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Ag Stocks Are Twice-Blessed

Originally published on Jan. 14 at 10:38 a.m. EST

What makes so many of the day-to-day crowd of traders sick is the endless run in the same names: Agrium ( AGU), Monsanto ( MON), Mosaic ( MOS), Deere ( DE), Potash ( POT), Bunge ( BG), Syngenta ( SYNT) and Archer Daniels ( ADM).

It makes people sick to buy the same names over and over again.

Cramer: Ag Will Soar on Scarcity

Yet because these stocks are both oil service and food, when grains go higher and when oil goes higher, these are not going to come in even though they have now become undervalued.

The issue here is the scarcity value: we don't have enough of these stocks, and there are way too many momentum funds that don't have stocks with momentum.

So everyone has the exact same game plan.

I have always felt that the only way to play these if you are a chicken is to buy Monsanto -- to use the example -- deep-in-the-money calls like the April 100s, even as I know that those are not terrific, but you can't fight these guys.

My saving grace to you is that I have been behind these stocks forever. But I know there are always new people interested, and I am not jumping off this twice-blessed group.

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

There's Nothing Good Happening

Originally published on Jan. 16 at 9:09 a.m. EST

In the end, everything fails. In the end, oil goes down and gold goes down and copper goes down and grains go down. In the end, banks fail and brokers fail and toxic debt defaults and some of the insurers go under.

And that's what is happening now. Gold's getting killed and so is copper. All of the hiding places are getting flushed out, which is why I finally said Tuesday, "Enough with the agriculture."

While it is happening, you see drastic price declines that you never expected. Breathtaking. This is what happens when everything goes wrong.

Which it is.

We are in the heaviest, most intense deflationary spiral of our lives. The commodities held up because of worldwide shortages and probably won't go down as much or as hard as people expect.

Cramer: Don't Wait for a Rate Cut

But we have to recognize that the Fed fought and lost the wrong war. It was deflation, the vanishing of earnings power and borrowing power. The banks, as you can see, are pretty much out of money to lend. The homeowners are digging in, the ones who are left that haven't walked away from their homes .They are now cutting back on every conceivable form of spending and choosing to go to Wal-Mart ( WMT) for what's left. That's what the decline in Target ( TGT) and Kohl's ( KSS) is about and why Home Depot ( HD) can't rally, or Lowe's ( LOW), or of course Sears ( SHLD).

We can't hasten it, although I am sure many of you want to. We can't make the process go faster. As long as Ambac ( ABK) can fire its CEO and get a new one and make noises about raising capital, probably at outrageous rates, the AAA rating fantasy continues.

We can't seem to get any closure whatsoever on the toxic residential mortgage debt, and it doesn't take a genius to see that credit card and auto debt are next.

You can pick stocks for trades into short-covering moments -- the markets tend not to go down in a straight line -- but I know I am resigning myself to the across-the-board bear nature of things right now.

It didn't have to be this way, obviously. If the Fed had recognized that oil and food were huge taxes on the consumer on top of the mortgage resets, then something could have been done. But it didn't.

So now we have to do two things:
  1. Sense when it is really oversold and negative and buy.
  2. Sense when optimism creeps back and sell.

Today's typical. Intel ( INTC) wasn't good, but it wasn't bad and it wasn't PCs that were the problem. Apple's ( AAPL) doing great but it is a source of funds. So an overreaction to tech is probably a trading opportunity.

I remain convinced that if you can find some growth with some yield you will also have a winner. And stocks that fall below their net worth or are so attractive to competitors that need growth will still get bids. We see that this morning with Oracle ( ORCL).

Otherwise, though, there is nothing good that is happening.

I know many people think that I have always been a permabull because of my enthusiasm when there are things that are going right. I could care less about what people think of me, or I would never have started this very public career about stocks.

Nonetheless, I have prided myself far more on recognizing when nothing's good and being short or being on the sidelines.

Ladies and gentlemen, like a few other times in my 29 years -- 1979-1981, 1987 and 1990 -- there's nothing good happening.

Don't pretend.

It will just cost you money. Why didn't I recognize that nothing good was happening at Dow 14,000? I was looking at oil and copper and ag and was determined to make money in them.

I did.

Now, for the moment, those are not working.

For Action Alerts PLUS , I have raised pretty much the maximum amount of cash I have ever had. The only stuff I am buying is stuff that does well in a disaster where the Fed slashes: Annaly Mortgage ( NLY), or is so misunderstood because of press headlines that I have to: Schering-Plough ( SGP).

Otherwise I recognize that six months of pain could be upon us. That would be about a year of this. That's what the stats say should be the timeframe. The prices?

That's another story.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Sears Holdings, Annaly Mortgage and Schering-Plough.

Monoline Insurers Can't Make It

Originally published on Jan. 16 at 12:33 a.m. EST

Remember what Eric Dinallo, the powerful New York State insurance commissioner, said on my TV show about regulating the monoline insurers: They must protect the bondholders, not just the holders of Wall Street-generated paper like residential mortgage-backed bonds.

I am sure when he sees the news out of Ambac ( ABK) today he must be worried that it is time to be concerned that some of these companies cannot make their obligations.

He has to step in and separate the insureds, and I don't know how he can do it other than to force some of them to split up and force them to take reserves to help the everyday munibond holders.

The only way I know he can do it is if he pushes for a prepackaged bankruptcy that allows an Ambak or an MBIA ( MBI) to be merged with a Buffett affiliate, which only has to guarantee the munis and let the CDOs go. I see no choice.

Those who are buying these stocks must know something I don't know. When I said I thought the financials bottomed last week because they were down 50%, I figured it was because when they were down 50% in 1990, the Fed got on the case and started giving them some net interest margin.

But I specifically said that MBI/ABK and their sisters, PMI ( PMI) and MGIC ( MTG), can't make it.

That's what we are seeing today with Ambac ( ABK). It will have to give away the store to get financing, and I don't think that Dinallo will allow them to give it away too much longer. I am betting he intervenes, and then all investing will be off, and the common shareholders may get nothing.

Random musings: People, of course, are misinterpreting my call: The leadership is being slaughtered. The fact that the "market" has bottomed isn't true. What's bottoming is recession stocks, and banks that don't need capital.

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

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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. To order Cramer's newest book -- "Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer)," click here. Click here to order "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click here to order "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get "You Got Screwed!" and click here for Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback and invites you to send comments by clicking here.

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