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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Can investors Washington-proof their portfolios? That was the question Jim Cramer asked on "Mad Money" Wednesday as he tried to answer what everyone wants to know, "What should I own going into the looming government shutdown debate?". Cramer said that investors can count on one thing: just as soon as the markets digest one bit of news, i.e. last week's Federal Reserve announcement, it will immediately move onto the next bit of news, which, unfortunately, involves another lengthy debate over the debt ceiling, health care and a probable government shutdown. But while some companies blame Washington for their misfortunate quarterly results, others, including Apple ( AAPL), a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
Executive Decision: Jim WhitehurstIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat ( RHT), the open-source software provider that saw its shares fall 11% earlier this week after Wall Street decided the company's 2-cents-a-share earnings beat and maintained guidance weren't enough to justify its valuation. Whitehurst said there are multiple ways to look at growth, and the Wall Street community decided to look at only one of them -- billings. Unfortunately, billings offers an incomplete picture, he continued. As deal sizes surpass $10 million, many companies are choosing to pay over time rather than all upfront, which makes longer-term cash flows a more important number to look at, Whitehurst explained .
Red Hat continues to have a strong core of Linux products and middleware, said Whitehurst, along with a host of new products that are just at the beginning of their life cycles. Red Hat still only has less than 20% market share in the on-premise data center market, leaving a lot of room for the company to expand. When asked about Europe, Whitehurst said he's not seeing across-the-board recovery there, but is instead seeing only pockets of growth with other pockets of weakness. Over the long term, however, Red Hat remains poised for growth both in Europe and across the globe. Cramer told viewers to read the research because the analysts feel there is a big change occurring at Red Hat, while Whitehurst believes otherwise.
A Full HouseThe results are in and the homebuilders can indeed be bought, Cramer told viewers -- just not right now. That was his conclusion after seeing the Lennar ( LEN) quarterly results and interviewing its CEO on last night's show. Cramer explained that everyone wants to know if the sudden surge in interest rates would be enough to derail the housing recovery, but Lennar told us that easy credit, along with the fact that we're still not building as many homes as we need, were forces powerful enough to overcome that spike. In fact, Lennar was able to post higher-than-expects gross margins thanks to lower lumber and other costs, even in the face of the surge in rates. Cramer said Lennar offers an excellent perspective into the homebuilding equation and confirms the spike in rates, while enough to surprise Wall Street, was digestible for home buyers and the mortgage industry. So why not buy the homebuilders down here? Cramer said investors need to get through the wrangling in Washington first. But as soon as those deadlines pass, the time to buy these stocks may indeed be at hand because the long-term trends for housing in the U.S. remain strong with the Fed continuing its bond buying for the foreseeable future.
Lightning RoundIn the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), Baxter International ( BAX), Alcatel Lucent ( ALU), Domino's Pizza ( DPZ) and FireEye ( FEYE).
Cramer was bearish on Peabody Energy ( BTU) and Bank of New York Mellon ( BK).