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Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: A Good Year After All


Cramer said while he's not willing to base his entire 2013 trading strategy on technical analysis alone, the charts are so compelling that this year is shaping up to be a good one for the markets.

The Obvious Choice

Sometimes the best investment is the most obvious one, Cramer reminded viewers. So when the headlines point out that auto sales are on fire and the U.S. is on track to build as many as 15.3 million cars this year, the best way to play it is with the best-run U.S. automaker, Ford Motor (F) .

Cramer said Ford shares are just off their 52-week high and deservedly so. The company now has three of the top 10 best-selling cars worldwide, including the Ford Focus, which recently took the top spot as THE best-selling car worldwide.

The bear case against Ford has been its European business, which had been dragging down the entire company. But thanks to aggressive cost cutting, Europe is no longer a factor, said Cramer, and CEO Alan Mulally has indicated he's willing to cut even further if need be.

Elsewhere in the world, sales are increasing for Ford in China, as the company now expects Asia to account for a full 32% of sales by 2020, up from just 15% in 2010. Latin America is also poised for a comeback, noted Cramer.

Back at home, Cramer said, Ford has stability in its labor agreements through 2015 and its commodity costs are heading in the right direction, all of which has allowed the company to clean up its balance sheet to a point where its debt is finally being considered investment grade. Cramer said the debt upgrades will only hasten Ford's recovery as the company will be able to pay less in interest going forward.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Walgreens (WAG) , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) , Nike (NKE) , Triangle Capital (TCAP) , Dicks Sporting Goods (DKS) and Facebook (FB) .

Cramer was bearish on Windstream (WIN) , Molycorp (MCP) and Google (GOOG) .

Looking Abroad

While U.S. lawmakers have been busy fighting among themselves, the rest of the world has working on fixing their economies, Cramer told viewers, which is why one of 2013's biggest investing trends may become "anywhere but here." That's why he took a close look at markets around the globe to find some international opportunities that investors can use to diversify their portfolios.

Cramer said that after decades of a flatlined economy, Japan may now be on the mend, thanks to a new prime minister who's willing to stimulate growth by any means necessary. He suggested the iShares MSCI-Japan (EWJ) as his ETF of choice in Japan.

China also remains promising, said Cramer, as that country's leadership is finally getting things right, after a few years of getting things totally wrong. He said the iShares FTSE China 25 (FXI) , an ETF which he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, is his favorite China play.