Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Looking Abroad for Growth

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Higher taxes and disarray in Washington has caused 2013 to become the exact opposite of 2012, Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Monday. Cramer said all the stocks that investors fled from in 2012 are now the hot commodities of 2013.

Cramer said January usually sets the trends for the year, and this year the trends are to stay away from everything domestic and stick with big international companies that can offer growth.

This certainly is true of China, he said, where the iShares FTSE China 25 ( FXI), a fund he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, has been on fire. The trends in China are so strong, he said, that even stocks like Coach ( COH), Starbucks ( SBUX) and Wynn Resorts ( WYNN) are all working again.

Aerospace is an international business, noted Cramer, as are autos, which is why Boeing ( BA) and Honeywell ( HON) are up, along with Ford ( F) and General Motors ( GM).

Biotechs have been held back by Europe, Cramer said, but no more, as Celgene ( CELG) and Allergan ( AGN) have proven. Even Banco Santander ( SAN), the poster child for the European debt debacle, is now investable.

So where does that leave things here in the U.S.? Cramer said that with Washington a mess and people now earning less in their paychecks, pickings are slim. He said housing-related stocks and anything that goes into a home still works, as does some financials and technology. However, for the most part, it's harder to make money in the U.S. when people have less to spend.

Playing Matchmaker

With the housing market on the mend, Cramer played matchmaker and suggested that Masco ( MAS) should merge with Fortune Brands Home & Security ( FBHS) to create a housing powerhouse. He said while both companies will likely have a strong 2013, they'd do even better as a combined company.

Why would a Masco Fortune be a match made in heaven? Because while both companies have already restructured themselves and taken out a ton of costs, a combined company could take out even more, eliminating duplicate functions and dramatically increasing margins by also getting better pricing on materials.

Next, the combined company would also have more leverage over its two main customers, Home Depot ( HD) and Lowe's ( LOW), and could negotiate better pricing and shelf space.

Cramer said he also likes a merger based on international exposure as the combine company would have a solid foothold in China and other key markets around the globe.

Cramer last recommended both Masco and Fortune a year ago and since then Fortune has risen 72% while Masco is up 48%. He said a combined company would be able to head even higher given how early we are in the U.S. housing cycle.

Getting to the Core of Apple

Can Apple ( AAPL) still dazzle investors? Cramer told viewers he's starting to have doubts, which has caused him to trim his position of Apple in Action Alerts PLUS by half.

Cramer said Apple now has a few things going against it. The company doesn't appear to have another blockbuster product up its sleeve, at least not that anyone can tell. Its breakthrough TV product may not have the support of cable and content providers, he said, something that would be crucial for its success.

Then there are the missteps, like Maps and the new iTunes, which is loathed by many consumers. Cramer said this customer discontent is brutal for a company that charges a premium for its products and has traditionally not made many public mistakes.

Finally, Cramer said there's his kids, both of whom have come to him recently complaining they're fed up with Apple, as are many of their friends.

Cramer said Apple still remains incredible cheap trading at just 10 times earnings with a 2% yield, but that may not be enough to save the stock. Apple's fortunes could turn on a dime, Cramer conceded, which is why he continues to hold onto Apple shares. But for the near term, the stock may continue to flounder.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Limited Brands ( LTD), Blackstone Group ( BX), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts ( KKR), Trinity Industries ( TRN), HollyFrontier ( HFC), GNC Holdings ( GNC), BioScrip ( BIOS), ConocoPhillips ( COP), New York Community Bancorp ( NYCB), Public Storage ( PSA) and iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ).

Cramer was bearish on Fortress Investments ( FIG), Resolute Energy ( REN) and Nomura Holdings ( NMR).

Know Your IPO

In the "Know Your IPO" segment, Cramer circled back on an initial public offering that had a horrible debut in 2012 but now may be ready to run. He said Ruckus Wireless ( RKUS), which came public on Nov. 15, is now up 77% from its post-IPO lows and investors should take notice.

Cramer explained that Ruckus aims to solve one of Wi-Fi's biggest weaknesses: interference. He said the company's routers and access points use dynamic antennas that adapt to changing conditions in real time, making them ideal for densely populated areas like the enterprise and college campuses. By using Ruckus technology, the amount of coverage a company can get from a single access point is expanded, meaning the company can purchase fewer of them.

The Wi-Fi segment is expected to grow at 20% a year, noted Cramer, and with Ruckus taking share from competitors, it should grow even faster. He said shares are currently sporting a sky-high valuation at six times sales, which is why he'd wait for a pullback before pulling the trigger.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on why stocks like Research in Motion ( RIMM), Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), Best Buy ( BBY) and Avon Products ( AVP) have all been able to rally despite reporting horrible earnings.

Cramer said it's clear all of these names were oversold and attracting bargain hunters, along with those investors hopeful for a breakup or takeover or restructuring or new product to save them.

The problem is, we have no hard evidence of any of these Hail Marys, said Cramer, which makes all of these stocks prone to give up their recent gains in the blink of an eye. Be careful, he concluded.

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

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

Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDC

At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had positions in AAPL, EWJ, IFX, SBUX.

Jim Cramer, host of the CNBC television program "Mad Money," is a Markets Commentator for TheStreet.com, Inc., and CNBC, and a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. All opinions expressed by Mr. Cramer on "Mad Money" are his own and do not reflect the opinions of TheStreet.com or its affiliates, or CNBC, NBC Universal or their parent company or affiliates. Mr. Cramer's opinions are based upon information he considers to be reliable, but neither TheStreet.com, nor CNBC, nor either of their affiliates and/or subsidiaries warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. Mr. Cramer's statements are based on his opinions at the time statements are made, and are subject to change without notice. No part of Mr. Cramer's compensation from CNBC or TheStreet.com is related to the specific opinions expressed by him on "Mad Money."

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