Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Real Money at 6:10 a.m. EDT on March 20. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money.
NEW YORK (Real Money
) -- We know we have to be troubled. It's in us to be troubled, because before the April-to-October period of 2011, the last serious correction -- 17% from top to bottom -- only the troubled survived. You needed to be able to see the punch coming, the counterpunch, and then get back into the corner from which you came.
But, other than the fiscal cliff fiasco -- the one that dawned on the market a week after the election and was resolved at the New Year -- it's been a real bad call to be too
Until now. Now, all of a sudden, you do
at least have to be a little paranoid -- not about everything, but about a bunch of things, be it Wednesday's potential Fed
bolt from hell, or the moment when the Cypriots open the gates of their banks of hell, or a whole new one that's beginning to really play havoc in peoples' minds: the incredibly strong dollar.
We've all stared Cyprus down with the flight to safety into U.S. bonds, the re-embrace of consumer packaged-goods stocks (this I didn't see coming, but their yields look better when bond prices go higher) and, rightly or wrongly, the selling of the financial names. But the real vicious action is in the metals and materials. These have collapsed, viciously collapsed, in the last 48 hours. They're the victims of a renewed Chinese slowdown, perhaps stemmed by Tuesday night's advance, coupled with what could be a lasting menace to earnings -- a strong and getting-stronger
Look, I understand the thesis. Take the iron ore trade, which is one way and one way only: down. We own Vale (VALE)
for Action Alerts PLUS
, feel the pain every day, and the general consensus is that if you mine or fabricate iron, you are a goner. It reminds me of the first go-around with Cliffs Natural (CLF)
when it was Cleveland Cliffs, a bankruptcy flameout galore. I don't think the consensus is going to be right six months from now. A stock like Vale has already been cut in half. But you try telling that to the sellers who have banged down every bid from $18 to $16 and change.