10 Big Positives in This Market
Hidden in the market’s sluggish action on Thursday, with the Dow off 19 points and the S&P 500 declining slightly, were “10 important positives … that no one expected,” Cramer said.
1. The euro is at $1.40 versus the US dollar, almost back to 2009 levels. That means we can stop worrying about two things: European debt; and the damage a strong dollar could do to the earnings of US companies doing business on the Continent.
2. Remember how bad back-to-school season was supposed to be, with headlines like this and this? Well, not only did those sales beat estimates that had been revised lower, they beat the original estimates, too.
3. Unemployment is “on a gentle slope downward,” Cramer said. True, the situation’s “nothing great,” but with initial jobless claims coming in under 450,000 this week, at least we’re headed in the right direction. Plus, Monster.com’s employment index showed 16-percent year-over-year growth in September and ISM service-sector growth was “much larger than we thought.”
4. The commercial-property market, both apartments and malls, is showing an “unexpected firmness,” Cramer said. That comes in sharp contrast to Armageddon-like predictions we had heard about this particular part of the real-estate sector.
5. Copper, oil and the Baltic freight index are at high enough levels to indicate strength where we thought there was none, i.e., the government-mandated slowdown in China and the American construction market. “We simply should not be getting these numbers,” Cramer said, “if things are as terrible as they’re supposed to be.”
6. Auto sales have delivered a similarly strong performance to that of retail sales. You might remember all the talk about how “Cash for Clunkers” was going to cannibalize future revenues for this industry, but we’ve since found out that sales were up 28.5 percent year-over-year in September to 8.82 million. “Sure, we’re down from 16 million,” Cramer said, “but that was never a sustainable level to begin with.”
7. Mortgage applications were up 9 percent this week, further contradicting uber-negative reports from the media like this one. Weren’t we supposed to be crushed by foreclosures and shadow inventory? Maybe those low rates are attracting buyers. No, not as much as the tax credit did, but certainly more than expected. Cramer thinks “less difficult underwriting standards from the major banks” are helping, too.
8. Obama looks to be repairing his relationship with the business world. And that will most likely remain a priority even if the Democrats maintain their majority after the midterm elections. The result could be, Cramer said, “huge unexpected political windfalls” like a temporary payroll tax cut.
9. Big-cap tech stocks like Cisco Systems , Intel , Oracle and IBM , which had been written off over the summer, are doing well. “The bar is so low for these companies,” Cramer said, “that they are bound to show unexpected strength.”
10. The chart of the S&P 500 has gone from a head-and-shoulders pattern signaling a possible decline over 20 percent, which is how it looked over the summer, to a reverse head and shoulders pointing to a bottom for the index.
“Few saw this coming,” Cramer said, “and it is very meaningful, especially in this chart-driven market.”
When this story published, Cramer's charitable trust owned Cisco Systems and Intel.
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