Jim Cramer has watched as investors continue to wait for the big event or news that will send the market down gigantically, to slay the bulls and finally bring in the bear. They have hung on to every word from the Fed, waiting for the rate hike hammer to drop.
But what if it already happened?
After the market had the worst August in five years, Cramer can only use that data to come to the conclusion that the bear market has already arrived.
Cramer recently took a look at the 's Daily Action Charts, and was horrified at the level of destruction that has already taken place. The chart book includes the largest stocks in the S&P 500, largest companies in the midcap index and a few others not yet in the index.
He began to count how many stocks had fallen hard this year, and discovered that it filled up multiple pages. In total, there were 240 stocks in bear market territory as of Friday, and the number was a lot larger if taken from Tuesday's bottom.
The stocks that were down 20 percent or more were the big rails, big truckers, and high quality industrials, utilities and media stocks. This included Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart, and these are big companies with solid dividends.
The 30 percent or more group were stocks like Abercrombie, Centurylink, Blackberry, United Rentals and Whole Foods. Again, these are all big companies and almost all profitable. They make money, but are still being thrown away.
The group that was down 40 percent or more were just as well known, and included Alcoa, Encana, Fossil and Cliffs Natural. And the worst of all were down 50 percent, and were household names as well. Those included Apollo Education, Chesapeake, Freeport and Green Mountain.
The scariest part about this list was that the stocks experiencing these declines were not dotcom startups or small-cap companies. They are real companies, and some of them quite profitable.
So while Cramer understands that it will be a monumental occasion when the Fed raises rates, earnings will be hurt by a strong dollar and investors should pay less for stocks—there is another side to this coin.
"For many stocks, we are already discounting a pretty severe recession. And if you include last Tuesday's lows, I could argue that most sectors have entered vicious bear markets," Cramer said.
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Cramer is not saying that it is time to bring on the rate hike. But he does think that the Fed is being pragmatic and setting the state for what has to be done, unless China collapses that week and there is a flash crash before the meeting.
Ultimately, when Cramer looked at stocks in the market he realized that the rate hike is being built in every day that it is down. There will certainly be repercussions when the Fed tightens, but many have already been discounted by many of the stocks that continue to be obliterated in this bear market.