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Cramer: Once Loved, These Stocks May Burn You

(Click here for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Cramer is growing concerned that a paradigm shift may be underway in the stock market. If it is and you hold stocks, you'll need to act.

The issue at hand is a sudden spike in interest rates.

Since May 2, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has increased from 1.63% to 2.15%.

Although that would seem fairly harmless at face value, it's actually an extraordinary increase – more than 30% and the yield is at a 14-month high.

Cramer's concern involves the way in which higher rates ripple across stocks.

For the past several years, investors have been putting money to work in the stock market because the yield on bonds was so low. And largely they had been buying dividend yielders.

However, the higher rates suggest the money flow may reverse – that is, go out of stocks and into bonds.

Although the theory may sound speculative recent price action suggests the shift may already be underway.

Since the rate spike on May 2nd, the lagging sectors have been utilities, consumer staples and telecommunications. And all of those sectors are made up of tried and true dividend payers.

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Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Mad Money

Ironically, the improving economy could make the environment all the worse for dividend payers. That is, "if the market sees lower unemployment claims on Thursday and a jobs report next week, rates could spike again on the promise of recovery," Cramer said. In other words, even higher bond rates may be on the horizon.

If that's the case, the time to re-think long positions in dividend payers may be now, before selling accelerates.

"I think we may be at one of those moments," Cramer revealed. That is, it may be time to take profits in dividend yielders.

"If you are in stocks solely for yield and that yield is only three or four percent, that stock is no longer safe. It's a candidate for sale," Cramer said. I'd take some off the table. "

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But as you ring the register, also keep the cash handy.

"If you want or need to get back in, I think you'll be able to do that lower," Cramer said. But right now it's time to sell. At this junction, staying long presents too much risk."

And make no mistake, Cramer is only talking about stocks held for the yield. "If you're in a dividend yielding stocks for another reason and that catalyst remains unchanged, then hold on," he said. "That's a different story."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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