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In a bearish market, investors should buy stocks that will insulate them from damage, Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday.
With a downturn imminent, it's important to buy stocks that will bounce back hardest. Cramer explained that the market showed gains today because institutions are propping up stocks to make quarterly performance look better. "It's markup season," he said.
One stock to watch is
, operator of the iconic Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, Cramer said. Although he hasn't liked Cracker Barrel in the past, the company has turned itself around.
Cramer said that although the American consumer is weak right now, making a casual-dining buy seem ill-advised, Cracker Barrel is not a casual-dining play.
Over the past year, Cracker Barrel has had the biggest buyback in percentage of shares outstanding of any company -- 54%. Usually, when a company buys back a substantial portion of its shares, it's taking itself private, Cramer said.
Just last week, Cracker Barrel announced a buyback of 1 million more shares. Cracker Barrel "is gobbling itself up," and its stock is not getting enough credit for that, Cramer said.
In addition to Cracker Barrel's massive buybacks, Cramer pointed to the company's consistency. It has paid a dividend every year since 1970. Cracker Barrel sold Logan's Roadhouse, a weak subsidiary, and revamped its menu to increase customer turnover and concentrate on higher-margin foods. That kind of strategic initiative generates actual results.
With 541 restaurants in 41 states, Cracker Barrel has hardly saturated the market, and the company has growth. Because Cracker Barrel has done nothing but fall lately, it's an undervalued buy.
'Economic Refugee' Stocks
Cramer again reminded viewers that, when faced with a slow-growth U.S., it's important to take a look at "economic refugees," businesses that are capable of shifting focus away from the U.S.' weak consumer.
is one such company. A conglomerate, Textron makes Cessna luxury jets, helicopters and military aircraft. Despite Textron's wide variety of products, investors should focus on the Cessna jets, Cramer said.
, a company that has been very successful at forecasting the aircraft business, predicts record sales of business jets, Cessna's bread and butter.
Additionally, the rest of the world will soon surpass America in business jet sales, making Textron a solid business-jet play. In 2004, Cesna got 36% of its revenue from rest-of-world sales, and that figure has risen to 40% today. In three or four years, Textron will make more from the rest of the world than it will from the U.S., Cramer said.
Congress is expected to pass a new military budget soon. This provides investors with a call option on Textron's helicopters, Cramer said.
The best way to make money is to look for companies such as Textron that can draw revenue from abroad, Cramer said.
President Bush just raised the defense budget by $50 billion, including $12.5 billion for mine-resistant vehicles, Cramer said. That development should point investors to
. The company trades on the Pink Sheets, meaning it is normally off limits for "Mad Money," but because it's on its way to being listed again on the
, Cramer feels comfortable recommending it to viewers.
CRT Capital Group, an investment bank, says that Navistar's regulatory issues and accounting irregularities will soon be resolved, meaning investors should look for the company when it begins trading again later this year. That bolsters Cramer's confidence in Navistar.
Navistar is mainly a truck and truck engine company, but it also makes mine-resistant-ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, funding for which will likely pass Congress.
Even most Democrats are going to vote for vehicles that will protect troops, Cramer said. With a 30% market share with trucks and truck engines, Navistar is also ripe for a takeover. Cramer compared the company to
, which is up 84% since Cramer recommended it, and
"Give Navistar a 14 multiple next year," Cramer told viewers. Right now the stock looks risky, but soon it could be money in the bank.
Bridge to Aecom
Cramer welcomed John Dioniso, CEO of
, an infrastructure technical service provider, to the show. Aecom's stock is up 50% since Cramer recommended it.
Cramer asked Dionisio if, in the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, Aecom has conducted further inquiries on bridges.
Dionisio noted that in America there are 500 bridges in the same position as the Minneapolis bridge before it collapsed and that his company has 250 bridge inspectors currently looking at bridges.
He pointed to deferred maintenance as the cause of problems for the bridges, many of which were built during the 1950s. Dionisio also discussed his company's green efforts, which constitute 50% of the company's business.
On any pullback, Cramer recommends pulling the trigger. In his opinion, Dionisio and Aecom are "money in the bank."
Cramer treated viewers to a special "Sell Block" today. Cramer said he had "become too greedy" regarding two stocks he'd introduced as good buys in June:
With Baidu up 116% since June and Focus up 28%, including 9% today, it's "time to ring the register," Cramer said.
The stocks still may rise, however, so Cramer advised viewers to sell the amount they've invested in Baidu and take half of Focus Media off the table to avoid a loss should these companies' stocks fall.
Cramer was bullish on
Procter & Gamble
Research In Motion
Cramer was bearish on
Buffalo Wild Wings
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Altria.
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