Jim Cramer shook his head in anger on Thursday morning when he saw that the Dow Jones industrial average opened up 250 points. It's not that he wants stocks to go lower; it's that the Dow was up for all of the wrong reasons!
Cramer liked the downturn on Wednesday, because that made sense. The fact that the market opened up on Thursday because of the Chinese stock market means that it was based on nothing that happened in the U.S. and therefore had zero staying power.
"I get upset when I see that we are now taking our cue from the Chinese stock market, and when they rally, we open higher, until the sellers come in knowing that they have been given a gift. The gift of higher prices for all stocks, a gift that's frankly undeserved," the "Mad Money" host said. (Tweet This)
So, what can investors do to protect their portfolio amid a horrendous market setup?
Cramer gave his blessing on a few stocks that can both protect and defend, such as Walgreens Boots Alliance, PepsiCoand T-Mobile, but not an automotive stock like General Motors—which is the most hated stock that Cramer has ever seen.
"I hate up openings when the setups are fluid and negative, and if we get them you need to sell, not buy," he said.
While the averages ended in the green on Thursday, Cramer took a broad focus if the market from a long-term perspective and wants investors to be prepared for a downturn. Just as the plunged nearly 10 percent last fall over fears of Ebola and a plummet in oil prices, it is starting to happen, again.
With the S&P 500 down more than 4 percent from its all-time high in late May as of Wednesday's close, drama in Greece and China and calls for Fed rate hikes are all contributing to an uncertain start to earnings season.
"Whenever we see one of these market-wide selloffs, I'm always on the lookout for high-quality companies that can still power higher," the "Mad Money" host said.
This is why Cramer has handpicked a selection of 15 safe-haven stocks to recommend to investors. These are all large- to mid-cap stocks that have managed to hit new 52-week highs despite the broader decline of the averages.
First up was Disney, which has been a long-time Cramer fave. He expects it to benefit from the recent decline in oil and recommended buying this one on weakness.
Next was Nike, which continues to crush it as management invests in top-notch technology. However, Cramer worries that fears of sales in China could weigh on the stock, so he suggested taking that into consideration, though he is confident it won't take much of a hit.
Many investors may be scared and sitting on the sidelines because of the turmoil with Greece and China lately, but Cramer pointed out that many companies are taking action to create value through smart acquisitions.
"You might think that potential acquirers would want to wait for the turmoil to subside, but the truth is that turmoil can be the mother of opportunity," Cramer said.
That is why Cramer explained to investors the recent deals in the health care industry and why they make sense with such a horrible background right now.
The big-daddy of all takeovers was Aetna's purchase of Humana in cash and stock at a 23 percent premium. Cramer considers this acquisition to be a huge positive for Aetna, as it will boost enrollment by 33 million lives.
But the real reason why he loves it so much is because with the implementation of Obamacare, a lot more people are getting healthcare coverage from state and Federal exchanges. Thus, larger scale is necessary to be a competitor on the exchanges. The combined Aetna-Humana will be able to compete where individual companies may be too small to do so.
Cramer receives a lot of questions from investors asking him what kind of homework he does when he picks stocks for CNBC's "Mad Money." So, to give investors the upper hand in how to properly assess a company, he decided to give a concrete example by examining Wednesday's quarter from Alcoa.
Cramer likes Alcoa because he believes in its long-term story, which is to transform itself away from being a commodity play on aluminum and into a producer of value-added materials.
He has always studied Alcoa closely by looking at the quarterly report, listening to its conference call and rewatching interviews with CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. He uses this information to spark new ideas about the macro picture of the economy, because many companies benefit from the trends that Alcoa highlights.
"My first takeaway, overall? The U.S. economy is doing better than expected. Kleinfeld hammered that home in every venue, and I believe it," the "Mad Money" host said.
How the heck did Cramer get all of that from Alcoa's fundamentals?
Because Alcoa breaks its business into many different end markets, and those businesses pretty much touch everything that is related to non-retail commerce. So it will provide a take on everything from aerospace, automotive, heavy duty truck and trailer, packaging, building and construction and industrial turbines—basically anything that requires metal.
"I'm not saying just go buy the stocks the homework leads you to. I am saying that Alcoa's quarter is a fantastic place to start the homework you need, or to verify thoughts you may already have on various investments," Cramer added.
And while Cramer is on a mission to help investors make money on the stock market, sometimes that means going off the tape to look at privately held companies that are on the cutting edge of trends disrupting the industry. That is why he spoke with Casper, a company that has disrupted the mattress industry, which hasn't had strong innovation in decades.
The idea is that clients can go on to Casper's website and order a mattress without having to deal with salespeople. And if you don't like it, then Casper will come and pick it up from you. The concept is to make the process of buying a mattress simple and convenient.
With investors such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Adam Levine and Tobey Maguire—could this be the mattress company with a dream team? To find out, Cramer spoke with Casper's co-founder and CEO, Philip Krim.
"It's funny, everyone relates to how terrible buying a mattress is. Our customers, investors all understand the opportunity to change the game when it comes to that. When you combine a great product with an unbelievable customer experience, everyone just seizes the opportunity, celebrity or not.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer gave his take on a few caller favorite stocks:
Boeing: "We are going to wait for the quarter, because sometimes it acts squishy in the quarter and then after it does that we will probably pull the trigger."
Dillard's: "A couple of downgrades and the stock is now down 40 straight points. I agree with you, I think it is overdone on the down side."