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The longer oil prices remain low, the more stress there will be in the markets, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Tuesday after another day where stocks moved almost in lock-step with the price of crude.
Why are the markets so focused on oil? Cramer said it's because of Chesapeake Energy (CHK - Get Report) and all of the other oil producers we don't yet know about. He explained that Chesapeake borrowed big and made big bets on oil when prices were much higher. Now the company's debt load is a huge problem for Chesapeake and the banks that loaned it money.
Cramer said the markets are not ready for these upcoming oil company defaults. But as bad as these defaults may be for the energy sector, it will be worse for the banks. Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) , a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, disclosed it has over $17 billion in energy-related loans on its books, and that is far too much exposure for a bank that is still recovering from its housing-related missteps.
Then there are the foreign banks, mainly those in Europe. Unlike the U.S. where more stringent lending and reserve requirements were put into place after 2008, no one really knows how many oil- and commodity-related loans the European banks have, or if they can handle them.
All of these unknowns are the reasons why investors are seeing the markets so linked to the price of oil, Cramer concluded. That linkage will continue as the pain from the oil patch ripples through the system.
Off the Charts
In his "Off the Charts" segment, Cramer checked in with colleague Bob Lang over the charts of "FANG," his acronym for Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) , Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL) , formerly Google. Both Facebook and Google are Action Alerts PLUS holdings.
Cramer noted that since introducing FANG in February 2013, the four high-growth stocks are up 250%, 81%, 246% and 83%, respectively. But recently FANG has also been in the grip of the bear, prompting a re-evaluation from Lang.
Using long-term monthly charts, Lang noted that Facebook has remained above its 20 and 30-day moving averages for almost nine years. The Chaikin money flow has also confirmed the uptrend. Google and Netflix displayed a similar pattern, with pullbacks to the 20-month average but all part of a healthy uptrend.
Taking a shorter-term view with a daily chart, Lang saw Facebook's floor of support at its 200-day moving average, and the possibility of returning to its old highs if the 50-day average can be breached.
As for Alphabet, Lang called out the recent morning star pattern, which could take those shares back to their 50-day moving average.
Lang saw the daily chart of Amazon being problematic, however, as that stock has dipped below the 200-day moving average on high volume, making Amazon a tough chart to gauge. He was more bullish on Netflix, however, as that stock has a floor of support around $80 a share.
Cramer agreed with Lang's analysis that the long-term bullish thesis of FANG continues, but shorter term there may be more pain ahead before things start to get better.