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Cramer: Big money playbook for a Fed rate hike — market leadership has changed

Cramer: Big money playbook for a Fed rate hike

When the Federal Reserve speaks, investors listen. Jim Cramer noticed a change in the leadership groups within the stock market and prepared investors for a big shift.

"If the Fed has decided that the economy is healthy enough to handle a rate hike or two, then the big money dusts off the playbook and goes to work buying the stocks that have historically worked at this point in the cycle — regardless of the near-term fundamentals," the "Mad Money " host said.

Banks benefit the most from a rate hike. When rates rise, banks take deposited cash and invest it risk-free at higher short-term rates. Thus, earnings per share for banks go up.

That explains why Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all jumped Monday. Cramer added that banks are lending more and credit conditions are loosening.

"Do not ignore this move in the financials …The combination of higher net interest margin — what they earn on your deposits — and lending itself spells a dramatically different earnings comparison versus last year, and that almost always leads to higher stock prices," Cramer said.

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When the Fed says the economy is strong enough to handle multiple rate hikes, it also makes investors more bullish on the global economy. That means industrials will rise, because investors have confidence that these companies can beat or meet estimates. They reach for PPG Industries, Eaton and Illinois Tool Works.

The rails and commodities also tend to shine with better economic sentiment. Railroads like CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are among the best performers, even though their earnings are still crushed by the downturn in coal. Money managers don't care, though, because rails have always been a part of their playbook, Cramer said.

"If you are concerned about the playbook blowing up in your face, you can just revert to the high-quality industrials like 3M that seem unable to miss the numbers no matter what the circumstances, " Cramer said.

Investors always tend to fall back on technology, especially traditional tech like Microsoft and Cisco Systems.

But the strongest group out there, Cramer said, is the semiconductors. Broadcom was the market leader, with NXP Semiconductors not far behind.

A large rotation also came in retail, with investors gravitating to the down-and-out retail stocks like Nordstrom, L Brands or Urban Outfitters. They are also selling out of the dollar stores.

"Where is all the money coming from to buy these stocks, given that there really isn't any money coming in to speak of? A lot of it is coming right out of health care," Cramer said.

The recent Mylan EpiPen controversy and the looming election told Cramer that health care stocks could also see more pain. These companies are too easy to beat up, he said.

"You could run into a buzz-saw like Gilead, " Cramer said.

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