Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Is the Downturn Serious?

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Is the market downturn starting to get serious? That's the question Jim Cramer pondered on "Mad Money" Monday. Cramer said the markets overlooked a host of positive news today and instead focused on the negative, using the weakness as an excuse to sell everything.

Cramer called out the takeover bid for Beam (BEAM) by a foreign entity as one overlooked positive in the markets today. He also called the takeover bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC) as another big plus.

The news that Merck (MRK) is getting serious about unlocking value by spinning off its animal health division was also overlooked in today's trading, Cramer noted, as was positive news from Juniper Networks (JNPR) that sent that stock up 7% on a miserable day.

Instead, the markets were focused on retail, Cramer continued, with Lululemon Athletica (LULU) down 16.6%, and SodaStream (SODA), down a staggering 26%, leading retail sector's bad news for the day. Guide downs from Ascena Retail (ASNA) and Bon-Ton Stores (BONT) further compounded the declines.

However, despite the many negatives, Cramer reminded viewers that it's never a good strategy to use bad news as an excuse to sell everything. The markets have problems, he admitted, but that just means investors need to focus even harder on what's working.

Executive Decision: Bill Cobb

As tax season approaches, Cramer sat down with Bill Cobb, president and CEO of H&R Block (HRB), in his "Executive Decision" segment to discuss the company and the many new changes in this year's tax laws.

Cobb said Obamacare represents the biggest change in the tax code in 20 years. He said the law is complicated and what taxpayers may think is a subsidy is actually an advance tax credit that can be confusing.

Cobb said H&R Block is once again focused on tax preparation, helping individuals and small businesses navigate an increasingly difficult tax code. "We're good at this," Cobb continued.

H&R Block is also innovating in its space, offering its Emerald Card, a debit card on which customers can receive their refunds, then reload and use it afterwards. Cobb said the company issued 2.5 million cards last year alone.

Cobb also touted its "My H&R Block" online service, which lets customers upload receipts and eliminate the proverbial "shoebox full of receipts."

Cramer once again recommended H&R Block's stock as a winner in its industry.

Executive Decision: Glenn Lyons

For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Glenn Lyons, chairman and CEO of Finish Line (FINL), a stock that's seen a 50% return in 2013, thanks in part to its most recent four-cents-a-share earnings beat on a 22.9% rise in revenue and a 7.1% increase in same-store sales.

Lyons said the sneaker business isn't as challenged, as some other parts of retail are right now, partly because kids, teens and young adults will always need new sneakers and partly because there are ton of new, innovative products driving them into stores. Finish Line is about both fashion and performance, he noted.

When asked about declining traffic at the malls, Lyons said the trend has been occurring for years, which is why Finish Line is looking for opportunities outside of its traditional mall locations as well as trying to increase productivity at all its locations. Finish Line has a partnership with Macy's (M), for instance, that is ongoing and performing very well, said Lyons.

Finally, when asked about the importance of Nike (NKE), Lyons said that Nike represents 70% of Finish Line sales, but only half of the company's 1,000 SKUs. He said there are plenty of opportunities for other brands to come in and take share.

Cramer continued his support for Finish Line's stock.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Johnson Controls (JCI), Whole Foods Markets (WFM) and Taser International (TASR).

Cramer was bearish on E-House China Holdings (EJ) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY).

Off the Charts

In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer went head to head with colleague Carolyn Boroden to see what 2014 holds for both Apple (AAPL), a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, and Twitter (TWTR).

Boroden recently called an area of resistance for Apple at $575 a share, a prediction that came true as the stock stalled. She now sees floors of resistance at $511 and $490 a share but sees the overall uptrend as intact. Ultimately, Borodwn sees $587, $603 and $792 a share for Apple longer term.

As for Twitter, Boroden used a 30-minute interval chart to determine Twitter's zig-zag two-step lower is just about at an end, signaled this stock too is almost ready to resume higher with $79 a share possible.

Cramer said he agreed with Boroden that the selling in these two names may almost be at an end, as both companies as poised to have a great 2014.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer offered up some of the most asked questions about stocks at his recent book signings.

Cramer said Bank of America (BAC) needs to catch up to its peers, while Yahoo! (YHOO) is benefiting from its stake in Alibaba and its new CEO.

Cramer called Google (GOOG) a momentum stock, and noted that investors can't go wrong with Celgene (CELG) or Gilead Sciences (GILD).

Finally, Cramer has positive things to say about Rite-Aid (RAD), the third in a strong trio of drug stores, and Sprint (S), which is a long-term buy.

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, BAC, M and JCI.

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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