Investing has reached the point where it is at war. The opposing sides are the fundamentals versus the market, and Jim Cramer hasn’t seen it this bad in ages.
The averages bounced back nicely on Friday, with the Dow rebounding triple digits. But, despite the rally, Cramer thinks the fundamentals of the market do not indicate that it is any better off than it was before.
Cramer’s concerns all boiled down to three topics: the strong dollar, the price of oil and earnings.
The strong dollar is worrisome to Cramer, because this is the quarterly earnings season where CEOs can no longer get a pass on currency. If earnings are too weak because of the strong dollar, too bad! It can no longer be dismissed as a valid excuse for earnings woes.
“This time the dollar has become a cost, just like labor, or interest payments or raw goods,” Cramer said.
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The second fundamental at odds with the rebounding market was the price of oil. Crude rallied back above $31, but that did not mean anything to Cramer. At the end of the day, the world is still flooded with oil and there is not enough demand to offset the supply.
Finally, the last concern for Cramer was the earnings for individual companies. On average, they have just been OK. Very few companies have benefited from the decline in oil prices, and many industries such as housing and autos have peaked.
So, despite the rally on Friday, when Cramer assessed where the stock market really was — he concluded that the macro situation has actually gotten worse, not better.
“I think we are witnessing an oversold rally that could be sowing the seeds of its own demise as it bulls its way higher to levels that just don’t make a lot of sense given the fundamentals,” Cramer said.
And while these three fundamental concerns are no reason to dump stocks wholesale, Cramer recommended that they are a reason to trim some positions into strength. He wants investors to be ready for more weakness, especially if the Fed continues to insist on raising rates this year.