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Cramer picks his top Dow stock for this year based on 2016 winners

Cramer picks his top Dow stock for this year based on 2016 winners

Even though the Dow Jones industrial average didn't hit 20,000 in 2016, Jim Cramer found three stocks in the Dow that could power higher in 2017.

Cramer said investors simply asked too much of stocks when they have already skyrocketed to new highs. Many will need to take a breather after running higher in 2016.

"After year's remarkable run, many of the market's leaders have already given us all they've got," the "Mad Money" host said.

The five top performers of the Dow in 2016 were Goldman Sachs, UnitedHealth, JPMorgan, Chevron and Caterpillar.

Caterpillar was up 36 percent last year. The company managed to gain control over its destiny through innovation, supply chain management and reining in its dealer network. However, Cramer fears that a strengthening dollar and China's growth could hurt Caterpillar.

I think JPM's the biggest winner of the five, and it's the one I would bet on if you believe that the Trump rally is far from finished.
Jim Cramer
JP Morgan Chase World Headquarters on Park Avenue in New York.
Timothy A. Clark | AFP | Getty Images

"If you buy CAT here, you have to believe that numbers come up, not down, and as much as I have championed the stock, I think it has given you all it has to give, at least for now, unless Trump issues $500 billion in 50-year Make America Great Again bonds where the money is earmarked to purchase only U.S. made products," Cramer said.

The second best performer was UnitedHealth, up 35 percent last year. While Cigna and Anthem, and Humana and Aetna were busy trying to merge, UnitedHealth stood out to Cramer as the one company to challenge the Affordable Care Act when it spoke publicly against the healthcare exchanges. Hence, Cramer expects President-elect Trump to call on UnitedHealth to help redo healthcare, which could be a great business opportunity.

"UnitedHealth is the most likely to become a two-year dynasty," Cramer said.

The third was Goldman Sachs, which rallied 32 percent, and Cramer thinks the stock could roar higher in 2017. He suspects that "Goldman can go back to being Goldman." Meaning, a company that makes money with its own money and gets a premium for being clever.

And with the Republicans in full control of Congress, Cramer expects that criticism from anti-Wall Street Senators like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren won't have as much impact on the stock.

Fourth was Chevron, which soared 30 percent last year. The company is viewed as the most aggressive of the major oil companies since it cut back on spending and maintained its dividend, and became the new blue chip of the group.

"All I can tell you is that Chevron is the one trading in lockstep with oil, but I suspect that oil is stick here for a bit … So I wouldn't bet on a huge run beyond the stock's current recovery," Cramer said.

The last winner on Cramer's list was JPMorgan, and it was also up 30 percent. This was Cramer's No. 1 stock for 2017, as it could benefit big time if the Fed raises interest rates multiple times in 2017. It could also be a beneficiary of deregulation.

Even better, if the U.S. economy grows the way Trump promised, it will be one of the few stocks that can make profits without pressure on earnings from a strong dollar.

"Suffice it to say, I think JPM's the biggest winner of the five, and it's the one I would bet on if you believe that the Trump rally is far from finished," Cramer said.

Ultimately, Cramer was willing to bless Goldman Sachs, UnitedHealth and JPMorgan as stocks that have more room to run, while Chevron and Caterpillar may need to pause.

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