Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Don't Fear the Fed

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve will have to stop its stimulus eventually, Jim Cramer said Monday on "Mad Money," but this week's Fed meeting will not be the big, bad event that everyone is fearing.

Cramer reminded viewers Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is a student of history and knows all too well the lessons of 1937 when the government thought the Great Depression was over and raised taxes prematurely. That move sent the economy back into recession, he noted, and today's Fed won't make the same mistakes twice.

There's simply not enough evidence that it's 1937 all over again, said Cramer, which is why he expects this week's Fed meeting to result in just more of the same.

Cramer said it's true that the housing market is heating up, but the quick spike in mortgage rates will likely cool things off in a hurry. Home prices are making some homeowners spend more but many more still are not. Unemployment is nowhere near the Fed's target of 6.5% and there simply aren't a lot of construction jobs being formed yet.

Overseas, our allies aren't in great shape either, said Cramer, with Europe still weak, Japan still in question and many emerging markets just in a constant state of flux.

So is now the time to begin withdrawing stimulus or is it 1937 all over again? Cramer said the answer is clear: The Fed needs to stay the course until many of these metrics begin to improve.

Hungry for Restaurant Stocks

There's no denying restaurant stocks are hot this year, Cramer told viewers, which is why he pitted two of the more restaurant chains against one another to see which one is the better investment.

When it comes to Red Robin Gourmet Burgers ( RRGB) versus Bloomin' Brands ( BLMN), there's clearly one winner.

Bloomin' Brands, purveyors of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, is the larger of the two chains, with 1,471 locations compared to Red Robin's 475 locations. But even with the size difference, when it comes to what the markets are looking for most -- growth -- the two are roughly even, with Red Robin taking a slight lead at 4% growth compared to Bloomin's 2% growth.

When it comes to same-store sales, it's also a wash, said Cramer, with both chains delivering low-single-digit growth. Red Robin may have the edge in the short term given that it's 100% domestic, but over the longer term Bloomin' might have the edge as it is more poised for international growth.

Other metrics including store openings and remodels also make it tough to compare the companies, which is why the ultimate decision has to come from comparing the stocks, Cramer said.

While both stocks have rallied 60% for the year, Red Robin currently trades at 22 times earnings with a 9.5% growth rate, pegging it at 2.3 times its growth rate. Meanwhile, Bloomin' trades at just 18 times earnings with a 16.7% growth rate, putting its shares at just one time its growth rate. Cramer reminded viewers that any time shares rise above twice the growth rate, they become risky.

That's why Cramer said he'd put his money with Bloomin' Brands.

Miami vs. San Antonio Specs

Continuing with his "Miami versus San Antonio" homage to the basketball finals, Cramer took a look at two speculative companies, Miami's Opko Health ( OPK) versus San Antonio's Clear Channel Outdoor ( CCO). He said that it might seem weird to compare a biotech against an advertising company, but both stocks trade at $7 a share and their market caps are almost identical.

Cramer said when comparing these two companies he used offense, defense, hustle, stamina and teamwork as his basketball-themed criteria. He said when it comes to offense, Clear Channel has growth potential in its new digital products, while Opko has virtually no offense until its prostate cancer test and other drugs come closer to fruition. One point to Clear Channel.

In the defense department, Cramer said both companies are speculative, with neither paying dividends or having any stock buybacks. That said, Opko is not economically sensitive like Clear Channel, giving the point to Opko.

For hustle, Cramer said Clear Channel is very bloated, with $4.5 billion in debt on its books, while in the stamina department, Opko wins thanks to a long track record of smart acquisitions helping the bottom line.

Finally, for teamwork, Cramer said that Opko's CEO is the real deal, having rewarded shareholders in all of his past companies, making his chances of success at Opko even greater.

Adding up all the points, Cramer said it's easy to see why Opko has the edge and scores another big win for Miami.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on eBay ( EBAY), Pengrowth Energy Trust ( PGH), ConAgra Foods ( CAG), Coty ( COTY), Estee Lauder ( EL), Carmax ( KMX), Pier 1 Imports ( PIR), Bank of America ( BAC) and Tupperware ( TUP).

Cramer was bearish on Sears Holdings ( SHLD) and Nu Skin Enterprises ( NUS).

Merger Mania

Merger mania continues on Wall Street, Cramer told viewers, with three recent deals showing just how red-hot the markets really are.

Cramer said when newspaper giant Gannett ( GCI) announced it was buying Belo, a TV station operation, shares immediately shot up by 34%. Why? Because as everyone knows, newspapers are in decline. But with just one quick acquisition, almost overnight Gannett has gone from a newspaper company to the operator of 34 TV stations with a newspaper side business. The company expects $175 million in synergies.

Then there's generic drug maker Actavis ( ACT) buying Warner Chilcott ( WCRX), sending its shares up 13% in a single day. Cramer said this move gives Actavis instant exposure to the lucrative women's health arena and gives the company a base in Ireland to help lower its tax rate.

Finally, there's Cramer fave B&G Foods ( BGS) acquiring Pirate Brands, an announcement that sent B&G shares soaring. Cramer said B&G already has a history of revitalizing brands and the Pirate acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings while giving the company more exposure to the natural foods market.

Cramer said he'd be a buyer of all three of these great companies, but only after they pull back on the next big market selloff.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer once again sounded off against the president's energy policy, or the lack thereof. He said after successfully stopping new coal plants from being built here in the U.S., the environmental lobbyists have now turned their sights on stopping U.S. coal exports to countries like China -- a move that would do nothing for the environment, but would cost more U.S. jobs.

Cramer said that in the wake of Japan's nuclear disaster, the world has a big appetite for coal. If the U.S. doesn't provide it, other countries will. That means the environmentalists lose either way, but in blocking U.S. exports it will cost countless U.S. jobs.

Meanwhile, the administration won't endorse cleaner natural gas as a bridge fuel and continues to hold up the game-changing Keystone XL pipeline.

Cramer once again called for a balance between our environmental aspirations and job creation, between the desires of the rich versus the needs of working men and women. "I hate coal," Cramer concluded, but there needs to be a balance.

To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

-- 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 no position in stocks mentioned.

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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