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) -- "You don't need excessive risk in order to get excessive rewards," Jim Cramer told his

"Mad Money"

"Mad Money" TV show viewers Monday after a strong rally on Wall Street. Cramer told investors to embrace their inner "boring" self and focus on yield and safety.

Cramer explained that on big up days like today, many people are rushing towards what's working, the high-flying stocks that everyone is talking about. But even after today's strong rally, brought on by strong retail sales numbers over the holiday, many of these high-fliers still aren't back to where they were just 10 days ago. Will there be another strong day tomorrow to make them worth while? Probably not.

That's why Cramer told viewers to focus on a different list of stocks, the 52-week high list. He said on that list investors will find names like

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners


, a consistent Cramer favorite, along with

MarkWest Energy Partners


, another recent recommendation with a 5.5% yield.

And the list doesn't stop there. Also included on the 52-week high list is

Cedar Fair

(FUN) - Get Report

, a consistent dividend raiser whose CEO appeared on "Mad Money" just last week. Cramer also gave the nod to


(OKE) - Get Report

, a natural gas distributor that also offers a great yield. Cramer said that all of these names have lower risk but still offer a great reward.

Rounding out the 52-week high list were restaurants

Papa Johns Pizza

(PZZA) - Get Report


Panera Bread


. Cramer said that Panera remains a favorite, but he likes

Dominos Pizza

(DPZ) - Get Report

over Papa Johns.

European Wildcard

"It's time to curb your enthusiasm," Cramer told viewers, as he took a few minutes to put the European debt crisis in plain English and explain why it matters to much to our stock market. He said that Europe still has the ability to derail all that's going well here in the U.S., which is why every investor needs to pay attention.

Cramer likened the European debt situation to his father's gift wrapping business that was so much apart of his childhood growing up. He explained that every year, around this time, his father would have to make a wager on the health of the U.S. economy and order all of the gift wrap, boxes and printed bags that he thought retailers would need for the holiday season. Order too few, and he lost business, order too many and he was stuck with the inventory until next year.

In order to make all of this possible, said Cramer, his father needed credit from the paper mills in order to stock up, since no company could afford to pay for all their inventory in cash. But if demand fell and retailers didn't need the supplies, or couldn't pay, all could be lost.

Flash forward to today's Europe and we find country after country that has over spent and now can't pay all of its bills. The credit that they once relied on has dried up and is now too expensive. The debts are so large that its overwhelming everyone, said Cramer.

Given this fact, Cramer said he's declaring the market at DEFCON 3, just two slots away from a total meltdown, that's to the continued instability of the European credit situation.

Global Credit Woes

"It's credit that's ailing the world," Cramer declared, as he continued his "plain English" explanation of the European debt crisis. He said the countries that over spent now need credit, but with bond yield reaching critical mass at 7%, their only option is now to turn to wealthier countries to either buy their bonds, bail out their banks which hold their bonds or accept continued bridge loans until the crisis passes.

But Cramer explained that for the larger, more stable countries, all of which want to help, the issue is the probability of repayment, which is looking more and more like zero every day. He said these countries just won't take a chance on Italy or Portugal of Greece as the risks are just too high.

So where does that leave U.S. stocks? Cramer said that back in 2008, when the U.S. had its credit crisis, no one knew which banks held which bonds, so they sold them all. The same is likely to happen again now, he said. That's likewise with any company that needs credit, including airlines. All of these names will be hit hard if Europe collapses.

"Credit makes the world go round," Cramer concluded, and without it, no one can pay their bills.

Stocking Stuffers

Cramer kicked off a new "Stocking Stuffers" series of stocks that should not be sold as the threat of a European collapse escalates. His first pick was the home improvement giant

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report


Cramer said more than anything, this company's recent 16% dividend boost signals that management is confident about its future prospects. Better still, Home Depot is a turnaround story that will trump the continued slump in the U.S. housing market. The company's dividend will also provide support for the stock, allowing it to bounce back harder than non-dividend stocks.

When it last reported, Home Depot delivered a two-cent-a-share earnings beat on surprisingly strong revenues. The company also posted accelerating same store sales growth, another sign that management's turnaround changes are working and are here to stay.

Cramer said that while Home Depot's earnings look great now, this will be one company what will continue to surprise Wall Street when the housing market eventually takes a turn for the better.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on

B&G Foods

(BGS) - Get Report


SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get Report


US Bancorp

(USB) - Get Report


Cramer was bearish on

Prosperity Bancshares

(PRSP) - Get Report


AuRico Gold



Nuance Communications

(NUAN) - Get Report


Sigma-Aldrich Corp



Wynn Resorts

(WYNN) - Get Report


MEMC Electronics



Too Risky

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer defended his stance on the financial stocks and reiterated "sell the banks."

Cramer said that the bank stocks may indeed look cheap, but there is simply still too much risk involved. He said that the banks remain at ground zero for the European crisis and with pitiful disclosure rules, it's impossible to know who's at risk for what.

Even the domestic banks are bad, said Cramer, as these companies still have dividends at risk, continued mortgage problems, no revenue growth and no catalyst to own them.

"You've been right to side-step this group," Cramer told viewers, and that continues to be true.

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

To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Scott Rutt






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At the time of publication, Cramer was not long any stock mentioned.

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.