Cramer's Mad Money - The Consumer Is Bummed and Stretched (2/24/10)

 |  Includes: AEM, CZZ, DLTR, DNDN, GLD, HD, KMB, MO, THS, VZ
by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday February 24.

Editor's Note: Until February 26th, Jim Cramer will be broadcasting "Mad Money High Noon" which will air midday.

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR). Treehouse Foods (NYSE:THS), Kimberly Clark (NYSE:KMB), Altria (NYSE:MO), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Verizon (NYSE:VZ)

Dollar Tree's earnings report was good news for the company, but its 32% rise in profits and the $6 or 12% uptick in its stock price were indications that the consumer is "bummed" and "stretched" according to Cramer. “You don’t go to Dollar Tree to feel good about yourself,” Cramer said. “You go because you have to.” This is good news for other trade-down names like Treehouse Foods (THS).

Since consumer confidence is low, it is likely Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will make good on his promise not to raise interest rates, and Cramer would stay away from bonds. The best strategy right now is to look for dividend stocks, since yields provide a cushion to fall back on when the economy gets hit. Among his favorite dividend picks are Kimberly Clark (KMB), which increased its dividend by 10%, Altria (MO), which upped its yield 7% and Home Depot (HD). Cramer also likes Verizon (VZ) with its 6.5% yield.

CEO Interview: Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM), SPDR ETF GoldShares (NYSEARCA:GLD)

Cramer said gold is the insurance every portfolio needs, and while his favorite way to play the yellow metal has been with SPDR ETF GoldShares (GLD), Agnico Eagle mines has risen 281% in the last five years while GLD has seen gains of 148%. However, Agnico underperformed in the third quarter because of maintenance problems and project delays, only to report a better-than-expected quarter on February 17 with raised guidance and increased mining. AEM plans to double production in 2010.

Sean Boyd said Agnico Eagle saw a temporary decline after undertaking an ambitious project to build 5 mines at once, and unforeseen issues caused delays. However, now that the mines are done, AEM expects to ramp up production while keeping costs low at $390 an ounce compared to the industry average of $450 to $500. Boyd said AEM's Meadowbank mine in the Arctic region of Canada has found unexpected reserves and should produce a large quantity of gold. Cramer said he's bullish on AEM.

Bernanke, The Street's Hero

While stocks should have been low on Wednesday, given the doom and gloom mood on The Street, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's promise that interest rates would remain low was enough to quiet the bears for a time. Cramer said Bernanke is "the only reason I can see that people are buying and not selling stocks....He deserves our praise,” the Mad Money host said, “because without him our economy and our markets would be in much worse shape.”

Special Guest: Senator Mark Udall, (D-Colo)

Coal might have clout in Washington, but natural gas is quickly gaining proponents, like Senator Mark Udall who has written articles about the alternative fuel and hosted a pro-natural gas energy summit in his home state of Colorado. Senator Udall says he plans to organize a bipartisan coalition to support natural gas. He praised the fuel as a benefit to the environment, national security and a solution to the employment crisis. He thinks natural gas should replace coal and notes that natural gas facilities are only operating at 25% capacity.

Mad Mail: Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN), Cosan (NYSE:CZZ)

Cramer says Dendreon (DNDN) is a buy and an excellent speculative stock. Since Cosan (CZZ) is an ethanol stock, Cramer would not endorse it, but once again discussed the fact that natural gas is being unfairly ignored; "Can you imagine when we export energy, how embarrassing that’s going to be, because we’re so busy building windmills? And I have nothing against windmills.”

Cramer explained why he thought the SEC's proposals to reinstate the uptick rule were just "window dressing":

From the very beginning they were talking about having it be a 10% circuit breaker. Stock goes down 10% and then you can’t short it. OK, so here’s what you would do if you were a bad guy [at a] hedge fund – this is not what I would do; I’m telling you this is what they will do: They’ll knock it down 10%, and then the next day they’ll knock it down another 10%, and the next day they’ll knock it down another 10%. I mean, do these people ever know what goes on, on these bad trading desks? Not only that, but they’re not even going after the people who do naked short selling. Let’s do that. This is the type of thing, I just wished they had called me in because I literally would have told them, ‘Guys, you just don’t know what the bad guys do.’ That’s what the bad guys do. But anyway, their naiveté never ceases to amaze me.”


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