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TheStreet Open House

Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Risk vs. Reward

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The stock market is all about risk and reward, Jim Cramer said on "Mad Money" Wednesday.

In today's market, the perfect analogy is Caterpillar (CAT) versus ConAgra (CAG).

Cramer explained that Caterpillar shares continue to slide thanks, in part, to weakened iron ore and mineral demand world wide. While the company's construction business is picking up, its mining equipment business continues to pull down the entire company, which caused yet another analyst downgrade for CAT earlier today. Shares now trade at just nine times earning and yield 2.5%.

Compare that to ConAgra, said Cramer, which trades at 14 times earnings with a 2.9% yield. While CAT continues to fall, raising its yield, ConAgra shares continue to climb, thereby lowering its yield. While CAT suffers from falling commodity prices, ConAgra benefits from lower food and packaging costs.

So which stock is the better buy? Cramer said ConAgra lets its shareholders sleep at night, while Caterpillar may still have further to fall. There may not be a lot of upside left in ConAgra, but the risk in CAT far exceeds the lack of rewards in ConAgra. He advised sticking with ConAgra for now and waiting for the bottom in CAT to materialize.

Executive Decision: Gary Evans

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Gary Evans, chairman and CEO of Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR), a stock that's fallen 39% since Cramer recommended it in February 2012. Since that recommendation, shares of Magnum Hunter have been plagued by falling natural gas production, accounting issues, a huge secondary offering of shares and missed earnings.

But after all of that, Cramer said Magnum may have finally turned a corner, finding a buyer for its Eagle Ford shale assets and giving the company a much-needed infusion of cash.

Evans said that it's taken a lot of capital to build out the company's positions in the Utica and Marcellus shale regions, investments that required the company take on a good amount of debt. However, they were able to make an 80% return on the sale of their Eagle Ford assets, which were the smallest of their positions.

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