Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: March 23

This article was originally published March 23.

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"How can you tell if this rally is for real? You look at its pieces," Jim Cramer told the viewers of the "Mad Money" TV Show Monday.

He said that the best way to evaluate any rally is to examine the stocks that are powering it.

Cramer said it was clear that today's monster move in the markets was fueled by the realization that the government's plans may be more coordinated than previously thought by the president, Federal Reserve, Treasury and FDIC.

But stocks are at the core of any rally, said Cramer, and the top 10 biggest percent gainers in the S&P500 tell a great story.

Cramer said both Exxon-Mobil ( XOM) and Chevron ( CVX), a stock which he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS , told the story in the oil patch and confirmed that the rise in crude oil prices is for real.

In the financial sector, Cramer said JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Wells Fargo ( WFC) and Bank Of America ( BAC) all showed tremendous strength, with JP Morgan and Wells Fargo both posting 24% gains today.

In technology, Cramer said the moves in Microsoft ( MSFT) and IBM ( IBM) show the rally is tech is broadening.

And the gains in General Electric ( GE) and AT&T ( T) show strength in broader economy as well.

Finally, Cramer said Procter & Gamble's ( PG) shares, which should be trending lower at the bottom of the economic cycle, are gaining as well, signaling that people are actually willing to pay up for the stock.

All of these signs, said Cramer, point to a notable rally and one that could continue if the government continues the flurry of good news.

Dividend Play

"Dividends have never been so important," said Cramer. He said investors should not be lulled by the huge market rallies because it's still too dangerous to buy stocks based on earnings, which nobody can predict. He said the best bet are company with dividends.

That's why he recommended Air Products ( APD) as a stock to consider.

Air Products boosted its dividend again last week for the 27th consecutive year. And while the dividend yields only 3.2%, Cramer said he's a big fan of the stock, which has fallen from a high of $106 to $55 today. He said the company currently earn 2.2 times the amount needed to cover the dividend.

Cramer said he also likes the company based on its fundamentals as opposed to its competitor Airgas ( ARG) reporting a horrible quarter. Air Products sells gases into the semiconductor sector, one of Cramer's favorite groups, along with LCD panel makers, another group gaining momentum.

Cramer likes Air Products as a weak dollar play, since 52% of the company's sales come from overseas.

Obama's Rolling

"It's time to give President Obama his due," Cramer told viewers. He explained that he can't remain negative on the president when he's doing the right things.

Cramer returned to his Obama Index, a basket of stocks he created on inauguration day to evaluate Obama's performance in fixing the economy. That basket, which started at 100, dipped to just 50 on March 6, when Cramer was his most vocal on the president's performance.

In the last two weeks however, Cramer's Obama Index has roared back to 96, as Obama has instilled confidence back into the markets.

Cramer said Obama is now doing a few things right, including saving us from Congress, and encouraging the Justice Department to bring changes against the guilty instead of letting Congress pull their usual hearings and shenanigans.

Cramer said Obama is also proposing to regulate hedge funds, a plan he called "right on." He said hedge funds need to play be the same rules as everyone else. Their earnings, he said, need to taxed as regular income and not at lower capital gains rates.

Finally, Cramer said Obama is proposing regulation executive compensation, something he's not in favor of, but admittedly, "we tried it the other way, and it failed."

All of these points are a big deal, said Cramer, and that's why he's changing his stance as the conditions, and the Obama Index, change direction.

Favorite Tanker

Cramer spoke with Herbjorrn Hansson, chairman and CEO of Nordic American Tanker ( NAT), to find out if his favorite shipper is still worthy of the of its anointed status.

Hansson painted a very favorable picture of Nordic American Tanker, saying that the company is having a good quarter and will continue its dividend policy. He said the company has the strongest balance sheet in the industry, with no debt, giving it ample cash to buy assets from smaller, troubled companies.

Hansson also confirmed that the trend of using tankers as floating storage for oil is continuing, and will likely continue until oil trends even higher. This trend helps make the company more profitable, he said, as vessels are rented for indefinite amounts of time and the company's remaining ships can charge even more for their services.

Hansson also painted a rosy picture in China, where he said the country is still importing more and more oil.

Cramer said Nordic American not only remains his favorite tanker company but also the only one he's willing to recommend.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on Nordic American Tanker ( NAT), Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc ( FDP), Hershey Foods ( HSY) and Chimera Investment ( CIM).

He was bearish on Overseas Shipholding Group ( OSG) and Quanta Services ( PWR).

Check out the latest edition of "Cramer's Take on Top-Searched Stocks" on Stockpickr.

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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Quanta Services, Chevron.

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