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) -- The dogs will remain dogs, but the thoroughbreds are still worth betting on. That was Jim Cramer's assessment of the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

going into 2013.

Cramer told his

"Mad Money"

viewers Thursday that 2013 should be a lot better than 2012 for the Dow, and he gave a quick assessment of all the Dow stocks to show why.

Starting from the best performers in 2012, Cramer said that

Bank Of America

(BAC) - Get Report

remains cheap, despite its 108% gain last year. Bigger gains will come, he said, as the housing recovery continues.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

continues to take market share, which makes that stock a winner as well.

Cramer said that

Walt Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

can extend its 32% rally last year thanks to strong attendance at its parks and strong entertainment properties. And while he's not as bullish on

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report


American Express

(AXP) - Get Report



(TRV) - Get Report

, Cramer expects all three to still have a good 2013.

Cramer was also bullish on

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, a stock he owns for his charitable trust,

Action Alerts PLUS, along with


(PFE) - Get Report



(MMM) - Get Report


United Technologies

(UTX) - Get Report

, all stocks he said should be able to at least match last year's slow-growth performance.

His only bearish call in the slow-growth group, Wal-Mart, in the face of a weaker U.S. consumer going into 2013.

Cramer said


(T) - Get Report

will allow investors to sleep at night, while


(CSCO) - Get Report

should see its shares rise in 2013. Meanwhile,


(MRK) - Get Report

needs a big catalyst to match its 8.6% performance last year and Cramer doesn't see one.

He felt


(VZ) - Get Report

will likely play catchup this year, while

United Healthcare

(UNH) - Get Report

will do poorly without job creation.

Then there were the dogs of the Dow, the under-performers. Cramer was bullish on

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report



(IBM) - Get Report

, another Action Alerts PLUS name, and felt that


(KO) - Get Report

should be able to beat its 3.6% gain in 2012, as should


(BA) - Get Report

given the aerospace cycle. His only worry is


(MSFT) - Get Report

, a stock he said is "hard to love."

Cramer was lukewarm on

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report



(CVX) - Get Report

, but gave Chevron, an Action Alerts PLUS name, the edge. He was bearish on


(AA) - Get Report



(DD) - Get Report

and said he doesn't trust


(MCD) - Get Report


Cramer made an exception for


(CAT) - Get Report

, calling that dog of the Dow undervalued, but rounded out the group by saying that


(INTC) - Get Report

will likely remain flat in 2013 and the worst performer,


(HPQ) - Get Report

could only save the averages by being booted from them, even with it's 44% loss for 2012.

Executive Decision

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Charif Souki, chairman and CEO of

Cheniere Energy

(LNG) - Get Report

, a company that plans to export U.S.-born natural gas to the rest of the world. Shares of Cheniere are up 147% since Cramer first spoke with Souki in June 2011, and 18% since his last visit in September.

Souki said it takes a lot of time and money to follow the rules and get approval to build an export terminal in the U.S., but that's what Cheniere has been able to do and why it will be the first to have an export terminal online in mid to late 2015, a full year ahead of schedule.

He said that while he expects others to follow in Cheniere's footsteps, his company's Louisiana facility will certainly be the first and will enjoy many years of successes.

Souki also expressed how urgent the need is to do something with our natural gas. He said gas is produced as a byproduct of producing more oil and, to date, the industry is simply "flaring," or burning off, more gas than it uses just to get rid of it. He said the practice is wasteful and bad for the environment, but it's being done more and more as our country struggles to do something with its energy policies.

Souki also confirmed that Cheniere is not in need of additional equity to complete its facility and thus won't be diluting shareholders with more equity offerings anytime soon. That news left Cramer speechless, as he said there are few companies he follows that have such an excellent story to tell.

A Deal That Sticks

In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman, president and CEO of

Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

, on the heels of the company's acquisition of Skippy peanut butter. Shares of Hormel are up 14% since Cramer recommended it in May 2012 and are flirting with their 52-week highs.

Ettinger said Hormel is emerging as a leader in the sandwich market and the company now has a strong presence three of the top four sandwich categories. He said Skippy will enhance Hormel's business model and he's confident in their projections for both growth and margins.

When asked how Hormel will be able to run Skippy better than giant


(UL) - Get Report

, Ettinger said Hormel excels in niche areas and has proven it can hold its own against bigger competitors. Skippy also fits well into Hormel's international strategy, particularly in China.

Skippy also gives Hormel a bigger footprint into the healthy eating category, noted Ettinger, and fits into Hormel's plans to build a broad portfolio of brands that span multiple categories and channels. Ettinger said the Skippy deal was not a strain on his company's balance sheet and the company remains committed to its dividend and its long history of paying one.

Cramer called the Skippy deal "transformative" for Hormel.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on

Whiting Petroleum

(WLL) - Get Report


Becton Dickinson

(BDX) - Get Report


Hain Celestial

(HAIN) - Get Report


Whole Foods Markets



Sprint Nextel

(S) - Get Report


Cramer was bearish on


(MDT) - Get Report


The Geo Group

(GEO) - Get Report


Mako Surgical




(AMRN) - Get Report





Am I Diversified?

In the "Am I Diversified?" segment, Cramer spoke with callers and responded to tweets sent via Twitter to


to see if investors' portfolios have what it takes for today's markets.

The first portfolio included:


(SBUX) - Get Report



(FB) - Get Report



(AAPL) - Get Report



(MCD) - Get Report





Cramer said that he's not a fan of McDonald's or Pandora and would add an industrial and a health-care or drug stock to complete this portfolio.

The second portfolio's top holdings included:

3D Systems

(DDD) - Get Report



(CHS) - Get Report


United Rentals

(URI) - Get Report





Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report


Cramer advised selling Neustar and adding a health-care stock in order to diversify this portfolio.

The third portfolio had:


(KEY) - Get Report


Cheniere Energy

(LNG) - Get Report


Valero Energy

(VLO) - Get Report





SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get Report

as its top five stocks.

Cramer said this portfolio has too much energy with Valero and Cheniere so he once again advised selling Valero in favor of a health-care stock.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer reminded viewers that while most retail stocks are cheap, only a few are worth buying.


(JWN) - Get Report

remains outstanding, while both

Ross Stores

(ROST) - Get Report



(TGT) - Get Report

delivered stronger than expected results.

Cramer said

Gap Stores

(GPS) - Get Report

remains a favorite after the company's brilliant acquisition, but the dollar stores, like

Family Dollar


, are getting squeezed hard.

"Don't bottom-fish," warned Cramer, as retail remains as dicey an investment as ever.

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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.

To email Scott about this article, click here:

Scott Rutt

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL, CAT, CVX, DD, GE, IBM, KEY, KO, SBUX, UTX and WFC.

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.