Seemingly mild comment stokes Cramer’s worst fears

Chances are you heard this commentary and thought nothing of it. Yet, Jim Cramer said, "this news is the kind that I fear most."

At an industry conference on Wednesday, Delta Air Lines announced very strong domestic numbers. However, it also reduced the high end of its forecast for passenger unit revenue by a percentage point saying it now expects an increase of 2 percent to 3 percent, because of the impact of events in Russia, the Middle East and Africa.

Shares tumbled more than 5 percent on the news, with the stock closing at $38.82.

Worried traders stock exchange floor
Rob Van Petten | Getty Images

On the surface, the selloff may seem overdone. The commentary seems relatively mild; shaving one percentage point off a forecast may not seem that worrisome.

However, Cramer says that's not the case.

"Here's what's crucial," Cramer said. "Delta is not known as a company that does a ton of business in the Middle East, Africa or large swaths of Europe. In fact, many pros view Delta as a domestic carrier with some business overseas."

Yet shares sold off sharply on the commentary.

Cramer believes the negative price action reflects the Street's active concern about overseas catalysts and how they will impact stocks. He worries even the potential of a small hit could be met with excessive skepticism.

And if investors are willing to punish Delta, Cramer can't imagine what they'll do the stocks of companies that are far more multi-national, especially those that derive a sizable portion of their revenue from Europe.

"Now it is true that we are hearing rumblings of cease-fire talk and that will be terrific news for companies that do business in Europe," Cramer added. But that's a best case scenario. And it only addresses issues in Russia; challenges presented elsewhere, including the Middle East and Africa will remain in the market.

Therefore, Cramer believes other companies that find themselves in similar situations as Delta could also be facing declines, perhaps serious declines.

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"Judging by the rocking of Delta, a very good stock on relatively mild commentary, I think the move may be a prelude to weakness in other, not-as-strong companies with more international business than Delta," Cramer said.

Whether it's an overreaction or not doesn't matter. It suggests the path of least resistance may be lower. "This is what I feared most about the market," Cramer said.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

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