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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's always darkest before the dawn, Jim Cramer said on "Mad Money" Thursday, and the dawn may finally be at hand for Europe. If that's true, he added, then it will be a game-changer for the stock market.
Cramer said he hasn't mentioned Europe of late because up until a few weeks ago there hasn't been anything positive to say. The European markets were continuing to weaken because the central bank opted to raise, rather than lower, interest rates. As the continent's economy ground to a halt, it took China with it because Europe is the largest market for Chinese goods.
But starting two weeks ago, things began to change, Cramer continued. As earnings began rolling in, companies including Eaton (ETN), PPG (PPG), Avnet (AVT) and Timken (TKR) all came on "Mad Money" and said that Europe was finally beginning to bottom.That trend was confirmed by many of the European banks, which reported better-than-expected numbers, along with General Motors (GM), which indicated sales are beginning to turn positive. Cramer said with the European Central Bank lowering interest rates just today, it is finally signaling it is interested in making things better rather than worse -- a move that will be a boon for U.S. companies that have been making their European operations leaner and getting ready for the turn that may be at hand now. If Europe turns positive, it will instantly boost the stocks of U.S. industrials, minerals, oil and gas, banks and technology stocks, said Cramer. It could be the key to higher prices the markets have been waiting for.