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The 'Bulletproof Vest Portfolio'

There could be a recession coming whether the Federal Reserve cuts rates or not, Cramer said, so investors should be prepared. To help out, he highlighted five stocks – his “bulletproof vest portfolio” – he thinks every Homegamer should own.

Keep in mind that a bulletproof vest won’t cover every part of the body, but the goal is to protect yourself, and your money, as much as possible. The best way to do that is by owning growth stocks, supermarket and drugstore stocks (Cramer calls them “the Indestructibles”), stocks with good balance sheets that don’t need credit to make money, and stocks with good, safe dividend yields.

Those are the buys that worked even in 1990, when the market was in much the same position – it was credit problems in commercial building back then; now it’s residential. But times have changed a bit, and there are companies whose international exposure makes them less susceptible to a lagging U.S. economy. So those, too, are the stocks Cramer thinks investors want right now, as well as all the companies in the bull markets that are still working: agriculture, mining and minerals, aerospace and defense, infrastructure, tech and healthcare cost containment.

Here’s the rundown on his five favorites right now:

Altria is about as indestructible has a stock gets, Cramer said. The company has a huge foreign business, costs aren’t increasing, there’s little exposure to the commodities that are rising in price, and the split – into a domestic and an international company – should unlock a lot of value. And there’s a 4% yield. Cramer called this the cornerstone of his bulletproof vest portfolio.

Freeport-McMoRan does more business with China, Cramer said, than it does with the U.S. FCX mines copper, and China uses a third of the world’s supply. The company also digs for gold, which is a nice hedge against inflation.

Foster Wheeler reported a great quarter Wednesday, despite even that horrible down 360-point day, thanks to a global infrastructure boom. The stock would probably be up more if it weren’t for the market, Cramer said. He thinks this is a $10 billion company on its way to $20 billion, and Homegamers might want to get in ahead of the coming two-for-one stock split.

Transocean is the best deepwater driller as far as Cramer is concerned. The merger with Global Santa Fe is almost over, and when it’s complete shareholders should get a $30 dividend for every unit of stock they own.

Lastly, there’s Medco Health Solutions, which Cramer called immune to U.S. spending. The healthcare cost container makes money as drugs go generic – generics are the key to its earnings growth – and there are some big drugs coming down the pipe, Cramer said.

These are the stocks that investors want for the worst-case scenario, Cramer said. And it’s no coincidence that every one of them was up Thursday.

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