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Jim Cramer spent a lot of time going over charts this weekend, and he was left depressed.
"That's what happens after a prolonged correction like the one we have been having, that's what the bear has done to so many stocks," the "Mad Money " host said.
In this roller-coaster market, is there any hope for investors who want to dip their toe into investing right now?
While the market is certainly not cheap with the average stock in the S&P selling at 16.8 times earnings and more than 50 percent of stocks down 20 percent from their highs — it's not totally hopeless.
Cramer said that the only methodical way to make an informed and calculated risk with stocks right now is with dividends, also known as yield protection. Often, investors will stocks with higher yields to be a good bet in times of downturn because regardless of how the stock performs, the yield will provide a recurring rate of investment return.
"A solid yield would help you preserve capital on the downside while allowing you to catch any rally that might finally come your way," Cramer said. (Tweet This)
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Cramer warned that when looking for stocks with higher yield, some can be dangerous. For instance, there are plenty of stocks that yield more than 5 percent in the oil patch. But with oil prices dropping as fast as they are, they should be avoided.
Then there are stocks like Caterpillar, which yields 5 percent. But with its business so ingrained with China, what happens if China doesn't turn around?
"I want a dividend stock where I can confidently buy more into weakness," Cramer said.
Cramer recommended Verizon not only because it has a 5 percent yield, because it has better growth than AT&T, and has a lot of promise with FiOS and upside from its recent AOL acquisition.
Another 5 percent yielder is General Motors, which raised its guidance considerably, boosted its quarterly dividend and added a $9 billion buyback plan in the last quarter.
Cramer knows that the juicy yields of these stocks won't stop the market from going down, but they do offer enough protection to preserve capital while waiting for the sell-off to end.
"That may be your best hope in this treacherous, income-starved landscape that increasingly feels like an endless daytime horror show," Cramer said.