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Don't expect the "absolutely brutal" action we saw in the stock market today to be over just yet, Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday.
"But before we damn the whole market, let's remember what were damning," he said. "The mortgage weakness has spread to the market so quickly because traders are closing out of everything."
Instead of distinguishing between stocks, market players are selling all of the stocks in the
or anything related to it, Cramer said. Although the subprime loan issue is "a problem that is not going away in that sector
the subprime mortgage lenders," it is wrong for the Street to be so indiscriminate, he said.
No lender in the subprime mortgage market can be immune from the illness that is subprime, but other stocks could recover, Cramer continued. The market is in the "grips of a commodity selloff," and it sent
all stocks down today. But if the mortgage and housing markets are decelerating, food and drug companies are not worth selling here, he said.
The whole market went down because scared investors wanted out of stocks, Cramer said. And even though they shouldn't have, all defensive stocks went down today because they are all stocks first and companies second.
However, if housing collapses, the supermarkets and the food, drug and utility stocks should do well, he said. "I think you're getting one more opportunity to play defense."
Things are a "tad tricky" here, though, "because the future on the commodity that has captured stocks -- the S&P 500 -- expires Friday, so I expect very little upside in this group until Monday," Cramer said.
People need to "let the commodities settle" and go back to the supermarket aisle in three days to pick up some
, among others, when these buys are "driven down by options selling," he said.
"Every sector got trashed today ... and that's plain wrong," Cramer said. "You have a chance to pick up great merchandise at low prices."
To see the Stockpickr portfolio of Red Zone Defensive Plays, click here.
A Protective Smokes Screen
People need to be playing defense here because it's the only way to ride out the "hideous" market and "try to profit when most stocks are getting creamed," Cramer told his viewers. Defensive, he said, means secular growth stocks or companies that do well no matter how bad the economy is.
There is nothing more defensive than cigarettes, "not even in the truly horrible, apocalyptical crisis known as subprime lending," Cramer said. And
"when-issued" shares are his No. 1 pick in the tobacco industry right now, he said.
Altria's when-issued shares, trading under the ticker MO-WI
( MOWI), are the shares market players can purchase here without dealing with Altria's spinoff of
( KFT), Cramer explained. "You're buying pure Philip Morris if you're buying MO-WI."
Further, he believes people should get in ahead of March 30, which is when MO-WI will rejoin Altria. Cramer said he believes the when-issued stocks are "great," and although there's nothing so bad about Kraft, "there's just no reason to own it here."
If people want food stocks, he suggested owning
, which has been "doing fabulously,"
( SLE), all of which have "more consist and exciting growth than Kraft."
Plus, not only does Cramer consider Philip Morris a best-of-breed play on cigarettes, but also, in numerical terms, shareholders of MO-WI get a higher dividend with the company.
Takeover Rumors: Alcoa, Dow
Although investors shouldn't take stock tips seriously, rumors can make people some mad money if they know what they're doing, Cramer said.
On Feb. 26, there was a story in a British newspaper that said
could be a target for a private equity buyout, Cramer said. And shortly after, there was another rumor about how
could also be a takeover target.
Both of these rumors have "credence," Cramer said, and after today, the private equity guys will be all over Dow and Alcoa because they, unlike those that have been selling everything, "know everything is not linked to mortgages."
Moreover, Cramer said he wouldn't have recommended the stocks if their fundamentals were bad -- but the fundamentals are actually good, and both stocks are worth buying even without the rumors. Plus, as an added incentive: "These two stocks could be where lightening is about to hit," he said.
There is speculation that the big private equity firms could take Dow out at $60 a share, Cramer added. On top of that, at this level the stock has a 3.5% yield and the company has been raising prices and lowering costs, he said. Dow closed Tuesday's session at $42.94.
Concerning Alcoa, Cramer said
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
are rumored to have been looking at it as a prospective target, but neither of them has approached Alcoa's board yet.
BHP and RIO each value Alcoa at $40 billion, and the purchase would make sense for both companies because they are in aluminum, as is Alcoa, he said. Even if a takeover never materializes, there's no need to worry, said Cramer. Aluminum has been a dog lately, but that should not last for long, he said.
"Listen to the takeover rumors," he said. "Buy Dow and Alcoa, because in the end, where there's smoke, there's fire."
Invest in Comcast's Spending
CEO Brian Roberts to the show and asked if people are right to think that Comcast upped its capital expenditure in response to increased competition from
"We upped our spending because people are buying our new products in record numbers," Roberts said. "We're selling 50,000 phone subscriptions a week."
"Because we're going to sell 30% more new products than we did last year, it costs some money," the CEO continued.
Cramer asked if Comcast's big capital expenditure spree will keep the company from buying back stock. Roberts said he does not expect any change in the company's plan to continue to repurchase shares.
"We have bought back almost 10% of stock in the last two-and-a-half years, and we're going to continue buying back stock," Roberts said.
Cramer advised viewers to pull the trigger on Comcast and called Roberts "money in the bank."
To view Cramer's interview with Brian Roberts, please click here.
Cramer was bullish on
Cramer was bearish on
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Altria Group, Goldman Sachs and Transocean.
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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