If there was a silver lining to today's market plunge, it's that the worse things get, the more likely it is the Federal Reserve will do the right thing. That was Jim Cramer's take to his Mad Money viewers Tuesday, as he laid out eight reasons why Fed chair Jay Powell can raise interest rates one more time -- then wait.
First, Cramer said that when stocks collapse and people lose money, they spend less. The wealth effect is real, he said, and it will be kicking in hard starting next month. Second, oil prices continue to fall, which is incredibly deflationary.
Third, the weakness in the retail stocks is terrifying, Cramer said, and it's clear consumer spending is slowing. Fourth, housing is awful, and seemingly only getting worse. Hotel revenues are also slowing, a sign the travel sector is starting to strain.
Sixth, tariffs will continue to slow the economy, with many of the biggest jolts still yet to come. Seventh, there is a slew of negative data from companies like American Electric Power (AEP) , which is seeing what was once broad growth shifting to fewer and fewer sectors. Finally, Cramer said, auto demand is also slowing, and now we're seeing even used car sales beginning to retreat.
Cramer, who called this his "One-and-Wait" plan, said all of these data points give Powell more than enough ammunition to take a pause, and still preserve the independence of the Federal Reserve. He just hopes that Powell is listening.
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Off the Charts: Oil and Energy
In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer explained that you can't fully understand the carnage in the stock market unless you understand what's been going on in the oil market. That's why he checked in with colleague Carley Garner to find out exactly what's going on with oil prices.
Put simply, Cramer said that many commodities traders were betting that oil prices would continue to rise, while natural gas prices would continue to fall. In reality, the exact opposite occurred, leading to big losses and margin calls that needed to be filled by the proceeds from selling stocks.
Garner agreed with Cramer's thesis, noting that a chart of the seasonal patterns in oil going back 30 years shows that oil peaks in October, but the lows don't arrive until late-January.
Garner then looked as a weekly chart of oil futures, saying that many large speculators still have huge net long positions to unwind. She felt that oil could pause at $51 a barrel, but if it falls below that level, the next floor is down at $42 a barrel.
Behind the Tech Declines
While tariffs and the Fed have taken their toll on the stock market, one sector was supposed to be immune to the carnage. But over the past few weeks, technology has plunged, and Cramer said he knows what's behind it.
Throughout the summer, tech seemed unstoppable. That was, until the "data center has peaked" theory emerged. Data centers are at the heart of everything these days, Cramer explained, and despite the fact there's no actual evidence there's a slowdown, this story refuses to die.
But while the data center story knocked the tech sector off balance, Cramer said what really dealt it a death blow was when buying the dips -- a tried-and-true investment strategy -- stopped working. It began with IBM (IBM) buying Red Hat (RHT) and continued when Apple (AAPL) stopped reporting iPhone unit sales and now it's spread to all of tech. Those momentary pauses that were once a chance to buy are now often your last opportunity to sell before the next leg lower.
Over on Real Money, Cramer has advice on when to start buying: when you know it's a good quarter, or there's a catalyst. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Who's Behind Your Virtual Assistant?
On big down days like today, Cramer said it's important to remember that eventually, we'll get through it. That's because every day, companies are inventing new things and innovating to create whole new classes of products, like our modern voice assistants. That's why he sat down with Dag Kittlaus, cofounder and CEO of Viv Labs and also the man largely credited with inventing Apple's Siri.
Kittlaus said that speaking is seven times faster than typing, and while voice assistants are about 90% accurate today, that number is only going to improve with time.
When asked about Siri's progress at Apple, Kittlaus said he thinks Apple may have dropped the ball by not opening Siri up to the full App Store ecosystem. When your assistant has access to all of the apps you love and use every day, that's when things get really interesting.
Kittlaus' current company, Viv Labs, created Bixby, a new virtual assistant that will be installed in all Samsung products by 2020.
In his "No-Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer reminded viewers that while dividends are a safe place to hide, only safe dividends are where you want to be. He said many people have asked him about CenturyLink (CTL) , the wireline telecom provider with an 11.5% yield. But, he simply cannot recommend it.
CenturyLink is a dinosaur, Cramer said, and the company's acquisition of Level 3 for $34 billion last year will only help for the short term. Since the merger, CenturyLink has slashed its capital expenditures, a worrisome sign for a company gearing up to compete with the likes of AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) .
In the end, Cramer said CenturyLink is a $20 billion company with $34 billion in debt. That makes him very worried about that 11.5% yield going forward given that CenturyLink's revenues continue to decline.
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