Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Cheers for the Dow (Final)

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the Dow Jones Industrial Average down just 1% for the year, compared to horrible double-digit losses elsewhere in the world, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers that investors need to acknowledge all that's going right here in the U.S.

Cramer listed four reasons why he felt the U.S. is holding up better than any other economy.

First, Cramer said it's hats off to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. He said that Bernanke has kept interest rates super low, eliminating the competition of bonds versus stocks. With rates so low, he said, stocks are the only game in town.

Second, Cramer credited companies for being committed to their shareholders by offering big dividends. He said American CEOs have been smart, diversifying away from any single economy and refinancing with ultra-low rates to guarantee great payouts for their shareholders.

Third, Cramer said the U.S. economy is starting to head in the right direction. Everything from retail and auto sales to jobless claims is starting to head in the right direction, he noted, something that cannot be said for any other nations' economy.

Finally, Cramer said that U.S. banks, thanks to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's stress tests, are now some of the strongest banks in the world. He said there is still a mortgage mess in our country, but our banks are now strong enough to weather just about any storm.

Cramer said those are the reasons why stocks like McDonald's ( MCD), IBM ( IBM), Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Coca-Cola ( KO) have all delivered spectacular results over the past few years, and why the American markets are outperforming every other market in the world.

Poised for the Rebound

Investors looking for a best of breed steel maker with a juicy dividend need to look at Nucor ( NUE), Cramer told viewers. He said that with steel pricing bottoming and Nucor paying a 4.2% dividend, investors are getting paid to wait for the economy to improve.

Cramer said that Nucor has been improving throughout the recession, increasing capacity so that it will be ready for the eventual rebound. The company currently has a 17% debt-to-capital ratio, meaning that Nucor has the ability to move in a number of different directions once the market recovers.

Nucor pre-announced disappointing sales back on Sept. 13, a move that was widely anticipated. Cramer said the pre-announcement has removed a lot of the downside from Nucor's stock and investors can now afford to be patient.

Cramer said the main challenge for Nucor is the construction market, but even there, Nucor has still been able to eek out some profits. He recommended starting a small position here and waiting for shares to dip to $32.22 a share, where it yields 4.5%, then buying even more.

Solid Floor

In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleague Tim Collins over the chart of Cummins ( CMI), a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS.

According to Collins, the daily chart of Cummins shows that after outperforming the markets in 2010, the company's stock has hit a soft patch since August, creating a solid floor, but also a soft patch between $88 and $90 a share. Using a volume by price indictor, Collins predicted that if Cummins can bounce off the $90 level, it's prime to hit $98 or even $100 a share.

The weekly chart of Cummins seems to confirm this trend, said Collins, noting that the weekly prices align with his daily chart's predictions.

Turning to the fundamentals, Cramer said that Cummins is seeing no signs of a slowdown, yet shares have been hammered along with the broader markets. He said that hopefully with the charts now on their side, this stock will finally get the credit it deserves.

Trader's Market

Cramer welcomed CNBC colleague Herb Greenberg to the show to discuss Herb's views that the markets are broken, and old fashioned stock-picking is dead forever in a world with triple-levered ETFs and high-frequency trading.

Greenberg argued that investors can still make money in the markets, but just not in the way they did five or even 10 years ago. He said today's market is a traders' market, and while people are still doing research, they aren't getting the same results as they did before.

Making matters worse, Greenberg argues that investors today are focused solely on the reward and pay little attention to the risks. "The market is all about timing," he said, and the fundamentals have gotten all mixed up thanks to ETFs and other exotic investing instruments.

Greenberg said he's made a living standing in front of train wrecks, alerting investors when the risks have gotten too great in a stock. Unfortunately, he said , the genie is already out of the bottle when it comes to this new-style trading and regulators will only pay attention after the next flash crash or other disaster happens.

Cramer agreed with many of Greenberg's points, saying that while he focuses mainly on the rewards an investment can make, Herb takes the opposite side of the trade and warns of the risks. Together, he said, investors can get the whole picture and still make a ton of money.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on Ross Stores ( ROST), TJX Companies ( TJX), Westport Innovations ( WPRT), Alkermes ( ALKS), Baidu.com ( BIDU), Randgold Resources ( GOLD), Goldcorp ( GG), Allstate ( ALL) and Prudential ( PRU).

He was bearish on Under Armour ( UA), Veolia Environnement ( VE), AnnTaylor Stores ( ANN), New Oriental Education ( EDU), Stillwater Mining ( SWC) and Sprint Nextel ( S).

Closing Comments

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer sang the praises of kicking the can down the road. He said that unlike 2008, banks have had time to prepare for the coming defaults in Europe and reposition themselves for the least possible losses. Cramer said he expects to hear good things from JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) when it reports.

Cramer said that the problem with Lehman Brothers was that most of its debts were in synthetic instruments that simply had no value. But today's banking problems are with sovereign debt, which does have at least a little value behind it. Cramer said he expects that investors will be shocked to learn just how little exposure our banks have to the calamity that is Europe.

So does this news make U.S. banks investable? Cramer said no. He said that with no recovery in housing on the horizon and new banking regulations making it impossible to make money, the bank stocks are still not investable.

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

To contact the writer of this article, click here: Scott Rutt.

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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Cummins.

Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for TheStreet.com, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of TheStreet.com 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 TheStreet.com, 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 TheStreet.com is related to the specific opinions expressed by him on "Mad Money."

None of the information contained in "Mad Money" constitutes a recommendation by Mr. Cramer, TheStreet.com or CNBC that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You must make your own independent decisions regarding any security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy mentioned on the program. Mr. Cramer's past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance. Neither Mr. Cramer, nor TheStreet.com, nor CNBC guarantees any specific outcome or profit, and you should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investments discussed on the program. The strategy or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than you invested. Before acting on any information contained in the program, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser.

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 TheStreet.com. 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 TheStreet.com, 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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