Poised for the Times
In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Tony Alexander, president and CEO of FirstEnergy (FE), a utility that's returned 90% to shareholders over the past decade when factoring in reinvested dividends.
Alexander noted that with FirstEnergy's fleet of power plants, including nuclear, renewable, natural gas and clean coal generating facilities, are poised to fair well against ever-tightening EPA regulations. He said the company anticipates spending only $2 billion to $3 billion on upgrades over the next few years, well within what the company's balance sheet can support.
When asked about the company's dividend, Alexander said that FirstEnergy's dividend remains of paramount concern and a focus for the company.Alexander also noted that with the Utica and Marcellus shale formations within the company's service area, FirstEnergy is very bullish on natural gas. He said that generating capacity will most certainly shift towards the clean, plentiful fuel source as dirtier options like coal become harder and harder to maintain. Finally, when asked about the economic picture in FirstEnergy's service area, which is mainly the mid-atlantic. Alexander said that while industrial levels are not back to 2007 levels, they are improving and there are several positives, including the automotive and steel sectors as well as the continued development of natural gas. Cramer said that a company like FirstEnergy is exactly what investors need in their portfolios during times like these.
Playing Good Defense"In this market, you need stocks that play a good defense," Cramer reminded viewers, as he highlighted Microchip Technology (MCHP), one of the few technology companies with a sizable dividend yield. Cramer explained that Microchip manufactures micro-controllers for everything from autos to appliances, but unlike many of the highest-tech chips, micro-controllers don't require billions of dollars of new equipment every year. Instead, Microchip manufactures its own chips using older technology and makes a fortune doing it. Microchip last reported on Aug. 4 with a penny-a-share earnings beat on a bump in revenues of 4.9%. The company reported inline guidance however, sending shares near its 52-week lows with the broader markets. That said, Cramer noted that shares of Microchip, which now trade at 10 times earnings when you back out the company's $8 a share in cash, will likely fall even lower with the markets. Cramer said he'd wait until shares yield 5% before beginning to build a position.
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