As Japan Rebuilds, Consider This Stock
Friday's massive earthquake shook Japan and damaged its Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing explosions and radiation leaks. Roughly 850,000 households in the north are still without electricity in near-freezing weather, according to a power company. The government said at least 1.5 million households lack running water. Tens of thousands of people remain missing.
The 9.0 temblor that rocked Japan was devastating, but the country has weathered serious earthquakes before. In 1995, the Great Hanshin earthquake struck Japan. The 6.8 magnitude quake rattled several major cities, including Kobe. It killed thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. At the time, the media said it would take a decade to rebuild. Yet according to a study by George Horwich of Purdue University, it took just 15 months for manufacturing activity to come back to 98 percent of pre-disaster levels. Imports were recovered in just over a year.
"That means the smart move is to bet on reconstruction," Cramer said. "In order to rebuild, the Japanese are going to need a tremendous amount of steel."
When it comes to steel names, Cramer likes Cliffs Natural Resources . Although based in Cleveland, it is a global supplier of raw materials to the steel industry. It is the largest producer of iron ore in North America. Eighty percent of its sales comes from iron ore and the rest comes from coking coal. Both are needed to make steel.
Cliffs is in the process of switching from North American operator and into a global player. It currently gets 70 percent of its iron ore sales in North America, but is getting into other markets thanks to its mines in southeast Asia.
Iron ore goes for $140 per metric ton in North America while seaborne ore sells for up to $200 per metric ton because of Asian demand. Therefore, ore priced on the international market is more valuable than ore priced in North America. The company currently produces about 35 million tons of iron ore a year. Of that, 14 million tons come from Australia and Canada and are priced in the international market. By 2013, it expects to produce 50 million tons of iron ore with 30 million priced in the international market.
Cliffs can continue to expand after having made a smart acquisition. It bought Consolidated Thompson, a Canadian company, for $5 billion in cash. This transaction will make Cliffs one of the top five global iron ore producers. The deal is expected to close in early second quarter.
As far as Cliffs' coking coal business goes, Cramer is a fan of using coking coal or metallurgical coal to make steel. He would, however, opt for pure play Walter Energy .
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—Reuters contributed to this report