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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,
Executive DecisionIn 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 ShowdownIt'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.