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The Only ‘Green’ That Matters

It’s Earth Day, so a lot of the news has been about green, green, green. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to make New York City buildings greener. President Obama was talking about green jobs at an Iowa green plant. Apparently in Washington there was even renewed focus on endorsing another kind of green plant

Naturally, if caught up in this Earth Day spirit, you might want some environmentally friendly stocks for your portfolio. Ohio, from whence Cramer shot his latest Back to School Tour show on Wednesday, has two of the best: Owens Corning , which makes composite materials used in windmills and insulation, and Owens Illinois, maker of recyclable glass.

But it would be a mistake to invest in these companies, Cramer told the crowd at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Now is not the time, not with oil and gas prices so low and green initiatives like President Obama’s cap-and-trade emissions plan put on hold. That’s why business for both OC and OI is so slow. And Cramer isn’t expecting earnings growth any time soon. Maybe if a barrel of crude fetched $100. But at $48 and change? No way.

Better to buy a company that truly operates with a green philosophy – as in, it’s making money. Investors don’t even need to leave Ohio to find one. FirstMerit is doing well enough to give back the $125 million in Troubled Assets Relief Program money it borrowed from the government. Standard & Poor’s upgraded the bank’s debt rating this year. There’s even a hefty 6.1% dividend yield, paying investors to wait for the next catalyst to take the stock higher. And as lesser firms collapse, FMER can scoop up their assets, growing market share just in time for our emergence for this recession.

Doing the right thing is noble. No doubt about that. Cramer would never scoff at fighting climate change, air pollution and the like. But do the right thing for your portfolio first. That way you have money to pay off student loans, buy a house or maybe even make a donation to your favorite charity. Say, Greenpeace?

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