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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the Dow Jones Industrial Average just a stone's throw away from its five-year high, Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Tuesday he's not celebrating the milestone, but he's also not assuming this is the top either. Cramer said there are a lot of reasons why the markets are different this time around. He said that back in 2007 the Dow was at 14,000 based on an unregulated housing market, derivatives that no one understood, a booming Chinese economy and an insatiable appetite for all things tech. But today, the companies that make up the Dow are in far better shape than they were in 2007, and the world's economy is on the mend. The Dow is just a group of stocks, Cramer reminded viewers, so just think about what would happen if they replaced a stock like Bank of America ( BAC) with a stock like Amazon.com ( AMZN). Cramer noted that Pfizer's ( PFE) free cash flow in 2007 was $11 billion. Today, that number is $20 billion. Merck ( MRK) had $5 billion in cash flow, while today it has $12 billion. Stocks like Home Depot ( HD), another Dow component, aren't suffering from a crashing housing market but profiting from a growing one. What of Walt Disney ( DIS)? Isn't that company far better off now, with its Marvell and Lucasfilm acquisitions, than it was in 2007 without them? Cramer said the markets didn't deserve to be at 14,000 last time, but today they most certainly do.
Off the ChartsIn the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleague Scott Redler to see if the markets really can stay above their all-time highs. Back on Feb. 14 of last year, Redler boldly predicted the S&P 500 would see 1,700 by 2015. Based on what he's seeing now, Redler feels that target could come a whole lot sooner. Redler took a long-term view of the S&P using a monthly chart going all the way back to 1976. He noted that during the 1980s, the index rallied 250%. Then during the 1990s, it rallied another 360%. Thus there's precedent for large, multi-year moves to the upside. During the 2000s, however, the markets pulled back and formed a double top with the S&P near 1,500 in 2000 and again in 2008.
So can the S&P get past 1,500 this time? Redler thinks yes. He noted that the S&P's daily chart shows a pattern of higher lows in recent weeks and very little resistance over 1,500. The average is clearly above its eight-day and 21-day moving averages, another sign of strength. Cramer said he agrees with Redler that after a decade of consolidation it now looks like the S&P 500 and the broader markets are poising for a well-deserved move into record territory.