Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Upside and Downside Risks

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "You're welcome to be optimistic," Jim Cramer told "Mad Money" viewers Monday on the eve of a government shutdown, but just understand the downside risks outweigh the upside ones, at least for now.

Cramer said it's clear by the lack of a major selloff on Wall Street today that many investors are hanging their hopes on a last-minute secret deal being made by Congress to avoid the shutdown. But in reality, he said that it's unrealistic to think that Congress can agree on both the budget and the debt ceiling all in one fell swoop. Some in Washington are prepared to see the U.S. default on its debt just to make a point, he continued, and views like that are not where compromises come from.

That's why the Federal Reserve's actions last week were the right ones because the central bank has set the stage to have high-yielding dividend stocks return to the limelight as everything from gold, to real estate, to bond have become less attractive.

What's important to remember now is that unlike the last rounds of Congressional showdowns, this time both Europe and China are on the mend, creating a backdrop of hope against the stagnant U.S., Cramer said. This will help stocks rally, eventually. But for now he continues to raise cash so he can buy in at better levels once a budget resolution is finally achieved.

In the meantime, Cramer said international stocks and those with high yields, including AT&T ( T) and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ( KMP), will be perhaps the only stocks worth buying at current levels.

Executive Decision: Spencer Rascoff

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow ( Z), the red-hot real estate IPO from two years ago that disappointed Wall Street with a 30-cents-a-share loss when it last reported, turning its stock into a battleground between the bulls and the bears.

Rascoff said the big misconception about Zillow is the company is actually a media company selling advertising, and thus isn't directly affected by the health of the housing market. He said Zillow's total addressable market is huge, and his company is only just getting started.

Rascoff continued that his company's scale is helping it grow because advertisers want to advertise on the largest sites in their community -- and for many communities, that's Zillow. In markets where Zillow was not number one, such as New York City, the company has been making smart acquisitions to help it get to where it needs to be.

Rascoff also clarified that Zillow is the engine behind all of of the real estate listings at Yahoo! ( YHOO), and his company even has a database of pre-foreclosure properties, so users can see the health of a community and get an advanced jump on buying properties that are in distress.

Cramer said he's siding with the bulls and thinks Zillow still has a lot of growth left to go.

Oil Plays

No matter what Washington may do to sabotage our economy, the domestic oil bull market will rage on, Cramer told viewers. While many may already be familiar with the Eagle Ford, Marcellus and Bakken oil shale regions, Cramer focused on yet another recent big oil find, the Niobrara shale region in northeast Colorado.

While many praised the Niobrara early on as the next big thing, the region has proven for many to yield only mixed results. Turns out the hottest area of the Niobrara centers near Denver, which is where several drillers are profiting handsomely.

Anadarko Petroleum ( APC), a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, is one such driller and is the most active in the Niobrara region with over 350,000 acres.

Noble Energy ( NBL) is another big player in the region, and is on track to drill 50% more wells in 2013 than it did in 2012. Many estimate Noble's acreage to be worth more than $13.8 billion, more than the entire company's current valuation.

Cramer also endorsed some of the smaller Niobrara drillers, including PDC Energy ( PDCE), with 98,000 acres, Bonanza Creek ( BCEI), and also Bill Barrett ( BBG), the smallest pure play in the region with only 16 wells but 60 more in the works.

Others who drill in the region, as well as in other oil shales, include Whiting Petroleum ( WLL) and Carrizo Oil & Gas ( CRZO).

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on SanDisk ( SNDK), Visa ( V), Philip Morris International ( PM), Cheniere Energy ( LNG), Isis Pharmaceuticals ( ISIS) and NPS Pharmaceuticals ( NPSP).

Cramer was bearish on 8x8 ( EGHT).

20 Years of Faber

In a special interview, Cramer sat down with CNBC colleague David Faber, who is celebrating his 20th anniversary with the network covering mergers and acquisitions and activist investing.

Faber said the landscape of business journalism has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the days of reporting on a deal after it happens -- now reporters like himself are gathering bits and pieces of information, most of it incorrect, from all sorts of sources. The key is to provide clarity, along with insight and analysis once the story is known in its entirety, he said.

Faber and Cramer also discussed the changing landscape of activist investing. Faber said that boards of directors are taking activists seriously in today's world, and activists themselves have changed their tactics in order to be taken more seriously. That's how companies including Microsoft ( MSFT) and Apple ( AAPL) have been persuaded to listen to, for instance, Carl Icahn in the case of Apple. These activists are taking more long-term positions and are making a difference to shareholders.

Cramer thanked Faber for his 20 years of service to investors and looks forward to many more. There aren't too many people who can do what Faber has done over these past two decades, he concluded.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said history teaches us nothing about what to expect during a government shutdown, as today's markets are vastly different that those of the 1990s.

Cramer said during the Clinton-era shutdowns, the Dow actually rose because getting spending under control was seen as a huge positive. But back then Washington was treated separately from Wall Street, and what companies said and did was far more important than any legislation.

Flash forward to today, however, and the markets are immersed in Washington and indeed all global politics. That makes judging the effects of tomorrow's shutdown far more difficult, especially given the mixed messages the economy is sending.

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

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-- 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 a position in AAPL and APC.

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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