On Tuesday the market learned that Turkey shot down a Russian plane. It also found out that consumer confidence is plummeting, Brussels remains on total lockdown with the imminent expectation of an attack and there is a holiday travel advisory with a warning of increased terrorism threats. Even the Fed is ready to hike rates for the first time in years.
With such a discouraging backdrop, Jim Cramer wondered how the heck the market rallied Tuesday.
"When you see days like this one, days where the odds are stacked against pretty much anything positive, and you nevertheless get a big turn … you have to recognize that sentiment is simply not working as a barometer of stocks," the "Mad Money" host said. (Tweet This)
Cramer interpreted the ability for the market to rally as it screaming that it wants to go higher — and it's willing to do so even with the bad news piling up.
So with this in mind, Cramer went down the list of things that are working right now, despite the difficult backdrop.
First was oil, which had another good day on the books. It managed to rally out of its $40 grave and ended 2.68 percent higher. Stocks like Schlumberger, Exxon and Chevron all led the way. Crude might not want to soar forever, but it seems like oil stocks want to.
"This oil and gas group, which has been written off for ages, just won't quit. That's an obvious sign that the big institutional money managers are afraid, afraid they don't own enough oil stocks. They fear a lack of exposure," Cramer said.
Restaurants and retail were also rallying ahead of Black Friday. With consumer confidence down, Cramer said he would have expected these groups to get hammered. Instead, Nordstrom, Dollar Tree and Tiffany managed to go higher as well.
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Then there was the food business, with the market loving Campbell Soup's talk of cost cutting. Hormel blew away numbers with an amazing performance, especially with Cramer-fave Applegate Farms.
One group that actually did make perfect sense to roar were the defense stocks. Countries are lined up to buy products from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. This seemed like a natural response to a Turkish F-16 shooting down a Russian bomber, in Cramer's opinion.
"This was clearly a day where we should have been crushed the way they were in Europe. Yet it did not happen. In traditional journalism it is not a story when something that was supposed to happen doesn't," Cramer said. (Tweet This)
But when it comes to the stock market, if investors don't see a decline when there should be — this is a good sign. Because if this is what happens when things are bad, just imagine how great the action will be if there is good news.