The rally has gone on so long that it’s reasonable to think the market could soon hit a ceiling, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Tuesday.
Cramer, however, is not convinced that the market is reaching a peak, even though all three major U.S. indexes declined during the session about 0.60%.
Still, he considered the main reasons investors and analysts say an end to the climb is near.
“I want to vaccinate you against these vociferous top callers by laying out the ten best reasons why the market actually might be peaking,” the “Mad Money” host said. “I’m just trying to ensure that you’ll be prepared when you hear pundits and portfolio managers make these same arguments, but they’re going to do so in a more emphatic and, yes, hysterical way and tone.”
1. Worldwide slowdown
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday slashed its 2019 global economic growth outlook again, from 3.5% to 3.3%. Many investors correlate stocks with the world economy and could see the cut as a signal that the market could reach a top.
But Cramer rejects that argument because the IMF numbers are “lagging indicators” and the slowdown has been baked in the market’s forecast.
“The important thing is what happens next, and this international weakness makes it a lot less likely that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates,” he said. “So even though the media may characterize the data as bearish, the actual implications for our stock market are quite bullish.”
2. U.S.-China trade
If talks fall apart between American and Chinese trade negotiators, Cramer said it would damage the averages. He explained that many stocks with international exposure have rallied on expectations that the world’s two largest economies would eventually come to an agreement.
Cramer worries that a deal won’t be made unless both sides are in desperate need of one. He said the sticking point is whether China will honor the truce if the U.S. drops tariffs on imports from the country.
Investors should care about when a deal will be made and how impactful it will be, he added.
“If we do get a deal — even if it’s not that good — I think the market roars higher. As long as that’s a possibility, well, do you really wanna panic?” Cramer said. “No one ever made a dime panicking.”
3. Stocks are overbought
The S&P Oscillator Index, an indicator of short-term trading sentiment, was plus six as of Monday night. Cramer said any number above five means investors should stop buying and a measurement closer to 10 means it’s time to sell.
The host said his ActionAlertsPlus.com charitable trust has put buying on hold and trimmed some stocks that have run.
“But we’re already getting the cure for an overbought market: lower stock prices that we saw today. You don’t need to worry about the oscillator unless the averages surge higher again,” he said.
4. Inverted yield curve
Cramer knows he should be more concerned when short-term interest rates cross above long-term rates, which is a “traditional harbinger of recession,” but he blamed the inversion on a misread of economic weakness by the Fed.
“If we really are headed into a recession, then Fed Chief Jay Powell, who’s learned his lesson, will simply cut rates to juice the economy,” Cramer said. “Bye-bye, inverted yield curve.”
“As I pointed out last night, when companies like 3M and FedExhave disappointed, their stocks go down for a bit and then boom, they give us a decisive rally, ” Cramer said. “So I’m not too worried about weak earnings if the stocks are down.”
He called Tuesday’s sell-off “healthy” heading into earnings.
Cramer dismissed the idea that stocks should go lower when crude prices rise.
“Stocks and oil have been trading and it’s been rallying side-by-side for ages … So oil can keep climbing for a while and I’m not gonna sweat the program,” he said. “Plus, cars are a lot more fuel efficient these days, so no need to freak out about gasoline-led inflation.”
Boeing has been a leader on Wall Street, but the market can find another ruler if it falls off, Cramer said.
“Boeing is a special situation that’s not easily replicated—it’s what we call sui generis in lwa school. You can’t extrapolate to the rest of the market … so stop worrying about it,” he said.
Ulta Beauty and Chipotle shares have had strong runs over the past year — nearly 65% and 125%, respectively.
Cramer said the hottest stocks in the tech sector include the cloud companies and their riskier, faster-growing relatives. He said both have been doing well and it’s nothing to bemoan.
“At any given moment, there’s always gonna be market darlings and when you find them, respect them for what they are: overvalued stocks for the near-term that might be cheap in the out-years,” he said.
9. Weak autos and housing
The weakness in automotive stocks is concerning, Cramer said, pointing to structural issues, declining consumer interest in owning a vehicle, and auto loans.
“While I can see selling the auto related stocks here, they’re so darned cheap that I want to take the other side of the trade,” he said.
For homes, Cramer said there aren’t enough of them and they are becoming harder to build because of zoning.
“Mortgage rates have come down dramatically. Maybe things get better in the spring, but I don’t want you to cry for the homebuilders,” he said.
Cramer’s FAANG group — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet’s Google — have been producing results, despite press hiccups that have stunned a number of the companies.
“These stocks have acquitted themselves fairly well in 2019,” the host said.
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