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The numbers just don't add up for Jim Cramer right now. Companies, sectors and data all seem inconsistent, and it has Wall Street pulling out its hair.
"News defies the truth. Facts are stranger than fiction. Conundrums do not make for fabulous investing opportunities. So, until we clear up the inconsistencies, be careful out there," the "Mad Money" host said.
Data tell Cramer that the economy will stay strong. Yet, manufacturing numbers on Thursday came in weak, with a PMI of 49.4.
"Heck, Britain gave you a 53 and they just went through that gut-wrenching Brexit election," Cramer said.
Additionally, a glut in oil continues to drive crude prices down, but then rumors surface of a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to throttle production, or that OPEC producers have finally agreed to cut back. Given the market's reliance on the direction of oil, Cramer no longer counts a rumor-driven market as an honest signal.
"Rumors always do the job of propping oil right back up. So, the real market should be lower, but the phony market keeps it higher," Cramer said.
The dissonance stemming from the Fed also causes confusion. Only a week ago, Janet Yellen put a rate hike on the table, something Cramer expects to occur in September with strong non-farm payroll numbers on Friday.
Then Vice Chair Stanley Fischer put the thesis of two rate hikes back on the agenda within hours of Yellen's speech. Is it one? Is it two? Who is making the investing decisions? Cramer couldn't find a reasonable explanation why Fischer chose to confuse investors.
Brazil, Russia, Europe, China and what Cramer described as the "bizarre, inconsistent state of individual American businesses" also threw confusion into the market.
Cloud and cybersecurity stocks have been the two sexiest groups within technology, yet Palo Alto Networks immediately lost 10 points when it reported on Wednesday, and buyers rushed back in on Thursday, with the stock closing up 5 percent. Cramer could only conclude that perhaps it should have never fallen in the first place.
Retail, consumer packaged goods and transports were also maddening areas of confusion for Cramer. Airline stocks remain cheap, yet the companies are brimming with cash, returning it to shareholders with dividends and buybacks.
"I can't blame a soul for being frustrated with this market. I can't fault anyone for wanting to sell now that we are in what's historically been the worst month of the year, facing a rate hike or even two, and uncertain earnings from companies that rarely miss," Cramer said.
Until the data points start to make sense again, Cramer will remain cautious.