The market is a battle out there right now and while it might look fairly placid on the surface, Jim Cramer sees forces at work that are crushing the stocks of perfectly healthy companies.
There are three macro themes in particular that the "Mad Money" host thinks are causing stocks to react dramatically. They either fly high or crash, depending on how the company itself is doing.
The first issue is that there is a huge slowdown happening. On Wednesday morning, gross domestic product reportedly gained just a miniscule 0.2 percent, versus the 1 percent expected. That is the smallest growth that Cramer has seen in ages.
And yes, there was a West Coast slowdown and bad weather. But the U.S. is a huge country!
"I don't have a good excuse for this hideous number other than that there was less business being done than we thought," Cramer said.
The second force at work is that oil is done going down, which means gas goes back up. Back in January, Cramer said the floor had been reached at $43, and it did. Oil has now been headed higher, thanks to the dollar that has stopped gaining strength.
The third force behind the scenes is that the Fed said it will raise interest rates later this year, and it didn't nix that theory when it issued a statement on Wednesday.
"In fact, I thought it was dismissive of the economy's weakness, but every word that the Fed puts out these days is subject to so much parsing that I want to believe it tried to take itself out of the equation," the "Mad Money" host added.
Either way, rising interest rates will have a negative impact on many stocks. As a result, everything that Cramer thought was happening has now been flipped upside down. The market reacted quickly to these themes and now retailers and airlines, two plays directly linked to oil, were hit hard. Housing stocks were also dumped, as investors ran from anything related to higher interest rates.
And while there were major themes at work, Cramer thinks the market appeared placid on the surface because there was a ton of takeover talk on Wednesday.
First, large hotel chain Starwood said it would consider any and all options. That is not-so-secret code for saying that it is willing to sell itself, which sent both its stock and that of its competitors higher.
Then there was what Cramer thinks is a total rumor that Salesforce.com may have contacted bankers to sell itself.
"This one's difficult for me to swallow and not just because Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO, spent yesterday afternoon showing me a mock-up of the 60-story tower that he's building for his burgeoning tech team," Cramer said.
After interviewing the CEO on Tuesday, Cramer thinks Benioff plans on going it alone. Given the $47 billion market cap of Salesforce, Cramer suspects it would be a very expensive and unlikely acquisition if the rumor that Oracle were to acquire the company would come true.
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"But, as I've seen in my week out here in San Francisco, this is a city of dreams that do sometimes come true," Cramer added.
When you put all of these major themes together, it is clear that the market is trying to process a big change. That can't happen overnight, which is why traders are selling what is safe and loved and are buying the daring and hated stocks.
Sometimes the market is crazy, and you don't know who is going to win. Wednesday was a day for the underdogs, thanks to big players being knocked out of the game.