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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are two types of trading halts, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. The first kind is caused by computer malfunctions. The other kind is caused by mass panic. Fortunately, today we only saw the former.
Cramer said the real marvel from today is not that the New York Stock Exchange went down for several hours, it's that it went down and nothing happened. Thanks to healthy competition, trades simply routed to other exchanges and markets remained orderly.
On the other side of the globe, however, there was the other kind of trading halt, one where the Chinese government was forced to shut down the Shanghai exchange to stem heavy losses. The collapse of the Chinese market hasn't made the mainstream news, but that doesn't make it insignificant, Cramer cautioned, as the Chinese markets are following the Nasdaq crash of 1999 to a tee, rising from 2,500 to a high of 5,174 in just months, only to plummet down 32% in a matter of weeks.
But Cramer said while he doesn't trust the Chinese markets at the moment, here in the U.S. it's a different story. Here our stocks are strong and getting stronger while their prices are low and going lower. That means investors need to use any weakness to pull the trigger and start buying.
China Is Our Problem
Make no mistake, China is now an issue for U.S. stocks, Cramer told viewers. The Chinese stock market crash over the past month has done real damage to their economy, and that has far-reaching impacts.
Case in point: Commodities like iron ore and copper have been declining, and that's bad news for the likes of Caterpillar(CAT) - Get Report and Joy Global (JOY) . It's also bad news for the automakers, especially General Motors(GM) - Get Report, a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS.
Apple saw sales in China up 70% year over year. While Apple shares still trade for just 13 times earnings, Cramer said investors need to understand why this stock is now coming under fire. China is a big issue, he concluded, and that means more days like today are ahead for all of the stocks he mentioned.
Was there a silver lining hidden amongst the trading halts and market declines of today? Cramer said there was, and it's that the Federal Reserve is far less likely to raise interest rates in an environment where Europe and China and in decline, taking many of our commodities, and some of our stocks, along with them.
With the Fed out of the picture, Cramer said investors will once again look for yield and the safety of domestic companies, and that's great news for the retail and restaurant stocks, along with the REITs and dividend names.
Investing is all about looking for opportunities to buy high quality companies at a great price, Cramer reminded viewers. What could be better than Walt Disney(DIS) - Get Report down 1.6% or picking up some Kroger(KR) - Get Report as it heads lower?
Don’t Ride the Railroads
It's time to start looking at the railroads as an industry in decline, Cramer told viewers. Most of the cargo the railroads carry is also in decline.
Some investors may look at stocks like Union Pacific(UNP) - Get Report down 20% for the year, CSX(CSX) - Get Report down 12% and Kansas City Southern(KSU) - Get Report down 24% and see value, but Cramer is not among them.
Cramer said railroads are only as strong as the cargo they carry, and that means coal, oil, chemicals and agriculture, all of which are sliding lower.
For years, coal has been in a slow 2% decline, but this year, shipments of coal have plummeted down 8.8%, as 84 of our nation's 681 remaining coal-fired power plants are set to close. The fact is, coal shipments are not coming back.
Then there's oil. With more and more pipelines being built, it's just not economical to ship oil via rail, especially with oil under $50 a barrel. Other cargo, like chemicals, agriculture are also bad.
Only intermodal shipments have any chance of a rebound, Cramer concluded, and that's simply not enough to make these stocks investable.
Executive Decision: Klaus Kleinfeld
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer kicked off earnings season by welcoming Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa(AA) - Get Report, which today reported a 3-cents-a-share earnings miss but on respectable revenue growth.
Kleinfeld painted a bullish picture for Alcoa, noting his company's outperformance in their value added products and solutions business and also a resilience in their commodity operations as well, with both productivity and cash flows moving in the right direction.
Kleinfeld remained excited about Alcoa's aerospace and auto businesses, and noted that U.S. construction is improving as are items like gas turbines.
Kleinfeld said China is less of a driver than it was in years past as Alcoa repositions itself away from the noise of the commodity market and more into value-added and specialized products.
Cramer said aluminum remains an uncertain market, but Alcoa is navigating it much better than it ever has before.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL and GM.