Sure, President Obama, with his characteristic eloquence, killed the market on Wednesday with yet another press conference about health-care reform, Cramer said, but stocks were “roaring” before that. Which is somewhat surprising given that we’re staring down everything from budget deficits and state defaults to millions of unemployed Americans and the threat of higher taxes.
So how then are the US markets holding up so well?
Because other countries “are even more pathetic parodies of finance than we are,” Cramer said. “We are the lesser of 10 evils.”
Consider the competition: Investors are just waiting for China’s asset bubbles to burst, with Jim Chanos, a legendary short seller, calling the country – and Cramer was paraphrasing here – one of the greatest shorts on earth. Japan is “a no-growth economy that will stay no growth,” the Mad Money host said. India is fraught with inflation. Brazil seems overvalued, and who knows what would happen if it adopted the socialist policies of neighbor Venezuela. And Cramer doesn’t see much opportunity in Mexico or the Middle East either.
As for Europe, that “used to be the logical place to hide,” Cramer said, but not these days. Not with the PIIGS and the STUPIDs. Cramer quoted a research note that likened the currencies of Indonesia in 2006, Argentina in 2000, Mexico in 1994 and Russia in 1999, all of which brought the market down at the time, to the euro today, as Greece, et al., buckle under their debt loads.
What we’re left with then is the US. As troubled as we may think we are, Cramer said, foreign investors seem to love the gridlock in Washington. They love that Obama is intent on ramming through health-care reform, even at the expense of his own party. They love the Republican comeback that it all but guarantees come November. All of this lays the groundwork for uninterrupted business, and that is great for stocks. Hence the influx of cash from overseas.
Maybe this raises concern over a rising dollar? Cramer said he doesn’t care. Better that than a declining currency like they have in Asia and Latin America. Besides, the 1990s bull market moved in lockstep with the dollar the whole way up. And while there’s no doubt Canada will siphon off some of the money flowing West, that country can’t take it all, especially considering the number of quality American firms in operation.
Cramer does always recommend owning some foreign stocks as part of a balanced portfolio, but right now there are fewer and fewer countries worth buying. So stick with the US for the foreseeable future. And think about what would happen to our equities if the employment situation in this country improved. Stocks would shoot “to the moon,” Cramer said.
The US is the last man standing. And while that’s a “crummy Bruce Willis movie,” Cramer said, it’s a “great thesis for a next leg of the bull market.”
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