Jim Cramer's Mad Money In-Depth, 3/6/08: Up in Arms

by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed in the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV program,Thursday March 6. Click on a stock ticker for more analysis.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Northrup Grumman (NYSE:NOC), General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), L-3 Communications (NYSE:LLL), Raytheon (NYSE:RTN)

While Obama and Clinton battle it out to the finish, McCain is sitting at the lead of the Republican party,and since he is pro-military and pro-Iraq, defense spending might be on the increase under McCain. Cramer likes the defense sector anyway, since it is flush with cash and shareholder friendly. His favorite stocks include LMT, NOC, GD, LLL and RTN. Even though stocks in the sector have moved up, they are still cheap and have increased an average of 6.6%, even though the Dow is down almost 1200 points since last July, and the average defense company trades at only 13.6 x earnings compared to 14.5 x earnings last summer. In addition, the balance sheets of the companies are clean. Cramer thinks defense will continue to do well even if a Democrat sits in the Oval Office.

Northrop Grumman (NOC), General Dynamics Corp. (GD), Raytheon (RTN)

Narrowing down the defense stocks most likely to thrive in a McCain Administration, Cramer decided anything tied to the navy would do well, considering that McCain was a naval aviator. NOC is the most obvious choice, since it makes aircraft carriers and beat Boeing out for a contract. Cramer likes GD for the destroyers, and the stock is trading at a mere 13.1X forward earnings. The company has a backlog of $47 billion worth of contracts; "When a company's backlog exceeds its marketcap, that's when you know it's cheap," said Cramer. GD is Cramer’s favorite of the group, but he thinks RTN could be a buy until $68.

Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of McClatchy (NYSEMKT:MNI)

Gary Pruitt was the newest face to grace Cramer’s Wall of Shame, and Cramer cited MNI’s disastrous acquisition of Knight-Ridder which brought the stock down 82% as the reason for this special honor. The newspaper had been a well-run operation, but Cramer said the acquisition was among the worst he has ever seen. In addition, advertising revenue dropped 16% after subsequent declines. McClatchy has a history of making losing acquisitions, including the Minneapolis Star in 1998. Not only did Cramer give Pruitt a special place on the Wall of Shame, he gave him the middle name “Schemp” after the inept sidekick of the Three Stooges.

Stephen Romano, President and CEO of American Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL)

Stephen Romano said growth is driving ECOL, which disposes a new record amount, 1.1 million tons of waste last year. Romano sees an earnings per share growth of between 10% to 16% in 2008 and plans to grow the company through acquisitions. The company has a clean balance sheet and a generous yield of 3.8%. Unlike Gary “Schemp” Pruitt, Stephen Romano is the kind of CEO who makes shareholders money, said Cramer.

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