Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Taking Stock of the Rally

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Is today's historic market close the real deal or just a flash in the pan?

That was what Jim Cramer was trying to figure out on his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday. Cramer told viewers there are a few key metrics that investors can use to see why today's highs are vastly different than those of October 2007.

The first metric is valuations, Cramer told viewers. Take a stock like Google ( GOOG), which received another upgrade with a $1,000 price target today. Is Google expensive? No, not really. Google trades at just 15 times earnings, Cramer noted, and that's less than most companies that make things like cereal and soap, companies that certainly don't have Google's growth.

Investors can also look at market breadth, said Cramer. In 2007, the markets were only being led by commodity stocks and anything levered to China. Today, the markets are seeing strength in just about everything, including housing, autos, retail, rails, aerospace, the banks and a whole lot more. Cramer reminded viewers that the transports usually act as a confirmation of a rally. They weren't rallying in 2007, but they were today.

So with valuations not stretched and good leadership and a wide breadth of stocks, the markets certainly look a lot better today than in 2007, Cramer concluded. Add to that the many things that are now behind us, including the financial crisis, the worst of Europe, U.S. debt downgrades and the presidential election, and it's easy to see why investors may be adding to their positions instead of running for the hills.

Off the Charts

In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleagues Scott Redler and Carolyn Boroden over the chart of Facebook ( FB), a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS . Should investors give Facebook a second chance after its miserable IPO last year? According to the chartists, yes.

Looking at a weekly chart of another social network, LinkedIn ( LNKD), Redler noted that once the stock got above its ceiling of resistance at $110, it shot directly to $176, proving that once a social network proves itself, investors are more than willing to pile in.

That's why Facebook's weekly chart is so intriguing. Redler noted that the stock has formed the bullish cup and handle pattern, which would indicate a monster rally if it can get above $32.50 a share. Boroden's analysis was similar in nature, noting that the stock's next resistance is at $28.32, followed by $34, and then higher from there.

But Cramer said he's a fundamentalist, which means he doesn't like waiting for stocks to go higher before buying them. He said Facebook has conquered mobile, which was its big stumbling block after its botched IPO. That's why he'd use and weakness to be buying Facebook, then riding it higher to its resistance levels and beyond.

Flying US Airways

When the facts change, Cramer's always willing to change his mind, even if it means recommending an airline. Cramer said his mantra for decades has been "never, ever own an airline," but with a string of mergers and consolidation in the industry, it's now time to recommend US Airways ( LCC).

Cramer said that after years of cut-throat competition that made the airlines simply un-investable, a string of mergers has taken away much of that competition, which may be bad news for travelers but is great news for stockholders. There's a new world order, said Cramer, with the top four airlines now set to control 80% of all U.S. flights.

That's why US Airways, which is set to merge with American Airlines when that company emerges from bankruptcy later this year, is worth getting in now, ahead of the deal. Once closed, the new American will be the largest airline in the world, said Cramer, and it will be number one on the East Coast, number one in middle America and number three on the West Coast.

With an estimated $1 billion in cost savings expected from the deal, Cramer said there's a lot to like about this combined behemoth.

Shares of US Airways will be trading in a range until the deal is approved, said Cramer, but if it follows the pattern of other acquisitions that stagnation will be quickly replaced by a sharp move to the upside in the following years.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on MGIC Investment ( MTG), Radian Group ( RDN), Hospitality Properties Trust ( HPT) and Vale ( VALE).

Cramer was bearish on BMC Software ( BMC) and HJ Heinz ( HNZ).

Executive Decision: David Jaffe

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena Retail Group ( ASNA), a stock that popped 14.3% Tuesday on the company's three-cent-a-share earnings beat and 2% rise in same-store sales. This came after the company's shares dropped after lowering its full-year guidance on Jan. 10.

Jaffe said with Ascena's recent acquisition of Charming Shoppes, it has "had a lot going on" over the past few months. He said that unlike other acquisitions, which only included a single brand, Charming had three brands plus a lot of extras. Ascena continues to focus on both the Lane Bryant and Katherine's brands, Jaffe noted, and has already shuttered Fashion Bug and continues to work on integrating the company's shared services. Ascena has a new president for Lane Bryant, Jaffe added, along with several other new key executives.

Jaffe said he feels good about the spring season, which includes an early Easter. He said time will tell how the new spring merchandise will be received but added "so far so good."

When asked about Ascena's foray into boys clothing, Jaffe said that of the stores where it has tested a dual-gender concept, sales for the girls' merchandise have not declined, which is translating into an increase for overall store sales.

Cramer said that after stumbling last quarter, he now feels Ascena is back to delivering positive results for its shareholders.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer addressed all those who are worried about what happens when the Federal Reserve stops its stimulus efforts. He said these "fear mongers" are doing everything they can to scare investors out of the markets and are, in fact, only hurting individual investors with their "cautious" advice.

Cramer said investors need to give Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke some credit because he most certainly has an orderly exit plan for the Fed's stimulus activities. Furthermore, if investor had listened to the bears and stayed out of the markets out of fear, they would have missed this miraculous rally over the past few years.

Maybe the rich can afford to sit on the sidelines, Cramer concluded, but the individual investor needs to be in this rally and making as much money as he or she can and as fast as possible.

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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 FB and VALE.

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