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Cramer: Worrisome catalyst lurking inside market

Jim Cramer thinks there's a worrisome catalyst in the market, and it could knock stocks at any given moment.

"I believe that Russia is the dancing hidden bear," Cramer said.

Although Cramer recognizes that some investors believe the Fed is behind market weakness while others insist it's overseas financial woes—particularly in Portugal—Cramer doesn't think either catalyst presents serious headwinds.

"All that happened with the Fed is that they stayed the course. Predictable events like that don't cause a 2 percent decline. And if pros were really worried about overseas financial issues, bank stocks would have been dinged much more," Cramer said.

Instead, Cramer is convinced that events in Russia are starting to take a toll on the market. And he thinks the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was the point of inflection.

"In retrospect, I believe that July 17 event set into motion a lot of what caused last week's selloff and could cause more pain in the weeks ahead," Cramer said.


Bjarte Rettedal | Stone | Getty Images

The "Mad Money" host drew the conclusion after reflecting on comments made by Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden during the company's conference call. "He described the crash as an event that could be a bit of a game changer, from a trade and investment perspective."

Cramer subsequently found that other business leaders were using similar language as they described Russia's impact on global business.

All told, "I think we're seeing a change in sentiment," Cramer said. And the shift will likely trigger consequences.

Because tensions have not eased, business leaders have to presume that "It would mean nothing to Russian President Vladimir Putin to turn off the pipeline from the Russian controlled Gazprom. You have to assume if you're willing to down a civilian aircraft, killing all aboard, you are certainly willing to turn off the natural gas lifeline. Plus, it's been done before."

That, Cramer said, would be disastrous for business, not only because natural gas is used to generate heat, but it has also become a fuel of choice in Europe to power industry.

In turn, investors must factor in this possible turn of events, and, should they unfold, Cramer says the impact would ripple across stocks, sharply. "Do not minimize the impact of Putin turning off the Gazprom switch."

Also, Cramer said, in the wake of the crash, "More people say they are afraid to fly. Temporary though that may be, it will have a negative effect on stocks."

In addition, Cramer added that President Barack Obama now appears steadfast in his resolve to address the conflict in Russia. In fact, Cramer thinks Obama is keenly aware that during WWII, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement allowed Adolph Hitler to grow powerful. "Obama doesn't want to see the same thing happen here."

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All told, Cramer believes Russia is generating significant headwinds, that are only now getting factored into the market.

And although Cramer believes events will ultimately be resolved peacefully, he thinks rhetoric will grow worse before it gets better. "Yes, I think we can rally when Ukraine drops from the headlines, but it will remain a threat. And when it resurfaces, I fully expect it to knock stocks lower, again."

(Click for video of this Mad Money segment)

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