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Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: March 31

Despite the naysayers, the markets finished with a flourish this month, Cramer says.
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The markets surged Tuesday higher despite a dire forecast from depressionists that we would be down big, Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show.

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Cramer said the markets are still on fire, from the banks to tech, oil and beyond. The evidence, he said, is all around us. In banking, both

Bank of New York



State Street


surged higher, as Cramer predicted, on the news of new accounting rules.

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In technology, there was strength in lots of names, including Cramer favorite and

Action Alerts PLUS name,



, which rose $1, or 2.75%, in today's trading.

Cramer said there was also good news from



, up 2.8%, as well as










Oil futures enjoyed the best gain in eight months, said Cramer, and that propelled stocks like

Occidental Petroleum





, another stock which he owns for his charitable trust,

Action Alerts PLUS and




Bottom line: Cramer wishes the doomsayers were correct and the market did pull back even more today so that he could buy in at even lower prices. "March didn't go out as a lamb; it went out as a bull," he asserted.

A Rare Breed

"Some banks will actually be winners," Cramer told viewers. He said we've been here before, back in the 1980's, at the end of the S&L crisis. Back then, as now, investors wrote off all banks, only to miss out as new, bigger, better and stronger banks emerged from the rubble, he said.

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Investors forget that as bad banks fail, good banks pick up their assets on the cheap and grow like crazy, he said.

According to Cramer, that's likely to be the case with

FirstMerit Corp


of Akron, Ohio. FirstMerit is the fourth largest bank in Ohio, with $11.1 billion in assets. The company is poised for such growth, as its competition falters.

He said FirstMerit's competition has been devastated, with banks like

Huntington Bancshares



PNC Bank





performing poorly.

He said FirstMerit remains a superior performer, with a charge-off loan ratio of just .68%. The company's return on assets is 1.13%, compared to the industry average of just .23%.

Cramer said with the Cleveland housing market not hit as hard as the rest of the country, FirstMerit should be one of the first banks to recover. The company has already expressed interest in FDIC assisted takeovers.

Off the Charts

In this segment, Cramer went head to head with colleague Rick Bensignor over the chart of



, a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust,

Action Alerts PLUS.

Bensignor said Caterpillar is a buy between $24 and $26 a share, as the charts indicate a reverse head-and-shoulders pattern, indicating the stock is likely to break out to the upside.

But Cramer, the fundamentalist, said Caterpillar is a buy for completely different reasons. Cramer said Caterpillar is down 67% from its highs and is universally unliked by Wall Street, with 14 analysts rating it a hold, three sell and only six a buy. The company missed its quarter by 17 cents and slashed its guidance.

So why like the stock? Cramer said Caterpillar is the perfect stock to own ahead of the recovery. With housing, along with the return of the economy, down sharply, demand for Caterpillar's products can only increase from here. Demand will be high for Cat's products, both here in the U.S., and in China, as the economy strengthens, he said.

Crab Anyone?

In a special appearance, Cramer welcomed captains Colburn and Hansen from

The Discovery Channel's

"The Deadliest Catch" to find out how the two fisherman find themselves on the front line of the economic downturn.

Colburn and Hansen made it pretty clear that as the economy softens, people eat less seafood. They said that demand for King Crab, the pair's trademark catch, has seen a 28% price cut so far this season. Their only recourse: sell less crab.

Colburn said it's likely the pair will make dramatically less this year or could possible go the entire season without a profit. But they added in tough times, fishermen often reinvest in their businesses and prepare for the next wave of demand.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on







Home Depot



Lockheed Martin



Walt Disney



Check out the latest edition of

"Cramer's Take onTop-Searched Stocks" on Stockpickr.

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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Pepisco, Qualcomm, Chevron, Caterpillar.

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."

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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.