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Gotta Buy Minerals When They're Ground Down

Originally published on Oct. 22 at 12:26 p.m. EDT

It never stops. We get a couple of articles about how the worldwide economy might be slowing and then everybody sells every mineral stock. Every one of them!

Sure, copper's been down for five weeks. Sure, there are problems in housing overseas.

But this pattern has been seen over and over again, and every time they have kicked these stocks when they are down -- which is this moment -- you had to buy them.

Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX) was 10 points higher a couple of days ago. BHP Billiton ( BHP) loses 6 points in a nanosecond. CVRD's ( RIO) now down a lot from where it was. A propos what I wrote about earlier -- you want to start buying these stocks now.

It defies the pattern not to start here with these numbers.

The group is oversold; it is ready to bounce.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Freeport-McMoRan.

Four Stocks to Worry About: CFC, WM, MTG, PMI

Originally published on Oct. 23 at 9:20 a.m. EDT

When you get off the desk with smart people who lend for a living, they are worried about two companies, one a lot more than the other: Washington Mutual ( WM) and Countrywide ( CFC).

Washington Mutual is an issue of sloppy lending. WaMu tried to buy business and deposits in lots of areas during its nationwide expansion and the lapses in practices are taking their toll. If WaMu didn't have the huge deposit base, people would be far more concerned than they are.

But WaMu failed to earn its 56-cent dividend by a mile this quarter. You get a couple of quarters when that happens and you can see why the 7%- plus yield is not sustainable. I worry about the bank really needing help here, something management will deny to its grave.

The other is far more worrisome to everyone I talk to: Countrywide Finance. There is a pincer move against these guys, legislation that would allow homeowners to sue and presumably walk away from their mortgages, as well as looming federal investigations about really stupid, attention-getting stock sales and higher interest rates that aren't going down fast enough to save the company.

I know that Bank of America ( BAC) bought that stake in Countrywide, but after that miserable quarter from Bank of America, why in heck would it want that business? The way things look, it could get the servicing business the way that so many other banks are looking at their servicing businesses, through potential defaults!

Now both of these pictures are dire and exaggerated. I hope it never comes to that. Unfortunately, as I have said over and over again, everyone is using the wrong data, which were repeated today in The New York Times in an article about a Democratic bill that would pretty much wipe out home lenders and make that business closed to anyone in the future who might want to buy a home, the one that encourages lawsuits by consumers who made a bad bet by taking a mortgage that floated upward.

The wrong data point is this: "More than two million people took out subprime loans in the last two years that offered relatively low rates but are to jump sharply when the introductory periods expire."

That's just way, way too low. We know that 14 million homes changed hands from 2005 to 2007. We know that on average, from the big lenders out there, 50% of those buyers took teaser rates. That's 7 million people. We also know that a prime loan can be driven into the "subprime" category if there was a floating home-equity loan on it. That puts things north of 7 million, but we don't know how many prime loans have been reduced to subprime.

It is because of those calculations, and not the ones from Countrywide or WaMu, that I am so bearish and have been so insistent since "the rant" about mortgages .

Amazingly, I always bring up MGIC ( MTG) and PMI Group ( PMI) as bigger problems, hapless insurers that bought back a huge amount of stock at much higher levels, and I believe I must do what CIT ( CIT) did, which is to increase liquidity by offering equity right here. No one seems to have these two on their radar screen except for Doug Kass, which is pretty amazing.

Today I see that Countrywide is trying to refinance some of the deadbeat loans . How are they going to do that at 4.75% borrowing costs or higher? How can they?

I don't think they can.

Watch Countrywide. Watch WaMu. And, I believe, watch PMI and MGIC. Those are the Achilles heels of the system. They are not getting better.

They are getting worse.

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.

Three Bull Markets for This Tough Market

Originally published on Oct. 24 at 2:32 p.m. EDT

Wow, it's a "trust no one, certainly not your co-shareholders" kind of market. We know with the financials that nothing works at all. You have stocks that look like bargains at 9 times earnings like Merrill ( MER) just was the other day, but now it's at 15 times earnings and maybe even richer, which is what happens when you wipe out earnings.

We know that we can't stop sweating in even now, in late October, so those warm winter coats at the mall aren't that enticing.

Autos? We are seeing some pretty negative auto loan figures all of a sudden.

Housing? Are you kidding me?

But today we found ourselves on the sawed-off plank of tech. We have a half-dozen tech stocks that have run so much that they can't be bought. And we have telco going from bull to bear in 24 hours!

What to do?

I still say return to the bull markets. Oil's back. Buy some. Minerals are getting too cheap again. How about defense? Those names are rocking.

Stick with those winning themes.

And wait for tech for a couple of days and then buy the ones that have been thrown out with the bath water.

Not yet, though!

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.
Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for Action Alerts PLUS. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click here to order his book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here.

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