Skip to main content

This column was originally published on RealMoney on Sept. 27 at 2:17 p.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for readers.

The action looks so scattered, but there's something behind the action, beneath it, lurking that makes me nervous, and I am not talking about







Ghost Whisperers

. I am talking the most chilling tell of all:

The Food Stocks


They are all up.

At first I thought that perhaps the canned goods trade post-Hurricane Katrina, as

well-documented by James Altucher, might be behind the strength. But the move is too all-encompassing besides


Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends



General Mills'














, they all are ramping.






are both up, too.

That's not a good thing.

The food stocks are like parasites, they suck the blood out of all other sectors, including tech and industrials. They live off the rest of the market -- an awful combination of cannibals and vampires.

Image placeholder title

We have not seen this group act in tandem like this since the spring of 2000, when the


was also too aggressive. That's when you saw these giant moves in the cereal and beverage companies. Of course, it was easy to be fooled at the time because part of it was takeover: Bestfoods got a bid from



, making people feel that there might have been something else.

That's not the case this time. This time there's no possible misdirection play. We have been zero-sum in this group for a long time: Kellogg goes up so General Mills goes down; Pepsi goes up so Coke goes down. That's why it is such a sit-up-and-take-notice moment.

I bought some General Mills yesterday for my charitable trust,

ActionAlertsPLUS. The company reported a nice upside surprise, went up a buck and change and then started giving back what it had made.

Not today. It's on the way up.

I don't want to overthink this move. The best way to play it would be with



, which is still facing a big break in its tobacco litigation that will unlock the food group within.

The next-best way might be General Mills because the good quarter just got reported.

You have to like the comeback that Unilever's been making too with a 4% yield.

Mostly, though, you should take heed of the bigger sea change here. The steels, the chemicals, the aluminums can't get out of their way. The machinery call, as much as I didn't like it yesterday, has legs again. And to see the Hormel and the Heinz and the



move, you have to believe there's something big afoot. Something big and bad. In the economy.

P.S. from Editor-in-Chief, Dave Morrow:

It's always been my opinion that it pays to have more -- not fewer -- expert market views and analyses when you're making investing or trading decisions. That's why I recommend you take advantage of our

free trial offer



premium Web site, where you'll get in-depth commentary


money-making strategies from over 50 Wall Street pros, including Jim Cramer. Take my advice --

try it now.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long General Mills and Altria.

James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of He contributes daily market commentary for's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for and, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

ActionAlertsPLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by

clicking here. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click

here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click

here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click

here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click

here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." Cramer appreciates your feedback and invites you to send him an email by

clicking here