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Jim Cramer often says to buy on weakness. This, however, isn't one of those times.
Instead, Cramer is cautious of stocks, broadly.
Although Cramer doesn't enjoy focusing on money in the wake of tragedy, especially when lives have been lost, Cramer believes any and every catalyst that moves the market must be weighed by investors. Nothing less would be prudent.
And on Thursday, a powerful catalyst roiled markets. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard crashed and burned in an eastern Ukraine wheat field near the Russian border. Ukrainian officials called the crash an act of terrorism and said the plane might have been shot down by a Russian-made antiaircraft system.
Developments sent the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling by triple digits. And although Cramer has, in the past, advocated buying geopolitical induced selloffs, this time, Cramer would not buy the dip.
"First, the market was barely down on the news. Our averages have gone so high that even 161 points down on the Dow when it is at 17,000 is next to nothing," Cramer explained. "Second, I can not sanction any buying until we know more details about the crash."
"Also President Obama announced tougher sanctions last night against Russia for its meddling in Ukraine," Cramer added. That too, could generate a ripple in unforeseen directions.
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As if that weren't serious enough, market headwinds are blowing elsewhere in the world, too. In the Middle East, the Israeli military launched a ground offensive in Gaza. A statement from the Israeli military said the operation will include "infantry, armored corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support." That, too, could spook markets.
Given the potential for so many unexpected developments in two global hotspots, Cramer said that heading into the summer weekend, pros will most likely take profits. "They will be concerned that something could happen over the weekend and they'll lock in gains. That's the likely scenario."
And, making a selloff even more likely, Cramer added that events sent investors into bonds, which in turn sent interest rates lower. "Those lower rates are negative for banks. And banks had been a leadership group in the rally."
All told, Cramer can't sanction buying, not yet. "With markets near their all-time highs, I believe that as pros assess these developments over several days, the inclination will be to take profits, not to buy. At this point you have to monitor developments very closely and see what develops."
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