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A little optimism was on display during Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" TV show Monday.
Simply put, "things are finally getting better," Cramer told viewers. He credited President-elect Barack Obama for finally taking some of the uncertainty out of the markets.
Cramer said that there's nothing the markets hate more than uncertainty. But with the appointments of Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers as head of the White House Economic Council, Cramer said there is now hope where no hope existed before. "Wall Street likes these guys," he said, "and that means something."
Cramer also credited the government's bailout of
as a second catalyst for the markets, calling the plan enough to make him recommend the troubled bank as a buy. He called the bailout "a template that works" and one that can be used in other bailouts.
Unlike the bailout of
, which offered little transparency, and the decision to let Lehman Brothers fail completely, Cramer said the
keeps the common stock alive, does not punish the
and doesn't dump the troubled assets back into a troubled market.
"Friday we thought Citigroup would fail," he said, "but today we learned everything will be OK."
Cramer also credited Obama himself for part of today's rally, commending the president-elect for his quick and pragmatic approach toward fixing the nation's problems.
He said that every day of delay costs the economy more jobs and more foreclosures, and that's why Obama's job stimulus program focusing on rebuilding the country's infrastructure is being so well received.
Cramer's bottom line called for a little hope and a little bit of optimism as the markets digest these changing events.
Cramer: A New Reason to Trade Banks
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Obama's Recovery Plan
Cramer once again welcomed Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of
, to the show to dig even deeper into Obama's plans to turn around the U.S. economy.
Schmidt called Obama's economic team a group of really smart people working feverishly to develop a plan that can be implemented on Jan. 20. He said the Obama team is bringing fresh ideas and new energy to the problem.
Schmidt said Obama is focused on Main Street and bringing prosperity to the middle class. He said he's confident there will be a stimulus plan in January that includes a sizable amount to rebuild the country's infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and energy infrastructure.
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Regarding the Citigroup bailout, Schmidt said it appears the government finally found the right way to structure this type of deal, and felt the model would be applied to other institutions. He said the recent hearings with the automakers also shows that the government is no longer handing out money without a solid plan for recovery.
When asked how the economy's troubles would affect the Internet and Google in particular, Schmidt said that he doesn't really know how the recession will affect his company's earnings, but he expects the Internet overall to continue to grow and continue to do "very, very well."
After two huge up days in the market, Cramer found himself in the unusual position of asking "am I too negative?" He first sounded the alarm on Sept. 19, when the Dow was at 11,300, and he advised viewers to sell 20% of their portfolios.
He was again bearish on Oct. 6, when on NBC's "Today" show he encouraged investors to take out enough cash from their portfolios to cover the next five years worth of immediate spending needs.
But today Cramer said he can actually say things are better than they were yesterday. And while he cannot recommend buying into the market hand over fist, he said there are bargains to be had in some areas, including corporate bonds.
Cramer said even the ill-fated mortgage back securities have hit levels that seem attractive. For some of these instruments, he said, there would need to be a 60% foreclosure rate for the bonds to be worthless. Yet even the most bearish of estimates only call for a 25% foreclosure rate, making the bonds worth more than what they're currently fetching.
With so much money sitting on the sidelines, Cramer said even a stock like
in the hated
may be attractive. This $3.81 stock has $2.40 in cash, said Cramer, and with the company's debt more than manageable he'd consider them a buy on the pullback.
Cramer said while he expects the markets to retest its recent lows, with the good news starting to trickle in, it'd be irresponsible to become a permanent bear.
Outrage of the Day
Cramer called the homebuilders' plea to Congress for a $250 billion bailout simply outrageous! "These are guys who caused the problem," said Cramer. He said the last thing the country needs it more homes, and Congress should pay the homebuilders not to build homes.
Cramer said Congress simply cannot get behind any plan that would cause existing homeowners any additional pain and suffering. He said the home building industry needs to either merge or die, and cannot be given a government handout that will undermine the economy even further.
In the "Mad Mail" viewer feedback segment, Cramer told a viewer that when it comes to dry bulk shippers, he's only trusting
Nordic American Tanker
and would not consider rival
When analyzing another viewer's portfolio, Cramer was bullish on
, cautiously optimistic on
World Wrestling Entertainment
, but called
a screaming buy.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on
United States Steel
Cramer was bearish on
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Hewlett-Packard, Altria.
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