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Cramer: Influential data point that’s actually meaningless

Ignore Fed minutes: Cramer

Sometimes economic data provides a valuable read on the economy. Other times it masquerades as valuable, but it's actually meaningless.

And of all the various data points that qualify for the latter category, Jim Cramer says none is more anticipated nor meaningless as the Fed minutes.

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"On Wall Street these minutes are considered by many to be the holy grail of investment decision making," Cramer said on "Mad Money." "The Fed minutes are viewed as incredibly important, perhaps one of the single most actionable pieces of paper that hits an investor's desk."

Cramer says they're not.

"As far as I'm concerned, they mean nothing, nothing at all." .

That's because Fed minutes are released about a month after the Federal Reserve meets. When they hit the Street they're more like an old photograph; a snapshot of what was.

The minutes detail the way the central bank was thinking weeks ago, it doesn't reflect any recent developments. And in this economy, catalysts are developing all the time.

"For example, there could have been a spike in oil prices, a decline in employment, or an unexpected agreement from Congress," Cramer explained.

All those developments would influence the Fed's outlook yet none would be reflected in minutes that are 30 days old.

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Therefore, if you're looking to put money to work, Cramer says view the minutes for what they are - good information but historical information. Never identify new investments based on old Fed minutes.

"Investors should largely focus on one thing - the future, especially the future of stock prices. And as a read on what's ahead, "the information contained in the Fed minutes is essentially irrelevant," said Cramer.

The preceding insights are discussed in far greater detail in Jim Cramer's book Get Rich Carefully.

(Click for video of this Mad Money segment)

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

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