Are you finding it next to impossible to anticipate this market? There's a reason. In fact, Jim Cramer says there are five of them.
"Effectively, there are warring factions in this market," Cramer said. That is, there are five large groups of investors, each motivated by a powerful and reasonable outlook.
The problem is that the five outlooks are extremely wide ranging and generate conflicting stock ideas. "They can't reach a consensus and the result is a disparate amalgam of stock prices that seem all over the map," Cramer said.
Following are Cramer's five factions and how they're affecting stocks
1. Economy bulls.
In this faction, Cramer says you'll largely find investors who think the economy is getting stronger. "This group got a real boost this morning when the advanced 4 percent last quarter; that's a remarkably strong figure." These investors are buyers of cyclical companies, that is, those that do better when the economy improves. But pros who fall into this camp are also sellers of defensive names, especially the food and beverage stocks, the drug makers and the consumer packaged goods companies.
Cramer said closely allied to this group are the bunch. Because the dollar is getting stronger, especially against the, companies that sell goods in Europe are facing lower profits when they repatriate those profits, simply because of exchange rates. "That, too, generates selling pressure on stocks such as Coca-Cola, Kimberly Clarke, Pfizer and Kellogg."
2. Economy bears
This camp believes the , or they will fall behind the curve and inflation will spiral out of control. This contingent is largely bearish; it's looking for any company or sector that's harmed by higher rates to stumble.
"This group has turned negative on cyclical sectors including industrials and home builders," Cramer said. Conversely, they're buyers of defensive stocks.
3. Earnings watchers
With the Street deluged by earnings right now, this faction is taking its cue from quarterly reports. And many of the reports have surprised to the upside. Therefore this group has been buying broadly, sometimes with gusto.
In fact, sometimes the sentiment is so bullish, "this group goes overboard," Cramer added. "For example, reported a good number and in turn, almost every single company involved in social media rallied, too."
This group is driving all kinds of stocks higher.
Cramer said this faction is very focused on overseas events, particularly developments in . "They fear big sanctions placed on Russia will slow economic growth for the big multi-nationals that are levered to Russia and Europe," Cramer said.
The strong dollar bunch is closely allied to this group, too. In this case, they're negative on physical commodities such as oil and copper and related stocks, because commodities nominated in dollars go lower when the dollar goes higher.
This group is driving a wide range of stocks lower.
5. Rumor mongers
This contingent is really a compilation of investors playing market chatter, as well as special situations, and M&A. "They sense more deal making ahead," Cramer said, and therefore buy the stocks of companies that otherwise might not warrant investment.
This faction puts an unexpected bid under the market, especially in sectors where a merger or acquisition appear most likely.
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Because each of these factions is rather powerful, their agendas are wreaking havoc on stocks. "If you add them all up you come up with a confused jumble," Cramer said.
Any faction can prevail on any given day, therefore shares can advance significantly or decline sharply in a single session only to reverse the never next day. "All told, the market is doing nothing," and it's difficult to anticipate whether the next meaningful move will be higher or lower.
Not until some of these factions lose conviction does Cramer expect any significant change. Until sentiment becomes more unified, Cramer expects markets to remain in limbo.
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