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Lower oil prices aren't helping but hurting this stock market, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday. With so many investors panicking and selling both the good and the bad, Cramer urged viewers to sit on the sidelines and just wait for the selling to stop.
With oil dipping to seven-year lows and natural gas plummeting to 17-year lows, Cramer said it's time to ask the question, "Are fossil fuels becoming fossils themselves?"
It sure seems that way as OPEC continues to flood the world with oil while the consortium itself appears to be falling apart, deeply divided over where oil production should be.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there's less demand for oil and oil pipelines, raising fears in investors that lofty dividends from Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report and Chevron (CVX) - Get Report , among many others, will need to be cut.
That's how a stock like Kinder Morgan (KMI) - Get Report can plunge over 61%. Kinder Morgan itself is doing fine, Cramer said, but without more growth it cannot raise its distribution and that has investors fleeing.
There were still some bright spots in the market, Cramer concluded, such as airlines and some restaurants, all of which benefit from cheap fuel prices. But outside a takeover bid for Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) which sent shares soaring 71%, it was hard to find the bulls.
Battle of the Dollar Stores
The dollar stores continue to be hot, Cramer told viewers. Cash-strapped consumers are still looking for values. So now that Dollar Tree (DLTR) - Get Report has completed its acquisition of Family Dollar, is it still be best of breed or is rival Dollar General (DG) - Get Report the best way to play the group?
Cramer said Dollar Tree remains all about the integration of Family Dollar, while Dollar General is all about organic growth and returning cash to shareholders.
After completing its merger, shares of Dollar Tree promptly began a multi-month selloff, falling from $80 a share in July to just $60 by October. But then when the company surprised Wall Street with its earnings on Nov. 24, shares shot right up to $74 and haven't looked back. As long as the integration goes well, so, too, will its shares, Cramer said. But any hiccup will be disastrous.
Shares of Dollar General were also pounded from August through November and still remain well off their highs. But after the company announced better-than-expected earnings and a $1 billion stock buyback, Cramer said investors started taking notice. He said shares remain cheap at 15 times earnings and are consistently undervalued given the company will open 730 new locations this year alone.
A Warning on Chipotle
With the recent E.coli outbreak at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) - Get Report sending same-store sales down 16% and its shares down 26% over the past three months, is it time to jump back in? Not so fast, Cramer warned.
History can be our guide, Cramer noted. Taco Bell suffered a similar E.coli scare back in 2006 and it took several quarters before sales returned to normal.
Given Chipotle's rich valuation, Cramer said it's too early to attempt to get back into this high-flying stock. The turn isn't likely to come for at least a few quarters, he concluded, but he's fully confident that this great restaurant will indeed get its groove back.
What the heck is going on with Acuity Brands (AYI) - Get Report , the old-school lighting maker that transformed itself into a cutting-edge technology company, sending shares up 244% over the past three years? Cramer decided to find out.
Cramer said Acuity isn't on anyone's radar, especially after the recession caused less construction and therefore less demand for commercial and industrial lighting products.
But Acuity didn't sit idly by, it embraced the LED lighting trend and has been snapping up technologies in the Internet of Things space. In fact, nearly half of the company's revenue stems from LED lighting -- and that's with only 35% of all U.S. lighting expected to be LED by 2020.
Many investors had hoped Cree (CREE) - Get Report was the play on LED lighting, but that trade hasn't panned out as expected. Meanwhile, Acuity has been quietly rising, buying up automation and control system technology along with tech for connected shopping experiences.
With construction now on the rise in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, Cramer said Acuity is a steal, even at 27 times earnings.
Cramer was bearish on Trinity Industries (TRN) - Get Report , Xerox (XRX) - Get Report , American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) - Get Report , Southwestern Energy (SWN) - Get Report and Hanover Insurance Group (THG) - Get Report .
Cramer Does His Homework
He said after becoming the laughing stock of the IT industry in 2012, CSC got itself a new CEO and turned itself around. The company sold off non-core assets, replaced its entire management team and laid off thousands of unproductive workers. That's how shares have tripled since 2012.
But post-spinoff, the remaining CSC will be a slow grower, just 1% to 2% annually. With a multiple of 11.5 times earnings, Cramer said investors have likely missed the move.
CSRA, the government-focused part of CSC, is a different story. That company has top-notch management and just a 15 times earnings multiple, which puts it at a discount to its peers, none of which are as good as the new CSRA.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had no position in stocks mentioned.