When the market is in "beast mode," it's going to feed on anything in its path, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday, and just like us, the beast needs a well-balanced diet.
For the past few weeks, the beast has been feeding on nothing but the industrials, conglomerates and transports, Cramer said, and that's just not healthy over the long term.
But today, the beast had new targets in its sights, including the financials, which are not only cheap but also benefit from both deregulation and rising interest rates. Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , Bank of America (BAC) and even Wells Fargo (WFC) all ended the day higher.
Even good old-fashioned paper and chemicals roared to life today, with International Paper (IP) closing up 1.6%. Investors also clamored for Domino's Pizza (DPZ) , up 2.9%, ahead of the company's analyst day next week.
Cramer and the AAP team taking some profits on DXC Technology (DXC) . Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
Executive Decision: Dominion Energy
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer again checked in with Tom Farrell, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Energy (D) , which announced on Wednesday the acquisition of Scana (SCG) , a South Carolina-based utility, for $14.6 billion.
Farrell explained that there's been a lot of uncertainty in South Carolina as Scana was forced to abandon a $10 billion nuclear facility project. Dominion hopes to help Scana customers by offering $1.3 billion in refunds to Scana customers within the first 90 days of the deal.
Farrell said that aside from the nuclear issue, growth and opportunities are great in South Carolina and given that Dominion is six times larger than Scana, they can afford to bring their resources to help remedy what has been years of higher rates and uncertainty. Despite the customer payouts, Dominion expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings.
Dominion is also in the final stages of commissioning its first natural gas export terminal in Virginia. Farrell said that after five years of planning and construction, they have 20-year contracts in place with partners in Japan and India for American-sourced gas.
Finally, when asked whether nuclear power was essentially dead after the Scana issues, Farrell said that longer-term, he thinks more nuclear plants, especially smaller facilities, may be built, but certainly nothing short term.
Cramer commended Farrell for thinking big and thinking of both customers and shareholders.
Best of the S&P 500
What can investors glean from the top 10 performers in the S&P 500 last year? Cramer ran down the list to see which companies are most likely to repeat their performance again this year.
Among Cramer's top picks were Align Technology (ALGN) , up 138% in 2017, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) , Wynn Resorts (WYNN) , Paypal (PYPL) and chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) . He also noted that Boeing (BA) , which was featured on Tuesday's episode of "Mad Money," also remains a top pick for 2018.
Cramer was not as bullish on NRG energy (NRG) , the top stock in the S&P last year, nor commodity chipmaker Micron Technology (MU) . He was also not fond of homebuilders D.R. Horton (DHI) and Pulte Homes (PHM) , now that the Federal Reserve is actively raising interest rates.
Executive Decision: Planet Fitness
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Chris Rondeau, CEO of Planet Fitness Inc. (PLNT) , the healthclub chain with 1,500 locations and shares that added 72% last year.
Rondeau said that when retailers close stores, that's great news for Planet Fitness, as landlords are clamoring for locations that drive tons of traffic, especially during off hours. The Planet Fitness model has proven itself to work everywhere, and the chain now has locations in all 50 states.
Rondeau added that 43% of their members have never belonged to gym before. They appreciate the comfortable, non-intimidating atmosphere while the company maximizes efficiencies through its scale.
Planet Fitness is far from done growing, Rondeau said, as the company has development agreements already in place for another 1,000 locations across the nation.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said we're at a crossroads on foreign trade policy and that will create a lot of opportunities for investors.
At issue is whether the Commerce Department, headed by Wilbur Ross, will declare that China's dumping of low-cost steel and aluminum is creating a national security issue for the U.S. Cramer thinks Ross will do just that.
But unlike the pundits, who will scream "trade war" immediately after the decision, the truth is that we're already in a trade war and have been for years. And we've been losing.
Ultimately, Cramer said he expect China to yield on this issue, as the U.S. is a huge end market for so many Chinese goods that is seems pointless to fight for a single industry. But even if the Chinese go head to head with us, the outcome will be a stronger U.S. steel industry, which is good for the country and for shareholders.
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