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Jim Cramer celebrated his 500th episode of "Mad Money" with viewers of his TV show Monday and guest callers Regis Philbin and New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
He's screamed, tossed chairs and pushed sound-effect buttons through 500 episodes, Cramer said, and believe it or not, the show has evolved and gotten smarter. And his doctor forbade him from throwing chairs.
Through it all, Cramer said he's had the same mission and the same mantra.
The mantra, he said, has been "bulls make money, bears make money and hogs get slaughtered," but the mission is a bit more complicated.
Cramer said he could have stayed at his hedge fund and made more money, but there was a stronger calling for him: to help others make money. He said he is able to be an impartial adviser because he doesn't have any money in the game. Cramer said he does have a trust,
Action Alerts PLUS, whose profits go to charities.
"I know the market of stocks and bonds is dull and dry," he said, adding that he wants "to help you make money, but for that you need to pay attention." That's why his show has all the props, screaming and costumes, he said -- to keep market players interested and get them in the game.
After a year on the job, Cramer said he found he wasn't doing enough to educate viewers. The show, he said, was all about stocks. He realized this and made some changes to "Mad Money," introducing educational segments such as the "Sell Block," to bring more accountability to the show and to explain his thought processes.
"I've tried to empower you to make money -- not shelter you from the market," Cramer said. "And that's what I'll keep doing."
He shouted out special thanks to
executives and his staff at the network, after which he took a phone call from Regis Philbin, co-host of ABC's
Live with Regis and Kelly
morning talk show.
Philbin congratulated Cramer on his 500th show and said that Cramer brings "a lot of excitement, a lot of fun and advice." Philbin said he's been watching "Mad Money" for many years and asked Cramer what he thought of some of his stock picks.
Cramer told Philbin to stick with his
stock. "I am still bullish on it," he said. "We have to give
CEO Dick Parsons the chance to take it to $30." TWX closed at $20.61 Monday.
, another stock in Philbin's portfolio, is one of few tech stocks Cramer said he endorses.
However, when Philbin asked about
, Cramer said he would sell it because the stock "has hurt a lot of people."
The Worst and Schnitzel
Injecting some seriousness to the celebration, Cramer opened his "Mad Money" vault and shared his worst mistakes so that viewers could learn from them.
Any discussion of Cramer mistakes has to start with
Dick's Sporting Goods
, he said. In August 2005, Cramer recommended Dick's as a buy the night before the company reported earnings.
The next morning, Dick's reported a terrible quarter. "I put my head on the block, and Dick's cut it off," he said. "This was an 18% loss overnight, and it doesn't get much worst than that."
However, Cramer said he learned a valuable lesson here. Buying a stock right before the company reports means after-hours trading; and if people buy after hours, they could get slaughtered by the shorts, he said. Cramer said he would never make this mistake again.
Another blunder worth mentioning is
Montpelier Re Holdings
, he said. MRH is a reinsurance company that had placed all of its eggs in one basket -- the Southeast region of the U.S.
At the height of his confidence, Cramer said he suggested buying MRH right before Hurricane Katrina. "It has still not recovered," he said. "This one really humbled me."
Cramer said when he recommended MRH he thought the stock's price would obviously go down before a big storm, but there was a small chance the company would lose money because of it. Cramer figured MRH would bounce back after the storm; however, Katrina turned out to be a bigger disaster than anyone thought.
In April 2006, Cramer told viewers, he said he would pay $18 for
initial public offering, and the stock dropped to $12 two months later.
He thought Sealy would do well because other IPOs were having successful turnouts. But unfortunately, the market for newly public stocks was tapped out. Plus, Sealy was a "low-quality IPO," Cramer said.
Fannie Be Tender
For his 500th episode, Cramer said he has a special stock from a company that is as American as apple pie:
Even though the stock is up, Cramer said he's not backing away from it. The financial house was shaky and is now about to be put in order, which should bring "tons" of upgrades for the stock, he said.
And if people wait for the upgrades before getting into Fannie Mae, "it will be too late," Cramer said.
Fannie Mae, while a "quasigovernment" name, is undoubtedly a "money machine," he said. And because it's not just another financial stock, he said, if the Democrats take over Congress, Fannie Mae should benefit.
"When the Republicans controlled Congress, they were doing everything they could to send the big repackages of mortgages to the major banks instead of Fannie Mae," Cramer explained. "But the Democrats put a stop to that when they took both Houses last November."
There are other reasons to buy the stock, too. Because it's backed by the government, Fannie Mae can issue bonds more cheaply than can private companies, Cramer said. It also has a great insurance business that no one talks about, and the company just boosted its dividend.
And the extra capital it has could be handed back to shareholders or used for buybacks, Cramer added.
Qwest, What's Up?
On May 10,
CEO Richard Notebaert came on as a guest and said he was not about to retire anytime soon.
That was a month ago, Cramer said. And now the CEO has in fact retired. "This is unexpected" -- and fishy -- Cramer said, adding that Notebaert was the reason he was advising people to buy Qwest.
He put Qwest in the "Sell Block" for now, and said he would be a buyer of
, which dropped four points today.
Cramer was bullish on
Blue Coat Systems
Cramer was bearish on
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long NYSE Euronext and Fannie Mae.
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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