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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- America is now caught in a tug of war between Europe and China, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Thursday. He said that while our markets are still being held hostage by economies around the globe, at least now there's a counter-balance to all of the negativity of Europe. Cramer was referring to the Chinese interest rate cut, the first for that country in four years, that was announced early Thursday. Before then all eyes were focused on the 10-year Spanish bond auction, noted Cramer. Once the Chinese news broke, the Standard & Poor's 500 futures were off to the races. But by the end of the day that momentum had stalled, said Cramer, as the markets once again focused on Europe. Cramer said the Chinese rate cut matters as interest rates in that country are still near 6%, leaving lots of room for future cuts. While the media may have been focused on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Cramer once again noted that Bernanke is no longer in control of U.S. markets; our interest rates are already hovering near zero. "The U.S. is out of ammo," said Cramer. That's why stocks like Cummins ( CMI) were able to rally, said Cramer. It wasn't because of strong U.S. truck sales, but the promise of stronger Chinese truck sales. Several other industrials with Chinese exposure also rallied on similar theories. Cramer said our reprieve today may have only been short-lived, but at least there's something positive to counter the European news, and that's something positive that we didn't have yesterday.
Retail Turnaround KingWhen it comes to companies with no European exposure, investors can't do must better than Ascena Retail ( ASNA), a domestic retailer that's turning old, forgotten brands into profits for its shareholders. Cramer said Ascena, which is known for its Dress Barn, Maurice's and Justice chains of retail stores, is the king of retail turnarounds and now that the company announced it's buying Charming Shoppes ( CHRS), better known for Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug, the company just got a whole lot better. Shares of Ascena popped 10% when the news was announced on May 2, but since then has pulled back with the broader markets. Many saw the company's May 31 conference call as a two-cent-a-share earnings miss, but Cramer noted that Ascena's quarter was actually fine after backing out costs associated with the acquisition.
Ascena has a track record of delivering on its acquisitions, said Cramer. Twelve months after Ascena's last two acquisitions, shares were up 97% and 145% and Cramer said he expects similar gains again this time. The key to Ascena's success is managing expectations, said Cramer, something not seen at J.C. Penney ( JCP). Ascena takes things slow, he said, under-promising and overdelivering. Ascena is one company that knows how to revitalize retail brands and give customers exactly what they're looking for. Cramer said he would be a buyer of Ascena at current levels.