With top analysts turning bearish on the stock market amid concerns about lofty valuations and rising rates, Jim Cramer felt the need to right the record for the bulls’ sake.
“I want to address this reluctance to believe in the bull head-on by going over the top 10 reasons why investors always seem to have one foot out the door, despite the fact [that] we’ve had one heck of a run from the lows way back in March of 2009,” the “Mad Money” host said.
One of the top objections Cramer hears is that the market has rallied for too long and is on its last legs, despite the fact that bull markets do not tend to die of old age.
Usually, a bull market’s demise is brought about by a surging bond market, a recession, excessive interest rate hikes or an overabundance of supply.
Cramer pointed to three major market corrections in the last eight years to cement this point. The first was in 2011, when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States’ credit rating. The second happened in 2015, when panicked selling on worries of Chinese market weakness caused a flash crash. The third was a February 2016 collapse in oil prices.
“So many stocks entered bear market mode in these three corrections that it’s almost like we’ve had three bull markets with some really horrifying interregnums. That’s why I simply can’t buy into the senile bull thesis,” Cramer said.
Some on Wall Street have compared this situation to the market in 2000, when lower-than-expected earnings sent grossly overvalued stocks tumbling, but Cramer found three key differences.
Third, the earnings wipe-out in 2000 was caused in part by a rise in bankruptcies for companies that were clients of the era’s big winners.
“Plus, the price-to-earnings multiples of many of the tech stocks right now … are about one-tenth of what they were back then,” the “Mad Money” host said. “It’s just not an apt analogy.”
The Federal Reserve has been a target of critics who say its interest rate raises have put the market in a precarious and vulnerable position. But those rate hikes have propped up the banks and helped them lend more, reasserting the financials as market leaders.
“No bear market has ever begun with the financials as the leaders,” Cramer said. “Many have started with the banks as laggards, though.”
A congressional standstill in Washington has prevented President Donald Trump from fulfilling his agenda, but Cramer argued that bull markets can continue in the face of gridlock.
And while the market would benefit from lower corporate taxes, a completed health care bill and meaningful deregulation, the “Mad Money” host said no progress is not as bad as it sounds.
“At the end of the day, a government that does nothing under a Republican president is still more market-friendly than one that does nothing under a Democrat,” Cramer said. “I’m not trying to be political here, it’s just that the Republicans are known as the party of capital and the Democrats are known as the party of labor — both equally valid, I think — and the stock market? It’s capital.”
Cramer agreed that concerns about stocks getting to expensive are valid. But value stocks, which are supposed to remain valuable when the rest of the market is flying too close to the sun, have been the primary source of pain.
“I’ve been examining literally hundreds of stocks that are not on most people’s radar screens, humdrum companies like Brink’s or Avery Dennison or Federal Realty, which I know is down on its luck right now, but they simply can’t be considered pricey. And this isn’t just anecdotal evidence. So much of the movement in this market has been broad-based, with vicious rotations being used to re-charge whole sectors,” Cramer said.
“Most managers simply don’t know what they do. So therefore they presume these stocks are expensive,” he said, adding that their work in areas like the cloud make them more promising than they appear.
Like the tech stocks, health care stocks have also confounded investors when it comes to the parts of their businesses tied to Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance policies.
“These companies represent the real runaway cost of health care. The truth is … if we don’t have a single-payer system, health care will always be run very inefficiently and the taxpayer will keep getting ripped off,” the “Mad Money” host explained. “What does that mean? The health care stocks will continue to run. No one’s checking how much they make.”
The 2014 oil glut and subsequent crash created a slew of energy companies that have yet to consolidate, and they are daily disappointments for many a Wall Street financier.
“I can’t quantify this other than to say that they are top-of-mind disappointers,” Cramer said, adding that they create mainly psychological weight.
There is one company on the top of everybody’s mind when it comes to retail: Amazon. Many market watchers are bewildered that its destruction has not dragged the entire bull market down.
“Yes, there have been some retail bankruptcies, but not really major ones. Maybe you haven’t even shopped at any of them. The fear of Amazon has become so all- encompassing, though, that bargains might soon be created. I say stay tuned to the downgrades after Amazon Prime Day tomorrow.” Cramer said. “At that point, I’m more interested in buying than selling.”
Finally, Cramer has found it has always been considered safer to be a bear than a bull, especially with the rise of digital video applications like YouTube.
Commentators who pound the table can be criticized for their bullishness if the market does not go their way, so the pessimists control the dialogue, even if they have been mostly incorrect for thousands of basis points, Cramer said.
“I don’t think any of these objections will change anytime soon. They’re just going to be with us. I just wanted to catalog them. So we need to acknowledge these 10 reasons why the bull is so widely mistrusted. That way you don’t have to have one foot out the stock door every single session,” the “Mad Money” host concluded.
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Source: Tech CNBC
Cramer's 10 reasons why Wall Street mistrusts the bull market