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Cramer: US economy is like Washington — stuck in gridlock

When Jim Cramer looked at the charts over the weekend, it was almost impossible to tell if the economy is accelerating or slowing down.

Rallies in the stock market right now stem from two very different groups of stocks. One group tends to rally when the economy slows. The other performs well when the economy expands.

"Yet right now both groups are going higher. As someone who has studied the market for 36 years, I am telling you — it's a real conundrum," the "Mad Money" host said.





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"would argue that the two camps are both putting their money where their mouths are." -Jim Cramer

Erratic retail numbers and an anemic gross domestic product growth number could indicate to some investors that the global economy is slowing. That also means interest rates won't go higher.

Those investors tend to gravitate to utilities, real estate investment trusts and consumer packaged goods stocks, which have larger yields and tend to thrive in a slowing economy with low interest rates.

When Cramer compared the stocks soaring right now — Kimberly-Clark, Simon Property Group and Dominion — to other stocks flying, it signaled a different message to him.

The steel, technology and housing related names all also made sense. So, could the economy be accelerating?

Steel names like AK Steel, Nucor and US Steel are shining right now because the U.S. government has managed to control dumping of steel from China and Korea.

Technology told a different story. The many takeovers occurring in this space are a sign that management is bullish about the future.

"You simply could not have the boom we are seeing in all sorts of tech stocks, particularly the semiconductors and the semi equipment makers, but also many of the tech services companies, if there weren't some sort of economic acceleration," Cramer said.

Cramer saw the same signs in the boom of housewares. Fortune Brands Home and Security, Masco, Stanley Black & Decker and Home Depot have all hit new highs or near new highs recently. The fact that industrials like Caterpillar and Cummins are also doing well suggested that the economy is doing better than most realize.

"I would argue that the two camps are both putting their money where their mouths are," Cramer said.

So, who is right? Perhaps the economy is getting stronger without causing the Fed to raise rates.

"Maybe the better answer is that this market is like Washington: there is gridlock right now as we wait for things to resolve themselves one way or another," Cramer said.


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