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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. economy is improving, and markets would be even higher if Europe didn't matter, Jim Cramer's told his "Mad Money" audience Tuesday. Perhaps the biggest driver for U.S. growth is, of all things, housing. Cramer said recent home sales data showed strength in the four hardest-hit areas of the country: Miami and Naples in Florida, Phoenix in Arizona and Orange County in California. A number of things have happened to create this improvement: The glut of foreclosures has dwindled, new-home inventory is down, homes are affordable, consumer confidence has blossomed and banks are providing the credit needed for purchasing. In addition, Cramer said raw-material costs are falling for builders while gasoline and heating oil costs are falling for consumers, helping to add to the robust growth we're seeing. As job growth continues and the housing market builds steam, Cramer said it's no wonder stocks such as Wal-Mart ( WMT) are hitting 52-week highs despite recent bribery allegations in Mexico. At the same time, car sales continue to strengthen. Other market positives include the upcoming U.S. presidential election since, according to Cramer, the markets win no matter who gets elected; and a slew of recent acquisitions and initial public offerings. Despite its many problems, Cramer noted the Facebook ( FB) IPO did bring excitement and new money into the markets. The recent acquisitions by Eaton ( ETN) and SAP ( SAP) are also adding fuel to investors' market appetite. However, for the time being all eyes must remain on Europe, Cramer said, because for all the many positive things happening in the U.S., they won't matter if the European economy continued to implode.
ExactTarget IPO Overshadowed by FacebookIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget ( ET), a recent IPO that got lost in the Facebook fever. Shares of ExactTarget popped 32% on their first day of trading only to pull back. The stock currently trades at four times forward sales, as the company has yet to turn a profit. Dorsey said ExactTarget could turn a profit today if it wanted to but the company chose to continue investing in the business. He said ExactTarget's platform allows customers to communicate with customers via email, mobile and social channels, all from a single interface.
ExactTarget has proven to be a predictable performer, thanks in part to its subscription-based model. The company delivered 45% year-over-year revenue growth in its most recent quarter. Cramer said in a market where growth is hard to find, companies like ExactTarget, while speculative, remain an excellent place to invest.
Action Alerts PLUS . Redler called the top in Apple back in April, right before the stock's decline. Redler noted that after a monster rally that began in January, Apple displayed an "outside day" where the stock hit a new intraday high, only to finish at a lower low at the close. This move was followed by three days of weak trading before the decline began in earnest. But Redler turned bullish on Apple Monday after the stock held its 100-day moving average on strong volume, a bullish sign. He has faith that if Apple could break out above $570 a share another rally will ensue. Boroden came to a similar conclusion using a different analysis. According to her research, Apple's last two major declines are similar in size to the one just completed, meaning that if the stock tops $570, it could see $677, the average size of its most recent rallies. Cramer reminded viewers that he's not a believer in technical analysis, choosing to stick with the fundamentals. That said, Apple is a terrific company, certainly far better than Facebook, he believes. While the technicians like Apple only above $570 a share, Cramer said he likes the stock right here at $556.
Off the ChartsIn the "Off the Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleagues Scott Redler and Carolyn Boroden over the chart of Apple ( AAPL), a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
Lightning RoundHere's what Cramer had to say about callers' stocks during the "Lightning Round": Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX): "I'm torn. It's almost yielding 4% but we need to see signs of growth around the world." LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB): "This one yields 4% but I am on the fence with Lyondell." Mechel Steel ( MTL): "No no, we've got enough problems without that stock." Krispy Kreme Doughnuts ( KKD): "I've got Dunkin Brands ( DNKN), why do I need Krispy Kreme?" Timken ( TKR): "This is a fabulous company. I want to own it."