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NEW YORK (
) -- "This is a market where the bulls lack conviction and the bears are full of passion," Jim Cramer told the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Monday. "But that creates great trading opportunities in stocks that continue to climb higher," he continued.
Cramer said this market is filled with investors who are trading with one foot already out the door. He said stocks can turn on a dime, and plunge on even a hint of bad news. But that lack of faith, he said, means there is money to be made.
, said Cramer, a stock that ran up on Friday on takeover speculation, only to get hammered today when a bid did not miraculously appear over the weekend. Cramer said Akamai is an earnings story, not a takeover story, and that means investors received a great holiday gift in Akamai today.
( APKT), another Cramer fav. He said this dynamite company was down some $2 a share today, on no discernible news, yet no one defended this hot stock that's up 400% for the year.
, a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
. Cramer said shares of Apple have been marking time over the past few weeks, giving investors a great opportunity to get into this terrific company without having to chase its stock higher.
Cramer said with so many investors trading in fear, even stocks like
are attractive. "Investors fear losing a point, while they risk missing out on a double," he said.
"Don't be scared of the bears," Cramer told viewers, as he examined the battleground stock known as
. Cramer said ,while this stock is up 228% from his April 27, 2009 recommendation, shares have tanked 30 points from their high on Dec. 1, when he recommended ringing the register on half your position.
Cramer said the underlying thesis behind Netflix is still intact, but the bear arguments are worth looking into. He said the bears always point to valuation, saying the stock is priced for perfection. But Cramer noted that with a 29% growth rate, he's willing to pay 60 times earnings for Netflix, which currently trades at just 47 times earnings.
The bears also point to increased competition from Apple,
and other Silicon Valley juggernauts. Cramer said he doesn't buy this argument, since Netflix has a low-cost subscription service and is not competing for the hottest titles.
Higher costs crushing company margins is usually the next bear argument. But here again, Cramer said he doesn't see a problem. Cramer said Netflix has already greatly increased its content selection, all at reasonable prices. Finally, there's the argument that Netflix is closer to market saturation than most investors believe. Cramer said nothing could be farther from the truth.
Cramer said most short sellers of Netflix simply don't understand the company, or its stock. He said after dropping 30 points, Netflix is a lot more attractive than it was at the beginning of December.
Continuing on his Netflix theme, Cramer turned to the bull case for the company. He called Netflix a "game changer," saying that the company's streaming video subscription service is taking off far faster than anyone anticipated.
Leading the company's charge is the fact that there are 113 million Netflix enabled devices in homes across the country. From game consoles to set-top boxes to mobile devices like Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Cramer said Netflix is ubiquitous, offering a new way to watch TV at home of on the go. The company has some 20 million subscription-based customers with no real competition in its space.
Not only is Netflix growing, said Cramer, but it has accelerating growth. Netflix has only penetrated 23% of U.S. households with broadband, leaving it plenty of room to continue expanding. Then there is the company's international prospects. Netflix recently launched in Canada, and is estimated to have 15 million international subscribers by 2015.
Cramer said not to count out Netflix' DVD by mail business either. He said with the demise of Blockbuster, Netflix still offers plenty of value. Shares of Netflix trade at just 33 times its estimated 2012 earnings, which makes the stock even more compelling in the "out" years.
Cramer said after recommending trimming positions on Dec 1, he now feels it's safe to begin accumulating shares on weakness. He said CEO Reid Hastings public defense of his stock is welcome news, and he no longer worries about Netflix CFO's recent departure.
In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Martin Mucci, president and CEO of
, a company Cramer called the best barometer for employment in the U.S. Paychex just delivered a 2-cent-a-share earnings beat, with the number of checks per client up 2.3%.
Mucci said Paychex has seen three straight quarters of positive checks per client growth, something it hasn't seen since 2007. In addition to the number of checks increasing, Mucci also said the average revenue per paycheck is also on the rise, indicating that businesses are staying in business and are even doing a little hiring.
Paycheck has been able to raise prices, said Mucci, which is further helping the company's bottom line. Its recent acquisition of SurePayroll, a software as a service offering for small and medium size businesses, is also a win for the company, Mucci said.
When asked about tax credits and government programs to help stimulate jobs, Mucci said the government's efforts are helping, but job growth will only really be stimulated by demand for companies' products.
Cramer remained bullish on Paychex, and the company's stock.
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said that penny moves in the dollar versus the euro aren't what matters. He said what matters are down-and-out stocks like
( SLE), which just received a takeover bid from a Brazilian powerhouse, thanks to strong foreign currencies.
Cramer said foreign entities are already stalking our great, but undermanaged brands, and with the currency trade swinging in their favor, more deals like Sara Lee will be a lot more likely. He said companies like
may be next on the takeover list, as this company also has great brands but has failed to execute in recent years.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on
Cramer was bearish on
--Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Apple.
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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