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Cramer Zooms In on Satellite Stocks

Just two companies dominate geospatial imagery, or the satellite business, Cramer said Wednesday, but only one right now is worth buying.

Those companies are GeoEye and DigitalGlobe , which share billions and billions of dollars worth of business from both public and private clients. The US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA) just this month announced the two firms would split a $7.3 billion contract, and Google , Microsoft and Yahoo! employ their satellite imagery as well. In fact, DigitalGlobe is behind Google’s popular Maps and Earth programs.

Wall Street analysts are putting the technology to work, too, whether it’s to gauge customer traffic at Walmart or measure wheat production in Russia.

In this industry, though, Cramer said, it’s all about who has the best satellites in the sky at the moment. And that’s DigitalGlobe, giving it the most upside potential and making it the likely pick for investors who want to play this space.

While GeoEye has only one satellite circling the globe, with another to launch in 2013, DGI boasts two, with a third launching in 2014. And the company, Cramer said, is the near-term winner in that NGIA contract, pulling $250 million a year through 2014, because of those multiple satellites.

As for the stock itself, DGI has gained just 25% so far this year to GEOY’s 35%, leaving still more room to move, Cramer said. Plus, it’s cheaper, trading at a 7% discount to GeoEye. Cramer’s only recommendation: Wait for a pullback. Both stocks are flirting with 52-week highs, so there’s no reason to chase DigitalGlobe.

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