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Even on a day when the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
surged 494 points, Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show that he's trying to get to the bottom of what's behind the relentless selling in the markets.
He called the markets a "true financial Armageddon" where all asset classes, except Treasuries, are declining at an alarming rate, mirroring what happened during the Great Depression.
Cramer said stocks are taking the brunt of the decline because they're the most liquid asset class out there. He explained that in large portfolios, investments will span a range of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, and real estate. When these large funds need to raise cash, they turn to stocks.
In a lesser crisis, Cramer said large funds may have opted to sell bonds instead of stocks. But with bonds currently trading in such an illiquid state, funds are forced to sell equities, putting all of the burden on stocks, regardless of the underlying fundamentals.
Further compounding the problem, Cramer said there's a tremendous desire for mid-cap turned small-cap companies to take themselves private, but here too, with credit markets tight there is just no money available to do so.
Cramer said until the credit markets loosen, the forced selling stops and companies are able to take themselves private to escape the carnage, the market will not see a bottom.
He continued to advise investors to buy in small increments on the way down and sell into strength, like today, to raise cash.
Cramer: Citigroup Is Dead
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Cramer continued to recommend recession resistant stocks, companies with high dividend yields and companies trading at or near their cash values as the only safe investments.
Cramer talked with Michael Thaman, chairman and CEO of
, to see how this "Green Week" favorite is faring in the tough market.
Cramer last recommended Owens Corning on May 12 at $24 a share, and while its share price has been slashed in half, Cramer said the company continues to deliver on its earnings, reporting a better-than-expected quarter on strong demand for its roofing products.
Thaman said he's pleased with his company's performance and is happy with the progress it's made. He said the company remains exposed to the right types of opportunities and has operated well in the tough environment.
Thaman said he still sees good demand in the company's insulation and roofing business being driven by high energy prices over the summer.
He said that while Owens' wind turbine business has slowed in the U.S. due to tightening credit and lower fuel prices, demand globally, outside of Europe, remains strong.
Thaman said he also remains hopeful that energy efficiency will remain a priority for the country, despite the recent collapse in oil prices. He said a public policy that encourages energy efficiency could save the country as much as 30% to 50% in energy savings through better insulation and other initiatives.
On the company's finances, Thaman said he will continue to return the company's free cash to shareholders via the company's stock repurchase program.
At just $12 a share, Cramer called Owens Corning a buy, but said he won't pound the table in such the difficult market. He said on any weakness, however, he'd be a buyer.
Undoing Cox's Actions
There is one thing President-elect Obama could do today, said Cramer, that would put confidence back in the market while not costing the taxpayers a penny. "Repeal everything SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has done," he asserted.
Cramer called Cox a destroyer of capitalism, noting his decisions to remove the uptick rule, allow naked shortselling and permit group bear raids on stocks have single handedly destroyed a once great market.
Cramer said that after the Great Depression, Congress installed the uptick rule as a means of preventing the fear that we see today.
Under the rule, a seller must first wait for a buyer to take the stock higher before a stock can be shorted. "This is simple psychology," said Cramer.
Even in the 1930's, he explained, Congress knew that when stocks plummet, buyers disappear. Without the rule, shortsellers can take a stock lower and lower and lower without reprieve, instilling fear in the market.
Cramer said Cox's decision to remove the rule was largely influenced by hedge funds and not based on the facts. Likewise was his decision to allow group bear raids on stocks and allowing leveraged ETFs to control as much as two to three times the money in their funds.
The influence of the ETFs, said Cramer, can easily been seen in the last 30 minutes of the trading day, when the funds are able to move the markets wildly as they cover their positions.
Cramer urged Obama to stop the fear and return capitalism back to the markets. He said Cox must be replaced and his legacy reversed.
A High Octane Stock
Cramer talked with Mark Benioff, chairman and CEO of
, a stock which he called one of the last high octane growth stocks out there.
Benioff said Salesforce just reported a spectacular quarter with 43% revenue growth, great earnings growth and the highest number of new customers ever. He said Salesforce remains focused on its customers and is doubling its efforts to keep them happy.
Benioff went on further to say that Salesforce is the No. 1 market leader in their business and that there's never been a better time for the comapny's pay-as-you-go business model. He said the company showed growth all quarter long, despite the dramatic changes in the market.
Cramer said when the market begins to care again about growth, Salesforce.com is the place to be.
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At the time of publication, Cramer was not long on any stock.
Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for TheStreet.com, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of TheStreet.com 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 TheStreet.com, 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 TheStreet.com is related to the specific opinions expressed by him on "Mad Money."
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