Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Bank Bashing Eases (Final)

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Something big has changed in this market," Jim Cramer told the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Monday. He said for the first time in years, it's actually OK to buy the banks into weakness.

"We no longer have to fear the banks," said Cramer, who noted that the media's relentless assault on everything financial has seemingly come to an end. He said after two years of almost non-stop negative coverage, readers are finally tiring of bank bashing articles, so publishers and editors are moving on.

Case in point, positive articles on JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC), two stocks which Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, along with Citigroup ( C), just in the past few days.

"Media matters," said Cramer, who blessed buying Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo ( WFC) into weakness.

Cramer also said that Huntington Bancorp ( HBAN), which filed for a $920 million equity offering to repay its TARP loan, also remains a favorite. He said investors "must get in" on Huntington's offering if they can.

Healthy Tech Demand

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Roy Vallee, chairman and CEO of electronics wholesaler Avnet ( AVT), a stock that's up 22% since Cramer last spoke with Vallee on Jan. 28.

Vallee shared in Cramer's enthusiasm for the technology sector, saying that since the recession, electronic component demand has been strong in both business and consumer markets. Valle predicted a multi-year growth run, with growth exceeding that seen in the years leading up to this most recent recession.

Even Europe, a region all but written off by analysts, is stronger than people realize thanks to a healthy export market.

When asked about which areas of tech are most in demand, Vallee said that tablet PCs are hot and are having an impact on netbook computer sales, but it's not yet known if they're cannibalizing full size notebook PCs.

He said flash RAM remains strong, as does backlit LCD screens, but traditional DRAM memory, the kind used in netbooks and notebooks, is still weak but recovering.

Cramer said with all the conservatism surrounding tech, he's reiterating his buy recommendation on Anvet, a solid performer.

Restaurant Stock Soars

In a second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Ron Shaich, executive chairman of Panera Bread ( PNRA), a stock Cramer has championed since July of 2008. Since then, Panera shares have skyrocketed 112%.

Shaich said that Panera is the second best performing consumer stock over the past decade, and the No. 1 best performing restaurant stock.

He said Panera's strategy of free wifi and comfortable locations promotes what the company calls "Chill Time," where patrons utilize Panera as a place just to sit, talk and connect as well as eat. He also said that Panera's new loyalty program, MyPanera, will take that customer relationship even further, buy offering freebies and other incentives to loyal customers.

When asked about rising food costs, Shaich noted that since Panera is a cash business, the company can raise prices to offset input costs.

Turning to the company's growth, Shaich said that Panera ia focused on building quality stores to deliver the highest return on invested capital possible. He said the company operates in 44 states and Canada, but is focused on profitable growth and looks at one market at a time.

Shaich said as a result of the recession, development costs are down. He said it's been the best time he's seen to further expand the company.

Finally, when asked whether young adults are eating healthier than their parents, Shaich said he has definitely seen that trend playing out at Panera. Cramer reiterated his buy on the company.

Mad Mail

Cramer told a viewer that he's not a fan of Petroleo Brasileiro ( PBR) after the company did a recent secondary offering of stock. Cramer said he prefers a lot of other oil companies, including Total ( TOT), over Petroleo.

Cramer told another viewer that when it comes to Verizon ( VZ), all that matters is the company's dividend and Verizon Wireless reportedly getting Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone. That's why he remains bullish on Verizon and a buyer of Apple for Action Alerts PLUS.

When asked about Perrigo ( PRGO) and Banco Santander ( SAN), Cramer said he would hold onto Perrigo, but sell Santander.

Finally, when asked about Mesabi Trust ( MSB), Cramer said he would sell half a position and let the rest run.

Lightning Round

was bullish on Northern Dynasty Minerals ( NAK), Ultra Petroleum ( UPL), Bank of America ( BAC), Cree ( CREE), Cheniere Energy ( LNG), Deere & Company ( DE), Landstar System ( LSTR)and Intel ( INTC).

He was bearish on GeoResources ( GEOI).

Closing Comments

Cramer said that Obama's upcoming CEO summit on Wednesday is an important event for investors. He said that investors need to hear that Obama listened to the CEOs and is prepared to take action, rather than just posing for a photo opportunity.

Obama needs to understand that making a profit is a good thing, said Cramer, and that our country's success impacts other countries. "It's no sin to make money for your 401k," said Cramer. Hopefully Obama gets that message.

--Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.

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At the time of publication, Cramer was long JPMorgan, Bank of America, Apple.

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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