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"We're not in Kansas anymore, we're in Oz," Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Tuesday after another wild day on Wall Street. Cramer said the market's gyrations and confusion are becoming par for the course and investors need to get used to it.
There's a palpable sense of gloom in the markets, Cramer noted, with many hedge fund managers taking profits and locking in gains, while individual investors follow them out the door. But Cramer said while he doesn't share in the depth of the despair he remains cautious.
The markets continue to fret over the direction of interest rates, with the Federal Reserve set to make its next move on Sept. 21. The Fed's comments have been all over the place, Cramer noted, so much so that investors might need trading cards to keep all of the names and faces straight. Some Fed officials are pounding the table for immediate rate hikes, while others remain dovish and still others are ambiguous at best.
Then there's the price of oil, which is up big one day, down big the next. No one seems to know if inventories and subsequently demand is rising or falling.
Cramer believes that stocks are ridiculously cheap given our economy's low inflation and unemployment, coupled with the record earnings many companies have been able to produce. That's why he continues to raise cash for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, so he can pounce on these value names as the market takes them lower.
Off the Charts
In the "Off the Charts" segment, Cramer checked in with colleague Mark Sebastian to see where the markets might be headed next as indicated by the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) , better known by its ticker symbol, the VIX.
Looking at a chart of the past year, Sebastian noted that back in December when the Fed last raised interest rates, the VIX saw a big spike that continued throughout January and February. The VIX also tends to spike just ahead of the release of the non-farm payroll numbers.
But over the past six weeks, Sebastian saw a different pattern, one where the VIX is rising along with the S&P 500. That's a warning sign and a clear signal more choppiness is ahead.
Cramer concurred with Sebastian, saying the charts indicate the turbulence is far from over. Only when the VIX begins to fall, he said, will the fear actually be baked into stock prices. In the meantime, Cramer said it's not worth the risk to try and be a hero.
Executive Decision: John Stumpf
Stumpf apologized to Wells Fargo customers who found themselves with products they did not want. He said Wells is built on a culture of doing right by customers and he personally takes responsibility for any case where that did not happen.
Stumpf continued that at any given time Wells has 100,000 employees in its banking centers and over the past five years, his bank has fired about 1,000 employees a year for not abiding by their rules. He said a recent audit showed that out of 93 million new accounts, about two million accounts, most of which originated from third parties, could not be fully verified. Out of those, the company identified 155,000 accounts that were not verified and immediately returned $2.6 million in fees from those accounts.
Wells Fargo also took the step of removing product sales goals from their retail plan, a move which Stumpf said shouldn't have a material impact on earnings going forward, but will help to remove any confusion about what's expected from their retail staff.
Stumpf also commented on Senior Vice President Carrie Tolstedt's departure from the company, saying that Wells Fargo does have board procedures in place to reclaim any bonuses or compensation that was not warranted or deemed not appropriate.
Stumpf said Wells Fargo remains a growth company and will double down on investments in tools and training to help them achieve their goals of doing right by customers.
Fasten Your Seatbelts
If there's anything the stock market doesn't like, it's uncertainty, Cramer told viewers, and given the great political divide in our country, investors should be prepared for a rough couple of months.
No matter who wins the presidency, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. Donald Trump seems to be favoring a trade war with China, and that would be bad for everything from machinery to restaurants to airlines and more. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton would certainly continue her attacks on healthcare and pharma while at the same time possibly raise capital gains taxes.
Perhaps the only common ground among the candidates is defense, Cramer noted, but those stocks have already run up big ahead of the election.
That's why the only certain thing investors can expect is more uncertainty.
Executive Decision: Michael Mahoney
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Michael Mahoney, chairman and CEO of Boston Scientific (BSX) , the medical device maker with a stock that's up almost 30% for 2016.
Mahoney said Boston Scientific has over 25,000 employees around the globe focused on innovation and there is a lot more growth to come. He said his company's Synergy stents are taking share globally, while the new Lotus heart valve replacement is seeing excellent clinical outcomes.
Boston Scientific continues to innovate with its endoscopy products, making those procedures less invasive for patients. The company's pacemakers have twice the warranty length of competitors. Mahoney said his company is also making strides to combat chronic pain, which affects over 100 million people.
Finally, Mahoney said the clinical trials for his company's treatment to manage Parkinson's disease is also progressing well and he expects to file for approval in late-2017.
Cramer said when the markets are down on interest rate worries, this is the stock to buy.
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