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Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday that he's starting to feel pretty good about the markets. Why? Because the market's diverse leadership is a very bullish sign.
To see just how strong the markets are, Cramer said investors only need to look at the new highs list. There they will find consumer package goods, like Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and General Mills (GIS) , which are soaring as ingredients are getting cheaper, distribution costs are getting lower and the U.S. dollar is weakening.
But then you'll also find housing-related stocks including Sherwin-Williams (SHW) and Home Depot (HD) , which shows that housing is also strong. You will also see Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Domino's Pizza (DPZ) , proving the consumer is alive and spending.
Still others on the list include 3M (MMM) in the industrial space, Broadcom (AVGO) representing tech and Boston Scientific (BSX) in medical devices. The list goes on to include Chubb (CB) in the insurance sector and many more.
When so many sectors are on the move, Cramer said he's learned that's a sign things are improving, not contracting. That's why he's expanding his optimism.
Spotlight on Accenture
Before you buy any stock, you must first know what you're buying, Cramer told viewers. Understanding what a company does is easier for brands you interact with in your daily life, but for companies like Accenture (ACN) , figuring out how they make their money is a little tougher.
Shares of Accenture are up 21% since their February lows, but does that make them cheap or expensive? If the stock pulls back, is that a time to buy more or sort selling? Investors can't hope to answer these questions without knowing the basics.
Accenture calls itself a technology outsourcing company, but in fact the company helps other companies respond to technological change. It has been investing big into digital technology including the cloud, mobile and data analytics so Accenture can help other companies do the same.
For example, when food giant Mondelez (MDLZ) realized its operating margins were lagging its peers, the company called Accenture, which implemented a new, modern budgeting system that has already saved Mondelez $350 million and is expected to save over $1 billion during the next three years.
Shares of Accenture currently trade at 19 times earnings, which is at a premium versus its peers. But Cramer said the company deserves its premium and he would be a buyer.
Cramer's Still Buying
On Dec. 14, Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) announced it was buying Jarden (JAH) for $15.4 billion. With Jarden's board set to vote on the deal this week, is it time to jump into the stock? Cramer took a look.
Both Newell and Jarden have terrific portfolios of brands, so one would think the combined company would have all of those brands, plus an estimated $500 million in cost savings over four years. But some analysts aren't sure, saying the combined company would receive a "conglomerate discount" as bigger usually means harder to manage and harder to understand.
But Cramer called these arguments bogus, saying the combined company will have the scale needed to strike better deals with retailers for both price and placement on store shelves, plus the chance to jettison weaker brands to focus on only the best of the best.
Cramer said he remains a buyer of the new company, which will be called Newell Brands and retain the excellent executive teams from both companies.
Executive Decision: Klaus Kleinfeld
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke to Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa (AA) , the aluminum maker that plans to break itself up in the second half of next year. Alcoa just reported a 5-cents-a-share earnings beat on light revenue, down 15% from year ago levels.
Kleinfeld said demand for aluminum continues to grow and is expected to be up 5% this year, compared to a 2% increase in supply. That means things are moving in the right direction. Overall, he added, things are not as bad as Alcoa predicted in January. Aerospace remains down but trucks and autos remain stable. Europe, he said, is weaker than forecast but is still growing slowly.
When asked about the investigation into Chinese dumping of aluminum, Kleinfeld said he's glad the process has begun, but it will be a long time until the results are known. So he's adopted a wait-and-see approach.
Kleinfeld also commented on Alcoa's aerospace division, where his company is now able to produce 90% of all jet engine components. He said these new capabilities put Alcoa on a different level with customers.
Cramer said investors should own Alcoa for the breakup, which will unlock a lot of value, but we still don't know exactly when that will occur.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said earnings season is now upon us and investors need to be prepared for good news. Yes, the skeptics have already written off this quarter as among the worst ever, but what if it isn't?
What if some CEOs say things are getting better in China? What if the dollar has peaked? What if the tone improves in Europe or Latin America stems its declines? Investors are prepared for the worst but few seem prepared for anything good.
That's a good position to be in, Cramer explained. Some things are getting better. That's why investors need to be prepared for at least a few upside surprises.
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