Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Where's the Economy Headed? Check the Railroads

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- How can investors determine what's really going on with the economy? Jim Cramer said on Mad Money Wednesday they should forget about using interest rates, commodity prices or the latest retail earnings for guidance. To learn how the economy is really doing, just look at Union Pacific ( UNP) .

Cramer said when it comes to reading the economy, nothing offers a better picture than the transports,  especially the rails. If it's being made, it needs to be shipped, Cramer continued, and that means Union Pacific, which reached an all-time high today.

Just look at what Union Pacific ships, Cramer said: 20% of its earnings stems from intermodal shipments, while another 20% comes from industrial products, mainly materials used in housing like timber. Union Pacific also ships fracking sand, which gives investors a read on oil and energy. Then there are autos, coal and chemicals, which are all strong except for coal.

Coal used to be a gauge of heavy industrial production and power generation, Cramer said, but with our country rapidly moving away from coal and towards natural gas, coal is no longer an indicator of anything in particular.

So what does Union Pacific tell us? Cramer said the economy is strong and growing with continued low interest rates -- the perfect environment for stocks to go higher.

Executive Decision: Irwin Simon

For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Irwin Simon, chairman, president and CEO of Hain Celestial (HAIN) , a stock that soared 11% today on a fantastic quarter that saw 59% growth.

Simon said healthy eating is not a fad or a trend, its here to stay and is only getting bigger. There is still over $800 billion of conventional food consumed in our country, he continued, so if Hain picks up even 1% of market share it will mean huge growth for the company.

When asked why people are choosing to eat healthier, Simon credited the Internet. He said the information is finally getting to consumers and never before have so many people been interested in what's in their food. Reading labels is in, Simon noted, while canned soup, high fructose corn syrup and even dairy items are on their way out.

Given the outbreak of health issues from allergies to obesity, Simon said it's no wonder so many people are making the switch.

Cramer said the move in Hain is not done and this stock has a lot more to run.

Wall of Shame

In a special segment, Cramer made a new induction onto his "Wall of Shame" list of the worst CEOs. He said that Mark Frissora, chairman and CEO of rental car giant Hertz Global (HTZ) , proves once again that execution matters and having the right management makes all the difference.

Cramer said Frissora proves that even in a booming industry, the right management can snatch defeat from the hands of victory. You may recall that Cramer actually recommended Hertz after CNBC's Delivering Alpha conference at the end of July. His theory then was that Hertz, now in a happy oligopoly, should do well and have the added bonus of its equipment rental business spinoff.

But that recommendation came with a caveat. Cramer said in July that Frissora had to deliver and put the company's accounting issues behind it. However, when Hertz reported, earnings were bad, forecasts even worse and the spinoff was delayed.

Hertz just blew it, Cramer concluded, which is why Frissora now sits on the "Wall of Shame."

D-Now Is the Time

For the next installment of his "Behind the Boom" series focusing on America's oil and gas revolution, Cramer spoke with Robert Workman, CEO of DistributionNOW (DNOW) , the recent spinoff from National Oilwell Varco (NOV) that provides maintenance and repair supplies to the industry.

Now that the spinoff is complete, DistributionNOW, or D-NOW, has a pristine balance sheet that will allow it to make acquisitions and grow quickly, Workman said. He said while the company's first quarter as an independent company has a lot of moving parts that made gauging earnings difficult, it is performing very well.

When asked about all the different parts of the oil business, Workman said D-NOW participates in every segment of the market, from drilling and midstream to pipelines and refineries. He said there are many opportunities for his company to grow.

Cramer said he likes the D-NOW story, but with oil on the decline the stock will need to settle in before it goes higher.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Best Buy (BBY) , Polaris Industries (PII) , Palo Alto Networks (PANW) , Boeing (BA) , BHP Billiton (BHP) , Activision Blizzard (ATVI) , Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) and Cabela's (CAB) .

Cramer was bearish on Harley Davidson (HOG) , FireEye (FEYE) , RTI International Metals (RTI) and Smith Wesson (SWHC) .

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 Boeing, Costco (COST) , Celgene (CELG) , CoreLabs (CLB) and Bank of America (BAC) .

Cramer said he was a big fan of this portfolio as it was perfectly diversified.

The second portfolio's top holdings included Boeing, General Motors (GM) , Oracle (ORCL) , Walgreen (WAG) and Verizon (VZ) .

Cramer also blessed this portfolio as properly diversified with a little dividend yield to boot.

The third portfolio had Starbucks (SBUX) , Nike (NKE) , Walgreen, Facebook (FB) and Macy's (M) as its top five stocks.

Cramer said this had too much retail exposure with Macy's, Nike and Starbucks. He suggested selling Macy's and adding a stock like Cigna (CI) .

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

To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here.

-- 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 BA, BAC, FB, GM, ORCL, SBUX and WAG

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