcoa has been building a base for the past 18 months. The longer the base, the bigger the move, he concluded. Alcoa is now breaking out from that base.
This move is supported by a number of other technicals. All of Alcoa's moving averages are aligned for a move higher, Ponsi's research showed, with the shorter averages leading the longer ones higher. The MACD momentum indicator is flashing buy signals, and Alcoa's strong volume -- the highest in nearly four years -- is also confirming the move.
Given that Alcoa has been trading sideways for so long, Ponsi saw no resistance for the stock until it tests 2011 highs near $16 a share, nearly 32% higher than where it currently trades.
Cramer said he's been bullish on Alcoa for a while after hating it for years.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said it's important to recognize patterns, both profitable ones and repeated mistakes. One of the patterns he's learned is that not all estimate cuts are bad.
That's the case with UPS (UPS), which messed up big time in the days leading up to Christmas. Volume far exceeded expectations, UPS admitted, and the peak package days came a full week later than expected thanks to an uptick in last-minute online shopping.
But having too much business is a good thing, Cramer noted. UPS, the world leader in logistics, is sure to not make the same mistake twice. That makes the weakness in UPS shares a buying opportunity, Cramer concluded.
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