NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- "Things are better this time around," Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain why $4 a gallon gasoline hasn't begun crippling the stock market.
Cramer said he could take the easy way out and just say that high gas prices haven't hit the economy yet, but that would put him in the same camp as the perma-bears who have been predicting the market's demise ever since the lows of 2008.In reality, Cramer said that if high gas really was hurting the economy, then discretionary stocks like Nike (NKE), Lululemon Athletica (LULU) and Harley Davidson (HOG) wouldn't keep heading higher. "Do we really need $150 sneakers?" he asked. Cramer listed five reasons why the markets aren't being affected by the pain at the pump. First, the economy is growing. Cramer said that hiring can conquer all, even expensive gas. Second, he said unlike 2008, interest rates are low, allowing business and consumers to refinance their mortgages and debts to offset higher gas. Third, Cramer noted that gas isn't our only energy bill, and thanks to a warm winter and falling natural gas prices, the pain at the pump isn't as bad this time around. Fourth, Cramer said that companies are ready this time around and some, like Honeywell (HON), Eaton (ETN) and Boeing (BA) all benefit from helping companies save on energy and fuel costs, which is why he owns the latter two for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS. Finally, Cramer said that consumers are not as shocked with $4 gas as they were in 2008. Put all of these factors together and Cramer said that things are simply better now than they were in 2008, which is why stocks, even discretionary ones, can still surge higher even as gas prices continue to creep towards and past $4 a gallon.
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