Down market openings often look like buying opportunities, but this week looks different, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Monday, moments before the Dow saw a triple-digit drop.
With headlines dominated by escalating violence in Ukraine and the economic slowdown in China, buying the dips has become an easy way to get burned, Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street."
Then how do investors go bargain shopping on down days? They need to look at catalysts rather than prices alone, Cramer said.
"Do I just want to go in and buy a generic stock because the futures are knocked down?" Cramer said. "You better have an edge right here. … If you can handle the two words—'escalating tensions'—and if you can handle slowing China, then be my guest."
Bloody conflicts left dozens dead in Ukraine this weekend, and fresh economic data on Monday showed China's manufacturing sector contracted for a fourth-straight month. Investors are "going to keep getting hit by" the two geopolitical issues, Cramer said.
"If you go and you're down there bidding for stock, do you think tomorrow that Ukraine is going to look better?" Cramer said. "There are insurgents in every city. This is a time-honored way to be able to turn over a government. So do I want to get in front of it?"
Cramer attributed the recent developments in Ukraine to Russian President Vladimir Putin "flexing his muscles."
—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen. Reuters contributed to this report.