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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today is the day the markets finally figured it out, Jim Cramer said on Mad Money Tuesday. Today the markets realized the possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine is indeed possible, and the west has no clue what to do about it.
Cramer explained that for weeks the markets have been acting as if they were were being controlled by interest rates and the Federal Reserve. But the Fed isn't as important as you'd think with Russian troops massing at the Ukraine border.
The oil stocks had been huge market leaders earlier this year, but lately investors have been selling the group. That's just wrong, Cramer said. If Russian oil goes offline, prices will skyrocket. Meanwhile the airline stocks have been rising, ignoring the fact that travelers are now increasingly scared to fly.
If Russia wasn't front and center, the markets would be higher, Cramer said simply. But since it is, investors need to accept the new reality.
Just because a stock appears to be bottoming doesn't mean it's necessarily a buy, Cramer told viewers, as he opined on four often-asked-about stocks, Coach (COH), Whole Foods Markets (WFM), Panera Bread (PNRA) and Target.
Cramer said that with a successful migration into men's apparel and big growth in China, it appears that Coach has indeed bottomed. And with a 3.77% dividend yield, the stock is worth speculating on.
That's not the case with Whole Foods, however. Cramer said while there was a sense of urgency on the company's conference call, other stocks, like Kroger (KR), offer better value. Cramer said he needs to see evidence of a turnaround at Whole Foods, otherwise he'd rather own Costco (COST).
Then there's Panera Bread, a stock that didn't tank when its CFO departed. That feels like a bottom, Cramer said, but again, he needs to see evidence of a turnaround before the stock is worth speculating on.
Finally, Cramer said that he's not a fan of retail, which means he cannot recommend Target. The future does look better with employment improving, he noted, but the stock is not worth owning now.
Cramer said it would be a mistake to short any of these names because they appear to be bottoming. But it's also a mistake to jump in and buy as it may be a while before we see any upward momentum.
Why Cramer Loves Buybacks
In a falling market, there's always one thing investors can count on, Cramer told viewers -- companies with big stock buyback programs. That's why he's a fan of contract manufacturer Flextronics (FLEX) and seed giant Monsanto (MON), two companies with mammoth buybacks.
Cramer explained that outsourcing your manufacturing is still a growing trend around the world and Flextronics is one of the leaders in the space. The company has a diverse customer base across multiple industries and is benefitting big from the LTE wireless buildout in China. But more important, Flextronics is a cash cow with a buyback authorization to purchase 20% of its market cap. With the stock trading at just nine times earnings with a 13% growth rate, Cramer said the stock could be 20% higher if that multiple expands to just 11 times earnings.
Then there's Monsanto, which may be declining along with falling commodity prices for corn and wheat, but the company also has a $10 billion buyback in place. Monsanto dominates the U.S. seed market and has long-term tailwinds that will propel it for years to come. The company is also a potential breakup story, which would translate into a 17% rise in the stock if it were to actually occur, said Cramer. With shares already down from $128 to $115, Cramer said Monsanto is increasingly attractive.
Chart Week: Coal and Bonds
For the next installment of "Chart Week," Cramer sat down with colleague Tim Collins to discuss the charts coal and long-term treasuries.
Using a weekly chart of the U.S. Coal Index, Collins noted that coal has been trading in a channel for about a year now, which has created a strong floor and a strong ceiling for the commodity. With coal currently at the floor, that made Collins bullish, a sentiment that was confirmed by the Money Flow Index, or MFI.
Of the coal stocks, Collins recommended SunCoke Energy (SXC), a coal producer with exposure to the steel business, which has been rallying of late. SunCoke's chart is forming a bullish cup-and-handle formation, with the MFI also indicating a momentum breakout to the upside. Collins felt SunCoke could see $30 a share be the end of the year.
Turning to bonds, Collins was less bullish. He noted that the 20-Year Treasury bond weekly chart is showing the short-term rally meeting up with long-term price resistance, a bearish divergence that will be hard to surmount. He also pointed out the Relative Strength Index, or RSI, also signals a bearish divergence, which makes him decidedly not a buyer of U.S. Treasuries.
Executive Decision: Steve Singh
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Steve Singh, chairman and CEO of Concur Technologies (CNQR), the cloud-based travel and expense company that just delivered an earnings beat of 9 cents a share on strong revenue.
Singh said that while it's true Concur is the leader in its space, that doesn't mean it's not trying to become a better company and create even more value for clients.
That's why Concur was happy to announce a partnership with Airbnb, which allows Concur clients to book their lodgings through Airbnb and still get their corporate rates and have those expenses flow right into their Concur expense reports. Singh said Concur saw a 25% increase in customers using AirBNB since the partnership was announced.
Cramer said that Concur remains committed to the "effortless trip" and investors willing to pay up for disruptive technology need look no further.
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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt