When interest rates plummet, that's a good thing. It is also good news when gasoline goes down, and the dollar becomes stronger. But in Jim Cramer's opinion, it was the way these things occurred that caused the market to tank on Tuesday.
"I think this sell-off is all about the way we got a strong dollar, the way oil has come down so much and the way interest rates have plummeted," the "Mad Money" host said.
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Cramer compared the stock market to that of rough seas, with vicious crosscurrents, riptides and undertows that cannot be controlled. Right now it feels to him as if there are riptides everywhere.
The first riptide that concerned him was the decline in interest rates. Typically, lower interest rates are good news, as it can prompt positive reaction for everything around it.
But when rates go down as fast as they did on Tuesday, it creates a riptide of worry that overwhelms the positives.
"Right now rates are sinking so fast that we have to believe there is a crisis somewhere, and that riptide is creating a huge flight to safety as investors hide in the U.S. Treasury bonds," Cramer said. (Tweet This)
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As a result, investors are fleeing out of equities and into bonds. And Cramer traced the culprit to the financial stocks. This group is being drowned by sellers.
While earnings reports from the big banks are a signal that business is good, the plummeting rates could signal something is wrong. Investors do not want to take any chances.
Another worry for Cramer is the return of sinking oil prices. The disastrous report from BP on Tuesday crushed the stock. Combined with the fact that the price of crude fell again, it cast a dark cloud over the entire group.
The next blow came when Royal Caribbean, the second-largest cruise line, announced shockingly poor guidance that illustrated just how badly the strong dollar has impacted companies that do international business.
When Cramer heard this bad news, he knew that the dollar wasn't going to lose strength any time soon. As a result, the Royal Caribbean riptide swept all of the travel and leisure stocks.
So, when Cramer sees the professional traders panic and interpret positive inputs as a negative riptide, he said it is too dangerous to swim in the sea of stocks right now.
"Watch from the shore until the riptides take all stocks lower and then go away. Usually, I would be willing to wade into waters when they are this murky, but I think that sometimes it is worth waiting on the beach because dipping your toe in is just too risky," Cramer said.
Ultimately, the political uncertainty, strong dollar fears and the fast flight into the safety of Treasury bonds has Cramer waiting for calmer seas before entering the stock market again.