NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Today was a microcosm of the market," Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Monday. He said despite the markets ups and downs, the markets seem pretty steady, unlike that of 2011. Cramer said on the surface it might seem easy to draw a parallel between now and this same time last year. Both years started out with a bang, he said, but last year's markets hit a big wall named Europe. But that's not the case this year, as the market dynamics are different. Cramer likened the market to a four-legged stool, with the legs represented by the U.S., Europe, China and the emerging markets. He explained that last year the U.S. markets were doing nothing, while Europe was just realizing it was in big trouble. Meanwhile China was putting the breaks on its red-hot real estate markets and the emerging markets were slowing their economies as well. Putting all four of those factors together meant that there was no way the slowly improving U.S. markets could escape the pull from Europe. Fast forward to today and Cramer said the markets paint a different picture. Europe is still in a recession, he said, but there is some progress being made on the debt issues. The European economies could still take a turn for the worse, but largely they've stabilized. Things are still slowing in China, said Cramer, but at least that country is letting up on the brakes, as are the emerging markets like Brazil. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is picking up steam, led by aerospace, oil and gas, autos and non-residential construction. Cramer said today's stool creates a mixed picture, but one that's far better than it was just a year ago. Thus the markets are tipped by news from Europe and can react positively to news out of China, but largely they hold their own. Cramer said this can be seen in today's trading action, as stocks sold off in the morning while the European markets were trading, but rallied in the afternoon as the U.S. news ruled the rest of the day.
Turnaround Play"The market rewards improvement," Cramer told viewers, as he highlighted Newell Rubbermaid ( NWL), a company that has been struggling for ages but now may be poised for a major turnaround. Last week, Rubbermaid reported terrific quarterly results, sending shares up 8%. Cramer said that Rubbermaid has brands that we all know and love, brands like Rubbermaid, but also Calphalon in the kitchen and Sharpie at the office. This means that the company will benefit from the growing home improvement trend as consumers beef up spending on their homes. But Rubbermaid is about more than just a rise in consumer spending, said Cramer, it's also about a major restructuring. The company has pared down its business divisions from 13 to just nine and has organized them into just two groups, consumer and professional. That means a drastic reduction in its bloated costs including redundant sales forces and overhead. Cramer said that Rubbermaid is now also a lot less hostage to rising resin and natural gas prices thanks to the continued diversification of its product lines. The company's CEO also has "street cred," said Cramer, after being a winner in consumer products for many years. After losing nearly 85% of its value from 2007 to 2009, shares of Rubbermaid currently sell for just 10.3 times earnings with the company's 9% growth rate. Cramer said the company derives only 10% of its sales from the ailing Europe and has the ability to boost its dividend after a 69% cut in 2009 and another 21% cut in 2010. Cramer said his bottom line is that sometimes the real winners aren't "A" students, they're "D" students that are turning themselves into "B" students.
Discretionary Spending TradeKicking off a new series entitled "Show-Off Stocks," Cramer turned the spotlight onto what he called a multi-year trend towards increased discretionary spending. His first show-off stock was Brunswick ( BC), the world's No. 1 maker of boats and other discretionary items like billiard tables and bowling equipment. Cramer explained that boats and boat engines account for 75% of Brunswick's sales and that means that investors can make boatloads of money from this growing business. While competitors have been hit hard by the recession and have closed dealers, Brunswick has been taking share and has seen its dealer count increase slightly. Additionally, the average age of a powerboat in the U.S. is up to 21 years from just 15 years, meaning a large portion of older boats are likely to be upgraded in the near future. Boats may the be ultimate in discretionary spending, but with shares of Brunswick trading just under $21 a share and off its $50 highs just a few years ago, Cramer said this stock has room to run. Brunswick is trading at 11 times earnings with a 13% growth rate, he said, and the company also has a strong exercise and bowling business to boot.