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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Some of the market's "losing" stocks are getting back into the game, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. Only this time, they're playing better than ever.
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Cramer said Walmart (WMT) is one such stock. After posting declining same store sales, Wal-Mart today delivered an upside surprise that sent shares up 4.7%. The company's new, smaller-format stores are a big hit with shoppers and Walmart had a strong back-to-school and Halloween season on the heels of cheaper gasoline and improving employment.
Also surprising to the upside was Cisco (CSCO) , which posted strong results in both the U.S. and Europe, as it declared victory over its rivals.
Cramer was also bullish on Boeing (BA) , noting that the company's Dreamliner issues should pass soon, right as defense spending begins to increase. Disney (DIS) also made Cramer's radar screen, as that company's movie lineup continues to impress investors.
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With shares of J.C. Penney (JCP) taking another 8.5% plunge, is it time for investors to start bottom fishing? Cramer said "not so fast."
While Cramer admitted that Penney, under CEO Mike Ullman, has made remarkable strides over the past 18 months to get itself back on course, trivals haven't been standing still. That leaves Penney at a sizable disadvantage.
Both Macy's (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) have been investing heavily in technology, Cramer explained, creating an omnichannel strategy where customers can buy online and pickup in store, or vice versa. JC Penney, however, still needs to play catch-up, and that will take both money and time to complete.
Cramer said while Penney may seem like a bargain at $7 a share, when it comes to value, Macy's at $61 a share offers a lot more going into this holiday season.
Nobody knows a company better than its own management, Cramer told viewers, which is why when management authorizes a huge share buyback, investors should be buying too.
Cramer's long been a fan of stock buyback programs, as they offer a cushion of support for a stock while boosting earnings by reducing the number of shares outstanding. While not all buybacks are created equal, those like Dow Chemical (DOW) , which is retiring 17% of its total market cap, should get investors' attention.
Cramer said he's also a fan of Flextronics (FLEX) and Jack in the Box (JACK) for their buyback programs. Flextronics is buying back nearly a third of itself, while Jack is retiring 15% of its shares and could purchase up to 20%.
Executive Decision: Cheryl Bachelder
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI) , the restaurant chain that just posted a 7.3% increase in same store sales. Shares of Popeyes are up 29% since Cramer last checked in back in late August.
Bachelder attributed Popeye's continued successes to its stream of innovative new menu items that keep guests coming back to their restaurants time and time again. She said people often drive for miles to come to a Popeyes.
When asked how their menu stacks up against the healthy eating trend, Bachelder said that Popeyes menu is all about delicious food and more than anything, guests want quality food, great flavors and lots of choices. Popeyes offers plenty of low-calorie choices, she noted.
Finally, when asked about international opportunities, Bachelder reiterated that Popeyes' food travels well and there are plenty of opportunities for expansion overseas.
Cramer called Bachelder a "bankable CEO" that investors can trust.
Cramer was bearish on Autodesk (ADSK) , Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) , Eastman Kodak (KODK) , Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) , DCT Industrial Trust (DCT) , Western Refining (WNR) and Fairmount Santrol (FMSA) .
Executive Decision: Jim Travers
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Jim Travers, chairman and CEO of FleetMatics (FLTX) , the vehicle fleet management provider that saw its shares fall 4.6% upon receiving an analyst downgrade..
Travers explained that FleetMatics provides small- to medium-sized businesses with the ability to monitor their vehicle fleets in real-time to optimize utilization, improve efficiency and even recover stolen vehicles quickly.
With over 523,000 subscribers, Travers said the FleetMatics advantage is in the size of their database and the historical insights they can deliver to companies that typically haven't managed their fleets previously.
When asked about the downgrade, which cited full market penetration as a big downside for FleetMatics, Travers said that their own third-party research indicated only 12% to 15% penetration, so they feel there is still plenty of room to grow.
Cramer said if he were a small business owner, he'd definitely look into FleetMatics.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.
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