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People feel bad enough about stocks that they're safe to buy, Jim Cramer told viewers on CNBC's "Mad Money" program Friday night.
"Things have to get really bad, people have to be psychotically negative, before things can start to get good," Cramer said. He suggested "quality" stocks like Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report), Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), Motorola (MOT) and Ingersoll-Rand (IR - Get Report) to play the coming bounce.
Put shares of infrastructure company Pike Electric (PEC) "in the steal category," Cramer said.Indications market sentiment has bottomed include a 45% bull reading in a recent investor sentiment poll and a report showing retail traders have roughly four times as many short sales on as professional specialists. "There aren't a lot of bulls left to convert into bears," Cramer said. "There are more bears than the market can handle. You have to shoot them when that happens." Enough has gone wrong in the market recently that anyone thinking of bailing probably has. A major financial institution, Refco (RFX), is in trouble. Housing prices have come down. Inflation is heading up. Cramer said Friday's consumer price index gain of 1.2% "is the high reading for the cycle." Cramer said the current market isn't one of his "exquisite moment" opportunities where investors should expect huge upsid. "I'm not saying it's going to go up a thousand points," he said. "But you gotta buy." Even oil stocks, which "every joker and his brother own," could get caught up in the coming gains, Cramer said. "I think the stocks lag, but because I believe in a larger bull market thesis, we buy into the lift this time." As part of this week's international focus, Cramer highlighted some plays from Africa, an area of the world he said is now "investable" after years of upheaval. "It's not things fall apart, it's not Conrad's Heart of Darkness.' It's a smart place to put your money."