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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today is the day the markets finally figured it out, Jim Cramer said on Mad Money Tuesday. Today the markets realized the possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine is indeed possible, and the west has no clue what to do about it.
Cramer explained that for weeks the markets have been acting as if they were were being controlled by interest rates and the Federal Reserve. But the Fed isn't as important as you'd think with Russian troops massing at the Ukraine border.
The oil stocks had been huge market leaders earlier this year, but lately investors have been selling the group. That's just wrong, Cramer said. If Russian oil goes offline, prices will skyrocket. Meanwhile the airline stocks have been rising, ignoring the fact that travelers are now increasingly scared to fly.
If Russia wasn't front and center, the markets would be higher, Cramer said simply. But since it is, investors need to accept the new reality.
Just because a stock appears to be bottoming doesn't mean it's necessarily a buy, Cramer told viewers, as he opined on four often-asked-about stocks, Coach (COH), Whole Foods Markets (WFM), Panera Bread (PNRA) and Target.
Cramer said that with a successful migration into men's apparel and big growth in China, it appears that Coach has indeed bottomed. And with a 3.77% dividend yield, the stock is worth speculating on.
That's not the case with Whole Foods, however. Cramer said while there was a sense of urgency on the company's conference call, other stocks, like Kroger (KR), offer better value. Cramer said he needs to see evidence of a turnaround at Whole Foods, otherwise he'd rather own Costco (COST).
Then there's Panera Bread, a stock that didn't tank when its CFO departed. That feels like a bottom, Cramer said, but again, he needs to see evidence of a turnaround before the stock is worth speculating on.
Finally, Cramer said that he's not a fan of retail, which means he cannot recommend Target. The future does look better with employment improving, he noted, but the stock is not worth owning now.
Cramer said it would be a mistake to short any of these names because they appear to be bottoming. But it's also a mistake to jump in and buy as it may be a while before we see any upward momentum.