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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Our inferiority complex is blinding us to what's driving stocks higher, Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Monday. Cramer said too many investors are being thrown off by U.S. worries and aren't looking at the world at large. While it's true that many investors took President Obama at his word last month and prepared for an economy-shaking, sequester-induced panic, in reality most U.S. companies appear to be holding up fairly well. Small business may be slow to hire because of health-care fears but even the defense stocks -- those levered most to the federal government -- are still at 52-week highs, Cramer noted. But for all the fears and concerns here at home, Cramer said nothing compares to overseas. The wealthy in Europe are fleeing European banks in favor of the safety and stability of U.S. banks. Meanwhile, in China, the economy is stalling once again, sending investors there looking to U.S. markets as well. Finally, there's Japan, a country that's adopted a frightening strategy of doing anything it can to jump-start growth, even if it means hyper-inflation. That's sending Japanese investors to U.S. REITs, utilities, drug stocks and anything that's paying a sizable dividend, said Cramer. So as bad as things may seem here in the U.S., it's easy to see why the rest of the world is helping to buoy our markets. There simply isn't a better place on Earth to invest.
Grabbing an OpportunityIt's clear that General Electric ( GE) wants to dominate the oil and gas service sector, Cramer told viewers. The company announced today it's buying Lufkin Industries ( LUFK), sending shares higher by 37% in just a single day. Cramer said people simply don't' understand how big an opportunity the oil and gas business is in America. He said that currently 9.6 million people are employed by the industry, accounting for a full 8% of GDP and growing rapidly. While fossil fuels may be seen as the enemy, oil and gas are still far cleaner than the alternative, coal, and with jobs so plentiful, why not embrace it for the time being?
Making a larger run at the oil and gas service sector makes perfect sense for GE, said Cramer. Already the company is leading the way with natural gas locomotives, turbines and lot more. Lufkin will be a perfect fit, he said, but there are still other opportunities for GE to acquire. Cramer suggested FMC Technology ( FTI), currently valued at $12 billion, could be one company that could complement GE's investments and cement its place in the industry. Chart Industries ( GTLS), along with Clean Harbors ( CLH) and Core Labs ( CLB) are other possibilities. Cramer reminded viewers that he never recommends a stock on a takeover unless the fundamentals are also strong. In all of these cases, these stocks can make investors a lot of money as oil and gas in America rages on.
Action Alerts PLUS . With its 3.3% yield, Cramer said J&J is a magnet for international money looking for safety. While the company received a downgrade today, Cramer thinks the report was shortsighted because the company is worth a lot more than the analysts realize. While Wall Street likes companies that are easy to understand, J&J has become messy, with many different divisions that are begging to be broken up to unlock their true value, Cramer said. Wall Street likes things that are simple; hopefully, J&J can deliver on that front soon. The Johnson & Johnson Achilles heel has been the company's consumer products division, which has been plagued by issues and recalls. But that division is beginning to clean itself up, said Cramer, while at the same time J&J's pharma division has past its "patent cliff" where many of its biggest drugs lost patent protection. Cramer said the company still has a strong pipeline of new drugs, including three in Phase III testing. He recommended buying in after earnings, but ahead of J&J's scheduled pipeline review set for May 23.
Pharma Focus on J&JAfter spending the past two weeks highlighting companies in the biotech space, Cramer said he didn't want to give the impression that old-line Big Pharma doesn't have opportunities,too. So he has kicked off a week-long series starting with Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust,