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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- You can't start a fire without a spark, Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Thursday. In the case of the U.S. economy, that spark is Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Cramer said Bernanke's goal is simple: keep the economy hot enough to spur hiring. But after his first round of interest rate cutting and bond buying failed, and his second round of massive bond buying also fizzled, Cramer said this time Bernanke is really pouring on the gasoline. According to the Fed's statement Thursday, it plans on keeping the economy hot enough that companies will eventually not only want to hire, they'll need to hire. There are many things the Fed can't control, said Cramer, like the continued woes in Europe and the stalled Chinese economy. But what Bernanke can control is the U.S. housing market, by keeping interest rates super low, and the banking sector, by instilling confidence that it's OK to loan money. Cramer said both of these actions will work off the remaining housing glut in our country and eventually stimulate home building, which is a big portion of our economy. When home prices are rising, people feel richer, said Cramer, and that in turn will stimulate other sectors of the economy including retail and autos. He said keeping interest rates low also keeps a lid on the U.S. dollar, which helps companies that sell internationally as well. Cramer said there are plenty of skeptics about the Fed's actions. While he's not ready to begin celebrating quite yet, he thinks things are starting to move in the right direction.
Executive DecisionIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Michael Sutherlin, president and CEO of mining equipment maker Joy Global ( JOY), a company that may be poised for a turnaround thanks to the Federal Reserve's actions. Sutherlin said Joy Global is starting to see a bottom in both the U.S. and Chinese markets, and he feels pretty good about his company's prospects in both places. While the company still expects 2013 to be flat to down slightly from 2012 levels, Sutherlin is optimistic about his company's project flow, and it still has streamlining and cost-cutting to be done.
Two Companies in OneSometimes it doesn't matter how good a company is, if it's packaged wrong for investors it will never receive the value it deserves. That's why Cramer is such a fan of breakup stories, companies with disparate businesses that could unlock tremendous value if only management would decide to split themselves up. Such is the case with Manitowoc ( MTW), a company that has two very different businesses under one roof. One half that is an old-school crane business. The company makes everything from giant tower cranes to boom trucks, all of which are levered to construction and, therefore, economic growth. But the other half of Manitowoc is restaurant equipment, where the company makes things like fryers, grills and ice makers for the food service industry. That business is not cyclical, which means it appeals to a completely different investor base. Cramer said using conservative estimates, Manitowoc's crane business could be valued at $2.5 billion, while its red-hot food service business could fetch an additional $2.5 billion. That means as a breakup possibility, the company is worth up to $5 billion. That's far more than the $3.9 billion the market is giving the combined company, noted Cramer, and represents a 28% premium over today's prices. If management were to pull the trigger on a breakup, shareholders could profit by $4 a share almost overnight.