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Cramer revisits a pre-FANG acronym to see if those stocks kept growing

Before there was FANG, Jim Cramer's acronym for the stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, now Alphabet, the "Mad Money" host had another group of growth stocks to watch.

"Lately, I've gotten so sick of hearing about how FANG's finished, crushed, over, roadkill, all that other stuff ... that I decided to dust off the CANDIES in order to show how things really work with growth stocks. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised to see that, seven years later, the CANDIES are still crushing it," Cramer said.

In fact, Cramer found that the CANDIES stocks — Chipotle, Apple, Netflix, Deckers, Intuitive Surgical, Express Scripts, and Salesforce.com — are up 281 percent on average since he formed the acronym in 2010, versus 121 percent for the S&P 500 index.

The "Mad Money" host picked these particular names because they were some of the best growth stocks of the time, and oddly, they remain some of the strongest performers today.

Watch the full segment here:

Chipotle shares have run up 209 percent since CANDIES' creation and is up nearly 22 percent for the year, a testament to the stock's strength despite its 2015 E.coli incidents.

Cramer chose the fast-casual chain because it was the most highly valued restaurant chain at the time, delivering the best same-store sales numbers of anyone in its class.

"There were never enough Chipotle's, and its highest quality problem? The lines were too long," he said. "It's been 15 months since the last outbreak and the stock's been doing, well, what we said it would be doing: rallying as people forget the past. But it's been a tough slog."

Apple's stock is up 312 percent since CANDIES formed, with a 34 percent rise in 2017 alone. And while some analysts knock the consumer tech giant's lack of innovation, Cramer is not so convinced.

"I am tired of reading about Apple's lack of innovation since Steve Jobs died. Jobs lived a little more than a year after the CANDIES were launched and the stock did go from $35 to $55 during that period, but that's a far cry from its total 312 percent gain, most accruing under the Tim Cook era," the "Mad Money" host said. "I think Apple's innovated well beyond what anyone else has done in the consumer space and the quality has only improved with each iteration [and] each product."

Netflix, the biggest winner and the only CANDIES stock that made it to FANG, ran up 938 percent since the first acronym's inception and has rallied 34 percent this year.

"I picked it seven years ago because my kids were cord-cutters from way back. They turned me on to the platform [as] something we could do together," Cramer said. "I wish I could say there was more thought was behind it, but there wasn't, just like with Apple."

Deckers was one of the more disappointing stocks, up only 35 percent since CANDIES' creation, though it has climbed 25 percent for 2017.

Cramer said Uggs brand parent has fallen out of relevance, even with Oprah Winfrey's endorsement, and that the stock is only up now on takeover rumors.

Intuitive Surgical has run 176 percent since CANDIES formed with a 47 percent run this year, and Cramer was surprised the stock did not run more given the strength of the business.

"Intuitive Surgical has parlayed its Da Vinci surgical machine into multiple markets and is beloved by hospitals as a selling point for patients who can choose where they want to go," he said.

Express Scripts, the most unfortunate of the bunch, is only up 17 percent since 2010 and is down 12 percent for the year. The pharmacy benefits manager, which Cramer called a "widely reviled" middleman, recently lost its biggest client, Anthem, and shares have since been weak.

Finally, there is Cramer-fave Salesforce, which has run 283 percent since 2010 and 33 percent for 2017.

The "Mad Money" host said Salesforce has consistently delivered under CEO Marc Benioff as the company seized on its pioneer cloud business and branched out to serve various sectors.

"Conclusions? First, this market, like all markets, has a fascination with growth, especially in the era of stifled economic activity. It never mattered how expensive that growth was — these were all super expensive — as long as the company in question didn't stop growing, as Deckers and Express Scripts did. Second, listen to your kids, but you've still got to do your homework," Cramer said.

Cramer said he got plenty of these ideas from his kids, from Chipotle to Apple to Netflix to Domino's, and that it is worth paying attention to the names that are staring you in the face.

"With the exception of Express Scripts, the CANDIES were all right in front of you, available to everyone," he said. "A buy and homework rap would've made you a killing. The moral? The CANDIES say don't be scared to buy the growth stocks you believe in, as long as you've got the temperament to stick with them long term."

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