Copper, gold, steel and zinc have spent the last few weeks hitting new highs, but Jim Cramer told his
"RealMoney" radio show listeners Monday that the rally was fueled by demand from BRIC -- Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Now that the commodities rally is losing steam, it's time to figure out why. "Last week, just like Icarus and his wings of wax, those sky-high prices have come crashing down," Cramer said. But it's not because demand from BRIC has tapered off, and it's not a random act of the market.
"Prices don't come down randomly," he said. It's because commodities buyers have had enough. They have resorted to tapping into their inventories, and the result is similar to a buyer's strike, he said. And these buyers will continue to hold off until prices come down to a reasonable level, he added.
He said that this correction is good, and that investors should hold off on buying on this dip for a bit because the slide is not done.
The exception is oil, Cramer said, calling it the one commodity that "marches to its own drummer."
He said that crude oil is the only commodity that has found its bottom, thanks in large part to the continued demand and constant threats to supply. It's too early to buy the others, he said, but now is the time to pick up some oil stocks.
"The oil stocks I will bless right here as a buy, particularly the oil drillers," he said.
If you can remember the anxiety of waiting for test or medical scores, then you understand the anxiety that has gripped Wall Street, said Cramer.
raised rates to 5%, this enormous stock slide began, and now investors are waiting for results from a few key numbers to see whether the Fed will have to raise rates again.
Cramer said that the central bank will be looking at the producer price index to see how much manufacturers are paying for materials, the consumer price index to see how much consumers are paying for goods and at housing market figures. Retail sales and earnings results will all pepper the market in the sessions ahead, he said.
If the numbers are too strong, he said that we will hear more about tightening and the market will go down again. But if the numbers are too soft, we could see a powerful rally that could take us to new highs now that we've had this shakeout, he said.
Cramer said that he has noticed a powerful post-Katrina trend in that there has been a lot of rebuilding in the Gulf Coast region over the last nine months.
He added that the area that has outpaced all the other building is not roads, schools, hospitals or other infrastructure, Cramer said.
The one human need that seemingly must be satisfied is gambling, he said. Last year's storms destroyed all of the Mississippi river boat casinos, and now these casinos may rebuild onshore, so long as some part of the building touches water.
The chairman of the Mississippi Gaming Commission says the state's Gulf Coast casino industry should reach pre-Hurricane Katrina levels in terms of jobs, gambling revenue and tax payments by late 2007, but that numbers will likely exceed pre-Katrina levels by the end of 2007.
With all the money being taken in, Cramer said that we must invest as if this trend will continue. The play here is
International Game Technology
, the company that manufactures and distributes equipment to the casinos.
A listener sent Cramer an email about the market selloff, wanting to know if his understanding of last week's slide and its continued losses makes sense. The email's author believes that this is a market correcting itself as investors who have made good money take their gains off the table because they can find no better time to lock in gains.
The listener also said that he believes that investors will get back into the market now that it has come down, and that the injection of capital should propel stocks higher.
Cramer said that he was humbled by this email, and added that a few things could be going on in this downslide.
There could be a genuine change going on, Cramer said. The market has been led by commodities, but maybe new leadership in sectors such as tech and health care are ready to take the helm.
Cramer said that these sectors have traditionally done well when the economy is OK, but not red hot.
He said, as the listener stated, that people could just be taking money off the table.
And Cramer suggested one more option: that rate increases are taking a toll on the market. As in 2000 and 2001, when Cramer said that the Federal Reserve didn't heed what was going on in the economy, the central bank "relentlessly took up interest rates" and cooled stocks.
If we're just dealing with a breather in commodities, Cramer said that he would put money to work there. If it's a change in leadership, he would start buying biotech and semiconductor stocks.
But if the Fed is tightening, we have to stay in cash, Cramer said.
Cramer said that his strategy is to hedge his bets. He believes that new leadership will come from financials, health care and tech, and that oil will bottom.
He said that commodities were really overheated and that they could come down even more. Moreover, Cramer doesn't believe that a slew of new investors will inject money into equities until we get some data that shows the Fed is done taking rates higher.
Cramer's first caller asked for his thoughts on
Cramer said that the stock will become more interesting below $30, but that eBay's core business is slowing. For this reason, he said that he will not sanction buying the stock until it falls some more.
He told another caller that now is the time to be cautious about retail stocks, including
reported a decent number, missed estimates by a penny, and the stock got hammered to its 52-week low, said Cramer.
Moreover, the Street is carefully watching
, which reports tomorrow, for further signs of weakness.
So if Saks doesn't deliver a "picture perfect" quarter, he said that the market will take it down. The stock used to be a dynamite play, but it has come and gone, he said.
"We in a sector analysis game," Cramer said. That means that Saks is under a lot of pressure because the retail sector is under a lot of pressure.
A caller wanted to know about
and when it makes sense to get out of a stock and then buy back in.
The time for Rackable has come and gone, said Cramer. Even though the stock is up 40% year-on-year, it is up only 11% year-to-date and has fallen from $56 to $39.
He said that investors want to get out of a stock when it is high, and then buy back in when the stock is weak. But Rackable has come in so much that he would not bother selling it anymore.
The company makes high-density computer servers for the Web -- a high-growth business that Cramer likes. And he said that he would add to his position if the stock goes below $38.
Cramer told another caller that we're in full sell mode on the
, so he must be cautious when it comes to
He said that these selloffs are brutal. "They shake people out. They hit the best companies and the worst companies ... but you must be there because you don't know when things will turn," said Cramer.
Conexant had a great quarter, but the stock is in an undesirable place. Cramer said to recognize that it will be a winner in 2006 and to stay the course.
He said that that
Advanced Micro Devices
is the only semiconductor stock that he would recommend, but that he would not buy it in the near term.
AMD is up 100% year-on-year and, in a market this tough, he doesn't want to buy stocks that are still up that much.
Cramer told another caller that he would not buy
at this level.
He added that he has recently seen stocks come down 30% to 40%, so he wouldn't make a move here. And he added that
is a better Japanese company.
A caller wanted to know more about
( BWNG), a stock that Cramer said is a very speculative situation that "has turned around."
But in the phone company sector, he would rather see investors in
Level 3 Communications
. Both of these stocks have pulled back a considerable amount, he said, whereas Broadwing is up more than 200% year on year.
Cramer added that he likes stocks such as
and that he believes now is an OK time to start "picking at" oil stocks.
However, Cramer said that commodities are still going down, along with big speculative stocks like Broadwing.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, 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
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