Mad Money

Market Rebound Highlights Strong Stocks

Thursday’s slight market recovery after a drubbing due to Europe’s debt crisis a day earlier, put the focus back on fundamentals — namely, companies that are performing well, worth investing in, worth betting on, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said.

One of the day’s bright spots was Cisco.

“No one has been more critical of Cisco and its CEO John Chambers than I have,” Cramer said. “His company had lost their way, missing quarter after quarter, failing to cut the fat, not anticipating where the markets were going.”

But the company regained some of its luster at day’s end, its stock price climbing 5.68 percent.

Also looking strong: Oil and gas companies.

Cramer turned the spotlight on Cabot Oil & Gas, Range Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources, whose stock prices soared. EOG, too, was up nicely today, and remained a relative bargain.

Schlumberger and National Oilwell Varco , too, were among the day’s big winners.

Ho, Ho, Kohl’s ...Ahead of the holidays, retail also sprang to life.

“Kohl's reminds us that investing solely on the basis of actual earnings and prospects in here America when, alas, a company operates only in America, can still make sense,” Cramer said. “I'm always thrilled when Kohl's does well because I love shopping there, but for the slacks and for the two for $40 shirts that I can wear on the show and then throw away after a couple of wearings.”

Other companies — what Cramer calls “the non-complainers” — were largely able to shrug off the Italian debt crisis. Cummins, Caterpillar and Rockwell Automation were three such plays, although day-to-day swings could hurt.

Viacom, with excellent numbers, “declared a buyback so huge that it could actually be the beginning of a going-private situation — again,” Cramer said.

Last and certainly not least, take a look at Merck. An 11 percent dividends boost and management’s conviction that the Schering-Plough acquisition is working are good signs, even if the company doesn’t return to its former glory.

“Of the large capitalization drug companies, I still prefer Sanofi for its similarly terrific yield and its avoidance of the dreaded patent cliff,” Cramer said.

Also worth keeping tabs on: Celgene, which heads into an important conference “where some fantastic data will be revealed.”

Now, the stinkers.

Once a high-flying favorite, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters imploded with a 38.99 percent drop. The result? Other darlings of mutual and hedge funds looking for growth regardless of cost were reexamined.

Other possible casualties, Cramer said, might be Wynn, the casino company; Google, which received terrific publicity in The New York Times; and, yes, Apple, which must deal with too many tablets, too much competition.

Ultimately, it’ll pay to stay aware of dividends and remember who can make money in this miserable era, even in Europe.

At publication time, Cramer's charitable trust owned Schlumberger and Sanofi-Aventis.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

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