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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Washington is back on the front page, and that's never good news for stocks, Jim Cramer said on Mad Money Wednesday, as the markets faltered on a surprise win for the Tea Party. Cramer's advice? Stay the course.
Cramer admitted that nothing turns buyers into sellers faster than wrangling in Washington. Whether its unemployment benefits, the budget, the debt ceiling, the deficit or corporate taxes, if Washington is involved uncertainty is soon to follow.
But Cramer said he's not worries about the Eric Cantor news as it just signals there's likely more gridlock to come. That gridlock might now be coming from the Tea Party rather than the mainstream Republicans but in the end gridlock is gridlock.
Cramer said market deserved a breather, a chance for investors to take profits. The weakness also provides the perfect opportunity to put money to work in the sectors that are working, like aerospace and oil and gas. He said the weakness won't likely be over in a day, so investors should begin picking at the stocks they like starting tomorrow.
The Great Recession changed the mindset of the market for many on Wall Street, Cramer told viewers, and nowhere is that more evident than in Micron Technology (MU), a stock that shot up 5% in today's session as an analyst upgraded the stock from sell all the way to buy.
Cramer said that for years Micron followed a predictable cycle. Demand for memory chips would increase and so, too, would Micron's shares. Then a competitor, of which there were many, would increase supply with a new factory and shares would plummet. But that cycle ended during the Great Recession, when everyone was told that PCs were in decline and would likely never return to their former glory.
What was lost to analysts, however, was Micron's reaction to the sad state of the PC -- it made smart acquisitions, thereby elimination competition, while other competitors ramped down their production or left the segment altogether.
That's why Micron shares have risen from $5 a share in 2012 to $31 today as demand for memory has slowly been rising while costs have been falling and, for the first time, there aren't competitors racing to fill the void.
The facts have changed for Micron, Cramer concluded, and today we saw the first analyst taking notice.
GNC vs. Vitamin Shoppe
Cramer explained that when GNC last reported, shares fell 15% on its poor results, taking Vitamin Shoppe, which reported the following day, along for the ride, down 5%. But unlike GNC, which really did have a horrible quarter, Vitamin Shoppe actually didn't do that bad and simply fell victim to GNC's results.
The markets are treating both these stocks the same, Cramer said, and that should not be the case, as GNC's same store sales fell 0.7%, but Vitamin Shoppe saw a 3.6% increase in sales. GNC also touted the company's new loyalty program as a big growth driver but so far those results have been unimpressive at best.
Cramer said that GNC has become too inconsistent and he's not a buyer. Vitamin Shoppe, on the other hand, increased revenue by 10.3%, has booming internet sales, up 17%, and sports a well-diversified product mix that doesn't rely heavily on the fickle diet products. Vitamin Shoppe also derived 25% of its sales from high-margin private label items, with plans to increase that number dramatically going forward.
Trading at just 15 times earnings with a 14% growth rate, Cramer said Vitamin Shoppe is the new clear winner in group, and today's weakness gives investors a terrific entry point.
Executive Decision: Bill Cobb
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Bill Cobb, president and CEO of H&R Block (HRB), a stock that just delivered a six-cents-a-share earnings beat on a 16% rise in revenue. Shares of H&R Block are up 6% since Cramer last checked in with Cobb back in January.
Cobb said that this year's advertising campaign during tax season really resonated with with taxpayers, and H&R Block continues to focus on helping people with their taxes at its 10,300 locations or helping them do their own taxes online.
When asked about the U.S. tax code, Cobb said H&R Block has become very skilled at adapting to ever-changing rules and that scale and knowledge allows the company to understand and prepare accurate returns year after year. He said next year's Affordable Care Act changes will be very significant for many taxpayers and the company is already preparing for the new rules.
Cobb also discussed his company's pending sale of its banking division, which will allow H&R Block to return a lot more capital to shareholders. He said the company estimates it'll have $1 billion of excess capital after the sale but has not yet decided how those funds will be returned to shareholders.
Cramer said he remains very excited about H&R Block's prospects, even if this year's tax season is already behind us.
Am I Diversified?
In the "Am I Diversified?" segment, Cramer spoke with callers and responded to tweets sent via Twitter to @JimCramer to see if investors' portfolios have what it takes for today's markets.
The first portfolio included General Electric (GE), Ventas (VTR), Banco Santander (SAN), Rayonier (RYN) and LinnCo (LNCO).
Cramer said this portfolio was properly diversified.
Cramer was also bullish on this well-diversified portfolio.
Cramer also blessed this portfolio as diversified.
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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt