Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Moody's Right for Bonds

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"What do you do when Congress raises our debt ceiling to $9 trillion?" Cramer asked on his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday. "One of the best ways to play this profligate Congress and president is to buy Moody's ( MCO) because they're in the bond rating business."

We're nuts about borrowing in the U.S., Cramer said, and Moody's is making a fortune off of it by rating the quality of the debt sold on the market.

It's not just the government that's issuing bonds in order to get cash, he said, citing bond issuance by companies including AT&T ( T) and Verizon ( VZ) in the same boat. "They take a ton of debt down to make deals," he said. "And all the private equity and leveraged buyouts ... that adds tons of debt.

"Our economy is just a big circle of people lending money to each other."

And in order for this system to function, organizations like Moody's exist to determine the quality of all that debt, which directly affects the sale of the debt.

Moreover, Warren Buffett must like the company because his Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) owns a major stake in the company.

The bond-rating business is a racket, Cramer said, noting that only five companies are considered nationally recognized ratings organizations and they have 99% of the ratings business. "So this is an oligopoly."

This business is so good that the Senate is holding hearing to debate passing legislation to reign it in because companies like Moody's are making so much money, he added, saying that the fact that Moody's has little competition means money for shareholders.

It's a noncompetitive business because the government won't recognize other credit-ratings companies, he reminded viewers. And one senator even called the ratings industry "self-regulated." That means unregulated, said Cramer, noting that Moody's makes its money when companies pay Moody's to rate them.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been working for a decade to change the business, but nothing has happened, and Cramer doesn't believe that there will be any big changes in the industry.

Analogic Makes Sense

Watching NBC makes you money if you saw the "Nightly News" story on the need for better baggage screening at our nation's airports, Cramer said.

According to the report, investigators were able to get the makings for a homemade bomb through security, which tells Cramer that we need a better detection system.

That's why it's time to buy Analogic ( ALOG), he said, a company that makes a baggage-scanning system called Exact that works faster and better than the system most airports use now.

The company is primarily a medical company, not a security company, since it makes machines for CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs.

Analogic's last quarter was a "total blowout," Cramer said. Its operating margins were unexpectedly high on medical equipment sales; and the company sold about 75% more Exact machines than analysts had expected.

The company has a great balance sheet, and no debt, he added. However, the stock has gone higher since reporting such great earnings, so Cramer recommended building a position in the stock slowly by buying in increments.

Cramer, Greenberg Confab

Cramer welcomed arch-stock-picking rival and Marketwatch commentator Herb Greenberg to the show to debate three stocks, the first of which was Aqua America ( WTR).

Greenberg pointed out that this is a growth stock, and that when the company's acquisitions end the growth will, too.

Cramer said he still gives the company one thumb up; and that he will use it to make some money for his ActionAlerts PLUS charitable trust, before the story runs out of steam.

Greenberg called the energy futures trading business IntercontinentalExchange ( ICE) another momentum stock that investors should steer clear of.

And he said that Carmike Cinemas ( CKEC), which Cramer had called a train wreck, is an interesting company because it's a play on small town America.

The exit play is that the company will be a takeover target, Greenberg said.

Secondary Plays

Cramer told viewers how to find great deals on hot stocks by "doing a 'mon back* into contrived weakness created by investment bankers."

That means buying the secondary offering of a stock, he said, referring to when a company issues blocks of shares from insiders or from the company itself.

Stocks pull back after a secondary offering because the market is flooded with all these shares, he said, so you get the stock at a cheap price without commission.

Then the stock usually takes off again, he said, saying that this is what happened with Rackable ( RACK) and Zumiez ( ZUMZ).

Two stocks are issuing secondary offerings this week, he said. Those companies are China Medical Technologies ( CMED) and Central European Media Enterprises ( CETV).

"We caught a double on China Medical last year," Cramer said, but now the stock is down and he believes that it's because of the secondary offering.

And "nothing is as red hot as Central Europe right now," he said. "You've gotta get on board."

However, he warned, don't jump the gun. If you don't wait for the secondaries, you won't get the deal, he said. So call a broker involved in the deal, he said, but only buy if you can get an allotment of the secondary.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on Amgen ( AMGN), Nabors Industries ( NBR), Halliburton ( HAL), Schlumberger ( SLB), Dynegy ( DYN), Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), Newpark Resources ( NR), Ormat Technologies ( ORA), Panera Bread ( PNRA), Starbucks ( SBUX), Alltel ( AT), Williams-Sonoma ( WSM)and Corning ( GLW).

Cramer was bearish on Google ( GOOG), Martha Stewart ( MSO), Hercules Offshore ( HERO), Todco ( THE), Piedmont Natural Gas ( PNY)and Western Digital ( WDC).

For more of Cramer's insights during the most recent Lightning Round, click here.

Want more Cramer? Check out Jim's rules and commandments for investing from his latest book by clicking here.

Here's your chance to pick the stock you'd like me to feature on my radio show March 23:
Marvell Technology
MRV Communications
Nice Systems

REMEMBER to listen in on Thursday for my take on the stock that wins this poll!

*For all you home-gamers, a 'mon-back opportunity means Cramer would back up the figurative truck and load up on a stock.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Aqua America and Halliburton.

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.

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