NEW YORK (Real Money) -- You stare at those futures, all by yourself, pondering. How much is it going to hurt? How much can it go down? Will the yield protect me? Aren't we oversold already? Hasn't everyone who wanted out already gotten out?
And then you think, nope, it doesn't matter. Because, if you recall from the bad old days, the futures don't discriminate. They are equal opportunity haters.
You know I used to watch them sink in the old days. Just stare at them. Didn't trade them. Just knew their power. And I would already by, say, 4:00, be making my list of what I wanted to buy into the cascade only so I could sell on the rumor that would turn the futures around.
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But now we have a two-front, intractable war, so that anything that causes a lift might be met by another force that creates another fall.
Last night I talked about the notion that buying the selloffs to be able to get a better basis might not work well in an earnings per share cutting environment. I should have put it this way: You always want to buy stocks in a dip when profits are growing and companies have tons of money and will be buying back stocks and have clear growth paths.
But buying the dips is harder
and less lucrative when number cuts could be the order of the day. The Bristol-Myers
theorem -- meaning, what do the Ukraine and Iraq have to do with the price-to-earnings ratio of Bristol Myers -- still holds. But the futures have to overrun Bristol; it has to go down
to a level where the dividend yield and the prospects support it.
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In other words, you have to get a legitimate decline from these levels, not a 1%-2% dip, given the prospects that numbers might have to come down because of the strong dollar. So even though you expect drug stocks to hold up under the disruptive force of two potential wars, respect the fact that if numbers are going down, and not up, not every futures-led decline is a terrific buying opportunity.
Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 5:50 a.m. EDT on Real Money on Aug. 8.