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The economy is the key metric that counts on Wall Street, Jim Cramer told the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday.

He said that it appears Wall Street defies gravity unless investors know which metrics are the ones that matter.

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Consider today's earnings announcements from

Bristol-Myers Squibb



Fortune Brands

( FO). They should've been an easy call.

Bristol-Myers reported earnings that beat the estimates, with solid top-line growth, while Fortune Brands said it expects its first quarter to be "difficult" and cut its dividend from 42 cents a share to just 19 cents a share.

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So why was Bristol-Myers down 89 cents, while Fortune Brands shot up $1.42? Cramer said it's easy when you know which metrics Wall Street is looking for. The economy, he said trumps everything, even earnings.

Cramer said a rising tide does not lift all boats. When the economy begins to recover, Wall Street only rewards those poised to capitalize on growth, while it discards the defensive stocks like Bristol-Myers.

Over the last 12 months, Bristol-Myers has a total return of -6%, while Fortune Brands has a total return of -42%. But since Wall Street cares only about the future, and not the past, the conclusion is that Fortune Brands has room to run, while Bristol-Myers will likely mark time.

Fortune Brands has upside, said Cramer, and that's why it's being rewarded.

Housing Bottom Nears

With housing "still the key to everything," Cramer spoke with Mori Hosseini, chairman and CEO of the privately held ICI Homes, to find out just how close a bottom in the housing market might be.

According to Hosseini, the price of their homes stopped declining in February, and the company is seeing a recovery similar to that seen in 2001 and 2005. In the first week of April, the company sold 80 new homes in Florida, where it operates, he said.

Hosseini said while things are still not good, the velocity of sales is picking up, despite skepticism from the media and even from within ICI Homes. He said the simple fact remains that it's cheaper to buy a home, than rent.

While stopping short of calling a housing bottom either this summer or fall, Hosseini said the bottom is definitely coming.

Off the Charts

In this segment, Cramer again went head to head with colleague Rick Bensignor over the chart of

Yum Brands


, a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust,

Action Alerts PLUS, to see whether the technical analysis or the fundamentals are in charge of the stock's direction.

According to Bensignor, this is the wrong time to buy Yum! Brands. He said the stock is poised for a pullback, and the buyers are exhausted. The charts indicate resistance as the stock's old uptrend line and recent downtrend line from its highs are both signaling technical investors to stay away, he said.

The fundamentals tell a different story. Cramer called Yum! Brands the best house in an increasingly good neighborhood. Cramer said Yum! Brands is a winner with growth, growth and more growth. The company has a strong balance sheet, declining input costs, great exposure to China, and countless other factors pulling in it's favor.

Instead of a 5%-to-6% decline in operating income as expected, Yum Brands posted a 4.5% increase and reiterated its full-year guidance. Cramer said a small pullback may be in order since the stock has run up 57% from it's low's, but he reiterated a buy on the stock on any weakness.

Mad Mail

Cramer told a viewer that

LAM Research


, along with




Novellus Systems


, are all buys at this point in the economic cycle, despite missed earnings and other negatives.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on

Enterprise Products Partners



Union Pacific



Darden Restaurants






He was bearish on

Blue Coat Systems

( BCSI),




Williams Companies



Kansas City Southern



Buffalo Wild Wings



Check out the latest edition of

"Cramer's Take onTop-Searched Stocks" on Stockpickr.

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For "Mad Money" performance statistics and other links, check out Mad Money stats

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Yum! Brands, Union Pacific.

Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of or its affiliates, or CNBC, NBC UNIVERSAL or their parent company or affiliates. Mr. Cramer's opinions are based upon information he considers to be reliable, but neither, nor CNBC, nor either of their affiliates and/or subsidiaries warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. Mr. Cramer's statements are based on his opinions at the time statements are made, and are subject to change without notice. No part of Mr. Cramer's compensation from CNBC or is related to the specific opinions expressed by him on "Mad Money."

None of the information contained in "Mad Money" constitutes a recommendation by Mr. Cramer, or CNBC that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You must make your own independent decisions regarding any security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy mentioned on the program. Mr. Cramer's past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance. Neither Mr. Cramer, nor, nor CNBC guarantees any specific outcome or profit, and you should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investments discussed on the program. The strategy or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than you invested. Before acting on any information contained in the program, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser.

Some of the stocks mentioned by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are held in Mr. Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio. When that is the case, appropriate disclosure is made on the program and in the "Mad Money" recap available on The Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio contains all of Mr. Cramer's personal investments in publicly-traded equity securities only, and does not include any mutual fund holdings or other institutionally managed assets, private equity investments, or his holdings in, Inc. Since March 2005, the Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio has been held by a Trust, the realized profits from which have been pledged to charity. Mr. Cramer retains full investment discretion with respect to all securities contained in the Trust. Mr. Cramer is subject to certain trading restrictions, and must hold all securities in the Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio for at least one month, and is not permitted to buy or sell any security he has spoken about on television or on his radio program for five days following the broadcast.