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NEW YORK (
) -- The U.S. economy is improving, and markets would be even higher if Europe didn't matter, Jim Cramer's told his
Perhaps the biggest driver for U.S. growth is, of all things, housing. Cramer said recent home sales data showed strength in the four hardest-hit areas of the country: Miami and Naples in Florida, Phoenix in Arizona and Orange County in California. A number of things have happened to create this improvement: The glut of foreclosures has dwindled, new-home inventory is down, homes are affordable, consumer confidence has blossomed and banks are providing the credit needed for purchasing.
In addition, Cramer said raw-material costs are falling for builders while gasoline and heating oil costs are falling for consumers, helping to add to the robust growth we're seeing. As job growth continues and the housing market builds steam, Cramer said it's no wonder stocks such as
are hitting 52-week highs despite recent bribery allegations in Mexico. At the same time, car sales continue to strengthen.
Other market positives include the upcoming U.S. presidential election since, according to Cramer, the markets win no matter who gets elected; and a slew of recent acquisitions and initial public offerings.
Despite its many problems, Cramer noted the
IPO did bring excitement and new money into the markets. The recent acquisitions by
are also adding fuel to investors' market appetite.
However, for the time being all eyes must remain on Europe, Cramer said, because for all the many positive things happening in the U.S., they won't matter if the European economy continued to implode.
ExactTarget IPO Overshadowed by Facebook
In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Scott Dorsey, CEO of
, a recent IPO that got lost in the Facebook fever. Shares of ExactTarget popped 32% on their first day of trading only to pull back. The stock currently trades at four times forward sales, as the company has yet to turn a profit.
Dorsey said ExactTarget could turn a profit today if it wanted to but the company chose to continue investing in the business. He said ExactTarget's platform allows customers to communicate with customers via email, mobile and social channels, all from a single interface.
ExactTarget has proven to be a predictable performer, thanks in part to its subscription-based model. The company delivered 45% year-over-year revenue growth in its most recent quarter.
Cramer said in a market where growth is hard to find, companies like ExactTarget, while speculative, remain an excellent place to invest.
Off the Charts
In the "Off the Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleagues Scott Redler and Carolyn Boroden over the chart of
, a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
Action Alerts PLUS.
Redler called the top in Apple back in April, right before the stock's decline. Redler noted that after a monster rally that began in January, Apple displayed an "outside day" where the stock hit a new intraday high, only to finish at a lower low at the close. This move was followed by three days of weak trading before the decline began in earnest.
But Redler turned bullish on Apple Monday after the stock held its 100-day moving average on strong volume, a bullish sign. He has faith that if Apple could break out above $570 a share another rally will ensue.
Boroden came to a similar conclusion using a different analysis. According to her research, Apple's last two major declines are similar in size to the one just completed, meaning that if the stock tops $570, it could see $677, the average size of its most recent rallies.
Cramer reminded viewers that he's not a believer in technical analysis, choosing to stick with the fundamentals. That said, Apple is a terrific company, certainly far better than Facebook, he believes. While the technicians like Apple only above $570 a share, Cramer said he likes the stock right here at $556.
Here's what Cramer had to say about callers' stocks during the "Lightning Round":
: "I'm torn. It's almost yielding 4% but we need to see signs of growth around the world."
: "This one yields 4% but I am on the fence with Lyondell."
: "No no, we've got enough problems without that stock."
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
: "I've got
, why do I need Krispy Kreme?"
: "This is a fabulous company. I want to own it."
Shedding Light on Con Edison
In a second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also sat down with Kevin Burke, chairman, president and CEO of
, a safe, domestic utility with a 4.1% dividend yield and zero exposure to Europe.
The outlook for ConEd is simple, Burke said: "We're growing." He said New York City is once again one of the fastest-growing markets in the country and ConEd is seeing lots of demand for both electricity and natural gas.
for their recent approval to bring a new natural gas pipeline from the Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania onto the island of Manhattan. He said the city's initiative to convert 7,000 buildings from using dirty oil to cleaner natural gas will be a boon for ConEd, as well as for cleaner air in New York City.
When asked why 7,000 buildings would convert to natural gas, Burke said it all comes down to price. While the cost of oil is high and only going higher, natural gas is at record lows and will stay there given how much gas the U.S. is now able to pull from the ground. He said that Spectre's new pipeline will mean that ConEd can increase reliability and deliver more cleaner, cheaper natural gas to a growing city.
Cramer once again praised ConEd as one of his favorite utilities, with both growth and a terrific dividend yield.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer offered some words of advice for leaders of Europe. He said while there aren't any good solutions for the beleaguered continent, there are a few not-so-bad solutions.
Cramer said that more than anything else, Europeans need jobs. With jobs come more taxes and more productivity, all things that are desperately needed. He said no amount of austerity will be any good without solid economic growth behind it.
Second, Cramer said the European Central Bank needs to give people a reason to keep their money in Europe's banks. Currently, money is flowing out of European banks as people fear their euros will be suddenly converted into lesser currencies. There needs to be deposit insurance that insures in euros, said Cramer, even if that means higher inflation for the currency.
Without those two things, Cramer said, the European banks will most certainty default, starting the cycle of panic and chaos all over again.
--Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had positions in AAPL, ETN and DNKN.
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