Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Safe Harbors for Investment

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors need safe places to put their money on down days like today, Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Monday, as he kicked off a weeklong series of top investing trends for 2013.

Cramer said these trends will be the rising tides that lift all boats and will be the safe places to invest as Washington will likely dominate the headlines again soon.

Cramer's first investing theme for 2013? The return of banking.

He said after years of fighting to survive, the banks have finally raised enough capital and have dealt with their bad loans, making them once again investable. As the cloud begins to lift on the sector, Cramer said those in the strongest position will be the regional banks such as First Horizon ( FHN) and BB&T ( BBT).

His favorite regional player remains KeyCorp ( KEY), a stock he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS .

Cramer's next big theme for 2013 is the return of the auto market, something that bodes well for both Ford Motor ( F) and General Motors ( GM).

Cramer said the U.S. market grew throughout 2012, but the main stumbling block for the automakers was Europe. With Europe finally beginning to stabilize and both companies making aggressive cost-cutting efforts, Cramer said the automakers should be poised to prosper from a global economic recovery.

Executive Decision

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Dr. Francois Nader, president and CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals ( NPSP), an orphan-drug maker that's popped 31% after Cramer first recommended it in September. Since then shares have pulled back and Cramer's taking a second look as the company prepares to present its latest data on Wednesday.

Nader commented on the price tag of his company's most recent drug, which treats a condition known as short bowel syndrome afflicting only 3,000 to 5,000 patients in the U.S. The treatment, which weighs in at just under $300,000 a year, is actually a tremendous value, said Nader, as it currently costs almost $600,000 a year for patients to stay at the hospital and receive what can be 12 hours a day of IV nutritional supplements.

Using the NPS treatment, patients will be able to leave the hospital and return to their jobs and to normal lives, said Nader, which makes the cost of the treatment not only invaluable to patients, but also a great savings for insurance providers.

Nader noted that a full 100% of patients surveyed said they were interested in trying the drug and NPS even has a program in place to help patients with their co-pays if they have them. Nader said that no patient will be denied this treatment for a lack of the ability to pay.

Cramer said that while some may scoff at the thought of a $300,000 a year drug, clearly it is far better than the alternative, which is why orphan-drug makers like NPS are so critical to our health-care system. He once again recommended the stock of NPS Pharmaceuticals.

Stock Showdown

It's playoff season, Cramer told viewers, and that means the best football teams square off against each other. But it's also time to put the top-performing stocks against each other.

That's why he looked at Home Depot ( HD) and Bank of America ( BAC), two of the top-performing Dow stocks last year, to see which one makes the grade for 2013.

Cramer said both companies are excellent and both will see their share prices head higher in 2013, but Home Depot is the quintessential "A" student that just keeps on delivering more "A's." Bank of America, however, was a "C-" student that's been hitting the books and is now a solid "B" student now that Wall Street is starting to notice and reward.

Bank of America needs a healthy economy in order to recover, noted Cramer. Fortunately, the U.S. economy is starting to deliver with stronger housing, autos and maybe even job growth soon.

Many of the worries for this sector are now behind it. Bank of America, in particular, has taken out huge costs, cleaned up its balance sheet and is receiving approvals to return more capital to shareholders. Shares of Bank of America may be up 109% for 2012, but it still trades at a 30% discount to its tangible book value, said Cramer.

Home Depot is still a great company, said Cramer, and the housing recovery is still in its early stage. However, the stock trades at 18 times earnings, which is just below its historical high of 19 times earnings. Home Depot also has difficult comparisons from 2012, he noted.

Bank of America wins in this showdown.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Accenture ( ACN), McGraw-Hill ( MHP), SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD), International Business Machines ( IBM), Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B) and Emerson Electric ( EMR).

Cramer was bearish on iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) and Hudson City Bancorp ( HCBK).

Fighting Cancer

In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Kevin Conroy, president and CEO of Exact Sciences ( EXAS), a speculative biotech company working on a non-invasive stool test for colon cancer. So far it has achieved 90% accuracy at detecting colon cancer without the need for a colonoscopy. The test is expected to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2014.

Conroy said there are over 150,000 new cases of colon cancer discovered every year, and 75% of those are patients on Medicare. That's why Exact Sciences is working with both the FDA as well as with Medicare directly to help get this test to market as quickly as possible. Currently there are 12,700 patients in his company's clinical trial and Conroy hopes to prove the test is both safe and effective at catching colon cancer early.

Exact Sciences is also working on similar tests for cancer of the pancreas and esophagus.

Cramer said Exact Sciences is exactly what our country needs to help rein in health-care costs. He remained bullish on the stock, which is up 37% since he first recommended it in October 2010.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said forgiveness is the word of the day as company after company has reported disappointing results, only to see their shares fall but rebound sharply.

Cramer cited several examples of this behavior, from Walt Disney ( DIS) to Discover Financial ( DFS) to Ebay ( EBAY) to 3M ( MMM), all of which saw up to a 10% slide in their share prices followed by a sharp recovery.

Cramer said he expects this trend to continue with this quarters' earnings season, which kicks off Tuesday with Alcoa ( AA).

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

To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in EMR, IBM, KEY.

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