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Cramer’s Starter Kit: 5 Stocks for New Investors

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Despite day to day fits and starts, Jim Cramer firmly believes that the stock market offers a long-term path to prosperity for all Americans.

He thinks that by picking a handful of individual stocks, investors can beat the broad market, by doing research, making informed decisions and then actively managing their portfolios.

"I believe that buying stocks of terrific American companies remains the best way to make money over the long term," Cramer explained.

The Mad Money TV show is dedicated to helping individual investors do just that – identify stocks that may have significant upside potential.

As with most things in life, getting started is always the hardest part.

Therefore, on Thursday's broadcast, Cramer revealed 5 stocks that he thinks provide solid foundations to any portfolio. "This is a starter kit," he said, "these are stocks to buy and hold and follow for the long haul."

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Disney

Cramer thinks Disney has a business model that's fairly easy for new investors to understand. "They've got theme parks, TV and movies," he said. And he believes under the leadership of CEO Bob Iger the company is firing on all cylinders. "The acquisitions of Marvel and now Lucas-Film have made Disney the envy of the entertainment industry. I'm a buyer and if you're already long I'd continue to hold," Cramer said.

McDonald's

"I'm a fan of McDonald's," Cramer explained, "especially under the direction of CEO Don Thompson, who has introduced all kinds of innovations that are having a positive impact on the bottom line." Cramer believes if there's one thing that can drive shares higher, it's innovation.

Whole Foods

Jim Cramer is convinced that healthy eating is an investable long term trend, and he thinks Whole Foods sits at the very heart of the sea change. "More people are embracing organic and natural foods," he said. Identifying long-term trends and the related companies that benefit is one of Cramer's favorite ways to invest. Plus, Cramer sees great growth potential for this company. "Whole Foods can triple in size in about 10 years," he said.

Gap Stores

"Ever since Glenn Murphy took the reins six years ago, he's turned Gap from a dowdy loser of a retailer into a powerhouse," Cramer said. Turnaround stories are another theme that Cramer often seeks. "I see value not only in the chain, but in the stock, too."

Google

Cramer thinks Google has positioned itself strategically in a giant growth industry – Internet. Companies that are leaders in their industries often appeal to Cramer. In the case of Google, "It's got a hammerlock on search," he said. "Plus it has a terrific mobile operating system that can cross many platforms and I believe it can easily beat the estimates."

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It bears noting that just because Cramer thinks the preceding stocks are long-term buys, doesn't mean he advocates passive investing.

Jim Cramer wants investors to visit stocks in their portfolios all the time. Should dynamics change the Mad Money host often says 'ring the register' or take profits and deploy that money elsewhere.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

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