All in all, this is a "temper your enthusiasm" number. That's just what I'll be doing until I see something that tells me, definitively, that things have been getting better, not worse, since December. I am sorry to say that I don't have any indication that will be the case anytime soon.
[Read: How Rich Is Congress? Most Lawmakers Are Now Millionaires]
China Is Lurking
Posted at 10:53 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Jan. 9
You want my biggest worry? China.We are seeing degradation in the Baltic Freight Index to the point that it's tough to watch. We have seen a decline in copper. We get government numbers that aren't so hot and auto numbers that are cooling, and none of it is good news. Vale (VALE) has been a hideous underperformer for the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust and it, too, is connected to China via iron ore.
[Read: Katje: Bright Prospects for Discovery Communications]
Now, let's put it in context. This stock rally is a U.S.-led one. The emerging markets have been horrendous. Europe's coming back in fits and starts. China's been intermittent, but the market is strongest when China is in a positive part of the cycle. The only reason I endeavor to point this out is that the weakness in the stock market is pervasive enough that you have to break out the list of real concerns, and this is the top one. Now, the day rates for oil tankers are up nicely -- funny, the Nordic American Tankers (NAT) downgrade by Maxim Group seems wrong-headed to me. Further, the U.S. companies that deal with China, Caterpillar (CAT) excluded, are not singing a downbeat tune. But I am conscious that China is lurking. Unless we start seeing some better commodity numbers -- and I am not even included the plummeting in West Texas Intermediate crude, because that's heavily domestic -- the market will not be able to advance with any alacrity.
[Read: BMW Suffers Big Setback Against Tesla in California]
At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long VALE and CAT.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV