Mad Money

The Manchurian Stock Picker

Just like Don Corleone on the day of his daughter’s wedding, Cramer can’t refuse the wishes of his loyal patrons during the week of his 500th show. So the Home Gamers who have been screaming for China picks will finally get their way.

So tonight Cramer’s serving up a double dose of Chinese stocks, both reliable and speculative. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t like China at all these days. That budding market reminds him too much of Japan in the ‘80s when the market doubled from 18,000. He just can’t decide if China’s at 25,000 working its way to north or already at 36,000 and ready to bottom out.

No matter what happens, Cramer expects an 8% to 10% pullback, so if you choose to buy any of the stocks he recommends, at least wait for the discount.

The most conservative picks Cramer can find – the big dividend-paying stocks – are CNOOC, China Mobile and Seaspan. CNOOC is the number-one offshore company in China, and it enjoys the privileges of being 67% owned by the government. It’s the only firm allowed to engage in offshore oil and gas production with foreign companies, and it gets 51% of the cut when it does. As long oil is expensive, CNOOC should do well, Cramer says.

Another company that’s majority-owned by the Chinese government is China Mobile. CHL has 68% of all mobile subscriptions in China, but there’s talk that landline player China Telecom could enter the wireless market. There is also speculation that the wireless market will be restructured. Hence, the holding pattern on the stock. But it would take years, Cramer says, for China Mobile to lose its market-leading position if the main competitor is broken up or sold.

The growth here could be monumental, especially considering wireless penetration is expected to double within five years. There’s also a possibility that China Mobile could boost its dividend to 4% by 2010.

Finally, If you really want a big dividend, though, Cramer suggests Seaspan, with its 6% yield. SSW is the largest leaser of container ships in the industry, and it’s making money hand over fist, Cramer says. He thinks the yield could go even higher as SSW adds even more ships to its fleet.

Bottom Line: Cramer would stay out of China, but if you can’t help yourself, he recommends CNOOC, China Mobile or Seaspan – but wait for weakness if you’re going to buy.

Questions? Comments?