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Cramer: Should you worry about Portugal?

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

Fears over the stability of Portugal's banking industry surfaced on Thursday with bears giving bulls a proverbial Bronx cheer.

For months, rally skeptics have insisted that it was only a matter of time before overseas financial woes would take down the lofty S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average.

And on Thursday, bears were convinced they had found their catalyst in Portugal based Banco Espirito Santo, which tumbled sharply due to concerns about the bank's ability to service all of its debt.

Effectively, development reminded the Street that despite recent optimism, grave concerns about Europe's financial health continue to linger.

"Sure enough stocks were crushed at the open," said Jim Cramer, with jittery investors spooked by what they viewed as an unexpected turn of events.

A man walks past the Espirito Santo Bank headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal.
Patricia De Memo Moreira | AFP | Getty Images
A man walks past the Espirito Santo Bank headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal.

The "Mad Money" host, however, finds the reaction a bit much. He says developments should hardly have been unexpected. "Banco Espirito Santo bonds have been plummeting for weeks," and shares have been under pressure since late May after an audit found that Espírito Santo International was in "serious financial condition."

Instead, of selling, Cramer believes a savvy investor should have stepped back and tried to determine how any ripple would have played out. Looking at US financials, Cramer says there wasn't much cause for concern at all.

When I look at events, "I simply remind myself what Tim Geithner told me during an interview, and what he said in the book "Stress Test." That is, today our banks hold enough capital to withstand not just a Great Recession but a Great Depression. Geithner made it certain that we don't wake up to our version of a Banco Espirito Santo."

In other words, Cramer believes that U.S. banks are so well capitalized, that whatever shock Portugal developments may have generated, it was reasonable to conclude that it shouldn't have any long-term impact, domestically.

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Therefore, Cramer views the decline triggered by Portugal as an opportunity to establish new positions in favorite stocks at somewhat of a discount.

"Rather than blame Europe as a reason to dump American stocks, I think it's a catalyst to purchase shares in U.S. businesses," Cramer said, particularly those that are well run, facing significant opportunities, and have healthy balance sheets. "The U.S. is no longer hostage to Europe."

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