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Given that the is now at hand, Jim Cramer thinks this is a good time to look at what could drive the bull and what could send it scampering to the sidelines.
"I'm glad we're now past the point where Alibaba-induced selling can hurt us. So now the question is, as the negativity has built up over the last few weeks, what needs to go right to get us beyond these levels?"
Following are some catalysts the "Mad Money" host will be watching for:
1. Federal Reserve statement
Cramer thinks a large chunk of any future advance lies with what the does and does not say on Wednesday.
Cramer is hoping in its statement the Fed effectively says, "Yes, we're winding down our bond buying program, but we recognize that recent employment figures have not been strong and the rest of the world is weaker, so we must stay vigilant to keep the economy on a growth track."
And he believes the way in which the Fed will send that message is by not omitting the phrase, "" when describing its low rate policy. Largely, the Street believes if the phrase is omitted from the statement, the Fed is putting a timetable on forthcoming rate hikes.
In other words, for the rally to endure, "The Fed will need to move away from the notion it has to put a timeframe on when it might have to raise rates," Cramer said.
2. Alibaba IPO
"Second, we need this Alibaba deal to come and go without any ridiculousness that would signal a market top," Cramer said. Largely Cramer will be looking for Alibaba to open near the level at which it's priced, which is currently expected to be about $70.
"The top-callers will be out in force if this stock opens north of $90," Cramer said, drawing comparisons to the irrational exuberance of the Internet bubble that ultimately triggered sharp market declines in 2000. Should that happen, Cramer can see panicked sellers dumping out of positions, which, in turn, could trigger a spiral lower.
"However, a smooth opening with a nicely done pop of sorts would be terrific," Cramer said.
3. Stable euro/ weaker dollar
Cramer also said the bull needs a stable , not one that grows weaker by the day, which in turn generates concerns about the economic health of the continent. "It would be so welcome to see some signs of life out of Europe," Cramer said, and that's the message a stable euro would communicate.
And on a similar note, Cramer added, the strong dollar is also a cause for concern. It drives commodities lower, which is a problem for many stocks, and it suggests instability in other parts of the world remains very much a threat. A modest decline in the dollar as valued against other major currencies would be viewed positively by the market.
4. Momentum in retail
Cramer said that strength in would also be a welcome sign, because it would suggest that the consumer is being reinvigorated by lower fuel prices. With so much of our nation's economy driven by consumer spending, Cramer said, strength in this sector could drive further gains.
5. New money coming into market
"Once the Alibaba deal is done, there will be a flurry of other huge IPOs that will sop up more cash, $10 billion- to $20 billion-dollar deals like Box, and Drop Box and Airbnb and Uber," Cramer said.
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If new money doesn't flow into stocks, then Cramer thinks the market will be extremely vulnerable to a similar phenomenon generated by Alibaba in which money managers sold winners in an attempt to raise cash and buy shares of these newly public companies.
"Without more money coming into the market, we're going to keep seeing this choppy, whippy action, and with the market at or near all-time highs, that's so disconcerting."
All told, Cramer suggests watching developments very closely. Many of them "have to go right to get the market beyond these levels and put the Street into a frame of mind that says declines are only due to a rotation; this is not a top in the market."
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