Jim Cramer on the Stock Market: What Nike Is Telling Us

NEW YORK (Real Money) -- The contrast couldn't be crazier. First, you have a stock market that has its worst day in ages, driven down by worries about the consumer, with a dive in the consumer confidence figures, angst about a rapidly declining Europe and concerns that China's slowing more than the government can handle.

Then after the close Nike (NKE) reports and it is the best Nike report ever. It's the triple play: 15% revenue growth, 27% earnings per share gains and 170 basis points of margin expansion. Stunning, just stunning.

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There's terrific North American growth, amazing acceleration in Western Europe -- yes, acceleration -- and an astonishingly strong number in China. There were no sneaks on sale this quarter with those strong gross margins, and inventories were well under control.

This contrast between the macro and the micro shows how hard this market has become. Go back to 3:59 p.m. yesterday, with the S&P 500 off 1.62%. Isn't Nike the most natural short in the book?  How could you not go short it during the day, knowing the payoff that awaited you after the close?

Think about it. You knew that Nike got a boost from World Cup, but that's in the past. One time only. No extrapolation. You knew that Nike had stumbled in China as recently as last quarter, so how could Nike's business recover quickly, especially with what we know about how poorly China's now doing. Western Europe? There's $5 billion in sales at risk. Who is going to buy expensive sneakers when the economy's downshifting quickly and Russia-Ukraine tensions are rising?

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