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Jim Cramer: Is the Air Going Out of the Market?



"I can't tell you how many times people hit me up today to ask if the rally is dead," said Jim Cramer at the start of Wednesday's broadcast.

Investors demanded insights from the Mad Money host as stocks fell the most in three months and the Vix spiked on Wednesday. Largely the negative price action was triggered by newly released minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's which suggested the central bank may slow or stop buying bonds sooner than expected.

The Fed has used quantitative easing, or QE, since 2008 as its main tool for stimulating the economy. The policy, which involves expanding the Fed's balance sheet to buy bonds, has been credited with pushing money into stocks. If it were to end sooner than expected, it could introduce a wild card into the market.

And a wild card is the last thing investors wanted to hear about. At the same time other catalysts emerged that suggested the market may be facing new headwinds.

For example, prominent stocks in a range of sectors booked sharp losses after homebuilder Toll Brothers issued worse than expected earnings, CF Industries disappointed the Street with its outlook and Devon Energy Corp reported a loss due to weak gas prices.

The action elsewhere in commodities was equally concerning.

Spot gold dropped to the lowest level since July, benchmark industrial metal copper fell to a one-month low, and U.S. crude oil futures shed more than $2 a barrel.

"Also we have the sequester sneaking up on us," reminded Jim Cramer.


Erin Patrice O'Brien | Stone | Getty Images

All told, the Street interpreted these developments as a big warning sign that the landscape may be shifting and for the worse.

Although nervousness may have returned to the market, events have not shaken Jim Cramer.

"Did anyone think that we could maintain this amazing streak? Did we truly expect this market to rally indefinitely. The market's had a terrific run," he said. "Can we go down again, tomorrow? Maybe."

But what Cramer said matters most is not to view Wednesday's session as a watershed session. "It wasn't," he said.

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The Mad Money host believes all the catalysts that drove the market higher remain intact; things such as an improving global economy, a renaissance in the US housing sector and a recovery that's left companies more efficient and nimble than at any other time in recent memory.

"I certainly don't like Washington back on the front page. Those guys are a short-sellers delight. They always come along at just the right moment to put the kybosh on any rally," said Cramer.

"However, I still think this market is a contender, and it isn't going to be knocked flat on the canvas for long. Let's just give it a rest. Regroup, and I bet it comes back pretty darned soon."

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