NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's important to know who is the driving the markets and who's just along for the ride, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Monday. He said investors who think that Europe is still driving force behind the markets need to think again.
Cramer said there's been a fundamental shift in market geography since last year, when Europe was in the driver's seat with China riding shotgun. Back then, the U.S. was asleep in the back seat, he noted, but that all changed as 2012 began. Now, he said, the U.S. markets are behind the wheel and it's Europe that's alone in the back seat.Why should this matter to investors? Cramer said it explains today's trading action, which seemed off to a positive start after Saturday's positive Chinese manufacturing data signaled that the country's so-called economic "hard landing" would be off the table. But then news from Europe, which takes its cues from its weakest members, threatened to undo any rally and lead us to a weaker open. But in the end, as 10 a.m. rolled around, Cramer said it was strong U.S. economic data that set the tone for the markets. And with the U.S. economy taking center stage, that bodes well for U.S stocks, including retail, housing, technology, autos and restaurants, he concluded. Only the commodity related stocks, like mining and minerals, along with copper and metals, will hinge on news from China, said Cramer. As for Europe, it looks like that beleaguered continent is off the front page, at least for the time being.