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With the Dow Jones industrial average flirting with a major milestone, if you're not fully invested in the market already, have you missed the bull entirely?
"I think that's the natural question," said Jim Cramer. "With the Dow approaching 17,000, the knee-jerk reaction is to think it's too late."
And at first it may feel that way.
Closely watched levels such as Dow 17,000 can generate psychological resistance, if nothing else. And although the blue chip average may slip when it first crosses that threshold, Cramer does not think 17,000 is necessarily the end of the line. In fact, he can see the Dow going much higher.
"Looking back at the recent advance, five stocks have done the most to propel the Dow from 16,000 to nearly 17,000. Just five stocks; Caterpillar, Disney, Intel, Merck and Cisco. I see many reasons to believe all of them could keep on climbing," Cramer said. "All of them."
Following are the specifics for each individual Dow component.
Cramer said that as a maker of mining and construction equipment, Caterpillar is a cyclical stock that stands to benefit significantly as the global economy improves.
"I think that in six months it's possible the world's economies will look much stronger than they do now. In turn I believe CAT can earn $7 a share in 2015. Sorry, but at 15 times next year's earnings, that makes Caterpillar cheaper than the average stock in the S&P 500," Cramer said.
Cramer added that the company has an excellent balance sheet and a dividend that yields 2.55 percent. All told, "I think CAT's a buy right now." There's a good chance other investors see it that way too.
Cramer has been a fan of Disney for quite some time calling it a solid holding in any long-term portfolio.
Although Disney has rallied 24 percent since the Dow cleared 16,000 in November, Cramer believes that despite trading at more than 20 times this year's earnings estimates, the stock will still attract buyers.
"I like to think about Disney as a consumer products company. Do you really believe that a Procter & Gamble or a Colgate could keep coming out with billion dollar products every quarter as Disney's movie business has been doing? When you think of it like that, you have to wonder how can you not own Disney?"
Cramer is a fan of Intel and believes it will continue to attract buyers due to its 2.9 percent yield and strong balance sheet. Also Cramer believes the Street will continue to reward Intel for its better than expected earnings.
"But what I really like about Intel is that it has new leadership in Brian Krzanich, who is demanding a much higher return on investment. What's not for the Street to like, especially now that demand for personal computers is strengthening?"
Merck sells at a discount to the average stock in the S&P, and given the opportunities, Cramer can see the stock playing a game of catch up.
"Merck has a considerable animal health division that could be a terrific standalone venture," Cramer said. And the "Mad Money" host says, spinoffs create value.
In turn, Cramer can see the company using the cash to buy back stock, raise its dividend and or make an acquisition to change its tax status through a so-called inversion.
"This is a Merck that wants to make money," Cramer said. And investors like companies that make money.
Cramer thinks recent earnings from Cisco have generated a sentiment shift in this stock which should continue to endure.
"Cisco just reported a serious upside surprise with actual visibility for more good numbers going forward. Plus it's been buying back shares, paying a 3 percent yield and has a fantastic balance sheet," Cramer said. "I think investors will have no problems paying 12 times earnings for a one-time growth darling that finally seems to have gotten its groove back."
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Cramer's 6 buyable themes in second half
Troubled stock about to breakout?
Cramer: Mother of all speculative stocks
All told, Cramer said, "The five stocks that have done the most to propel the Dow from 16,000 to nearly 17,000 are still incredibly easy to justify owning. They deserve to be winners and I see no reason why they won't go on winning."
In turn, there's no reason to think that after 17,000 the rally will end.
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