The Importance of Investing Themes on Mad Money

Last I checked there were scores of websites devoted entirely to recording, repeating and very often criticizing every word that comes out of Jim Cramer’s mouth on Mad Money. Worse, these sites have advertisers. Whenever I talk to Jim about them we’re completely befuddled: Who are these people, and, more importantly, why are their Google rankings so high? Do a search for “Cramer” on Google and this is the second site that comes up. It’s just some guy who lists the stocks that Jim mentions on the show every night, and on Google he’s ahead of everything with the official Cramer seal of approval?

There’s no way we’re going to let that stand. There is a vacuum of novel, official Mad Money-related content on the web, and it’s one that we’re going to fill—we being Jim, the man himself, and me, Cliff Mason, his oh-so-humble writer.

If you’re the kind of person who feels like there aren’t enough hours of Mad Money in a day, if you want more Mad Money, not just endless repetition of the same things Jim’s already said on the show, then you’ve come to the right place. Consider this blog your official, Mad Money supplement, the only one with the Cramer Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

There’s never enough time for us to explain everything we wish we could or to delve into greater detail on an important topic on air, but on the web we’ve got all the time in the world.

So how about some meat? Today we began a weeklong series highlighting wildcatters, the companies that drill for oil and gas where no man has drilled before, but you know that already if you saw the show or read the recap. What you probably don’t know is how we think about this type of series and why we think it matters.

Every time someone writes a review, or makes a side reference to Mad Money in the press, they treat the show as though it’s all about the stock picks, and that’s what this cottage industry of unauthorized Cramer blogs does, too. Putting aside a lot of other objections to that attitude, no stock pick stands alone.

That’s why the single most important recommendations on Mad Money aren’t stocks, they’re themes. When Jim says he thinks investors should buyPetrohawk like he did tonight, that’s part of a broader takeaway. The takeaway isn’t just that we like wildcatters, even though that’s the subject of the series. Our themes are much bigger than that. The story about Petrohawk was a chance to reiterate one of Jim’s favorite ones: that 2008 is still the year of natural gas, meaning you want to keep owning stocks with natural-gas exposure.

We’re not trying to come up with a new stock to recommend every day, let alone every segment, we’re trying to find stocks that illustrate the broader investment themes that we believe could make you a lot of money.

This sounds really bizarre to say, but when you watch the show you should look for repetition, not novelty. Repetition makes money. I could talk about agriculture or minerals and mining or aerospace and defense, all big picture themes that we’ve emphasized and that have made people a lot of money, but let’s stick to natural gas just in the last six months.

How have the stocks that Jim has repeatedly recommended done? Apache is up 42.9% since we got behind it on Feb. 4. XTO Energy is up 19.6% from Feb. 12 when it was featured, Anadarko up 33% from Feb. 13, Chesapeake Energy up 29.8% from when it got a whole segment on March 4, and finally Ultra Petroleum has gained 34.6% since we featured it on Jan. 3, and 26.9% from when it was re-featured on Feb. 13.

You could have bought any one of these stocks and made out like a bandit, and that’s the point. Our biggest wins have come from the themes that get repeated over and over again. So when you hear Cramer advocate a group of stocks that he’s mentioned before—or yet another stock in that group, don’t change the channel. Turn up the volume and maybe back up the truck and buy something.

Jim's charitable trust owns XTO Energy.

Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich and Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like.

Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.

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