Copper's been underwater for so long, it's turning green.
But it's the seeming pulverizing in the oils that I am watching most closely. I think this is one that could really snowball if the dollar stays strong, because the supply-demand picture should have tipped to the bears' hands already. Many countries are beginning to produce more oil than ever, particularly the U.S. and Iraq. All the while, the U.S. is using less -- and China, if iron and copper are any judge at all, might be reaching peak usage for now. A stronger dollar could be the clincher here to take the elusive Brent crude down to where it should be -- which, to me, is much lower than where it is now: maybe $10 lower per barrel.
I know I was -- and am -- spooked about the strong dollar and what it can do to the earnings of the consumer-products companies, including the drugmakers, which have heavy overseas-translations issues. I said goodbye to Kimberly Clark (KMB) the other day on "Mad Money," a goodbye that has almost instantly seemed premature, given the move up in bond prices. But eventually valuations can crimp the upside of almost any security, even one as great as Kimberly Clark. The international-turmoil-flight-into-safety trade can only elevate these for so long.
Of course, a strong dollar isn't bad for everyone. If the dollar's robust the insurers are going to continue to blast higher, the home plays live on, the utilities are fine, the retailers should be good and the domestic banks will keep on rocking.But a strong dollar cuts a lot of numbers, including tech earnings, which are heavily weighted toward Europe. As we head into the second quarter we will now, once again, have to consider the strong dollar as a headwind, courtesy the knuckleheads in Europe. So add a climbing dollar to the list of newfound woes that must trouble a large part of this market, joining the incompetent European regulators and a Fed afraid of the strengths in the economy. Come to accept the hammering that commodities will get every time Europe puts a bid under the dollar. Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, has a position in VALE.
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