SMART 'MONEY'? By RICHARD WILNER June 19, 2005 -- Jim Cramer, the business media's uberchild, is knocking'em dead on his new CNBC show, "Mad Money," boosting ratings by 61 percent amid positive reviews. Executives at the cable network are tossing confetti that on any given day, 163,000 viewers are tuning in the manic money maven. But just how good is his advice? Well, with the show now on the air for three months, The Post felt it might be a good time to check. What we discovered is that instead of calling him a hero, some viewers might start calling Cramer the "46 Percent Kid." That's the percentage of Cramer's mind-blowing 183 stock picks during the first week of shows, from March 14-18, that proved well-founded as of the close of business June 15. That's right, of the 183 picks, 98 buy or sell recommendations, or 54 percent, missed the mark, while 85 picks, or 46 percent, were spot on. Cramer smashed out of the park picks for Sears (+17 percent), Google (+55 percent) and Yahoo! (+15 percent) and nailed it solid when he told viewers he loved the cost-containment companies in the health car field. The stocks have soared. Cha-ching! But thrown into the mix were Cramer's advice to buy heavy into Wall Street banks because, in part, the federal deficit would provide a steady income stream for their bond departments. Ouch! J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley are all off in the three-month period. The former hedge fund manager also pointed investors in the wrong direction when he fingered drug stocks Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Merck for a sell. The trio went up. He said Johnson & Johnson is the only company he liked in the sector because it was diversified. It went down. But hey, wait, Cramer shouted over the phone last week. He said he is waaaay better than only 46 percent coreect. "You missed the shows weeks later when I reversed some of those positions as the market turned, so a lot of those losers are actually winners," Cramer barked. In fact, Cramer said, as he poured over his own accounting of the 183 or so picks he made that premier week, "I didn't think I could be that good." Cramer said viewers, to get all they can from his show, have to be regular viewers as he changes his mind frequently. He likes to call himself, rather then a "buy and hold" investor, a "buy and homework" investor. So viewers tempted to act on his advice during one show better make plans to return â and return and return. To be sure, the show can be very entertaining, with executive interviews, a pick of the week and the ultra-manic lightning round, where Cramer can dish up 30 or more picks in just 5 minutes. But beware of lightning round picks. Cramer admits those selections, made with little overt analysis, can be dicey. "The lightning round is not as important as other picks, like the pick of the week," he said last week. "What viewers should take away from my program is that they have to do their homework," Cramer said. And also, perhaps, that a highly entertaining 60 minutes is not necessarily highly profitable.