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Cramer Remix: Mixed messages from the Fed are hurting the market

As the averages tumble into the red, Jim Cramer says: Get used to it; this is the way that September always plays out.

Statistically, September is the worst month of the year, and always seems to Cramer that it plays the role of a wake-up call. Investors return from the summer and realize that there is more risk than they thought, particularly in an election year.

Cramer sees the market in a strange place, where whoever spoke last, or whatever the price of oil does, is magnified by the gloominess of September.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials seem to have a disparate opinion from the unelected voices that have tremendous power over stock prices.

"But without them, there is nothing to trade off of, no earnings, no pronouncements," Cramer said.

Ultimately, Cramer recommends erring on the side of caution. He is not willing to risk making a big bet on stocks, and prefers to have a higher cash position rather than take his next cue from which of the Fed players last spoke or the price of oil.

"We should take our cue from the value stocks are offering, and as they come down they do, alas, get cheaper, not more expensive."


John Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
John Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf says he feels accountable for the alleged abusive sales practices that cost the company $185 million in fines.

The company announced on Thursday that it had reached a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and two other agencies to pay $185 million in fines stemming from allegations abusive sales practices from employees attempting to meet sales goals.

"To the extent that we don't get it right 100 percent of the time — because that is our goal — if we don't make that plan, I am responsible. I am accountable," Stumpf said in an interview with Jim Cramer on Tuesday. "Anybody else in the company, we all feel when we fall short of that plan, we feel accountable and responsible. And we are taking action."

Cramer also reminded investors on Tuesday that all of the market volatility isn't only because of the Federal Reserve, it could be stemming from uncertainty surrounding Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

"When you see the volatility, keep in mind that not all of it is based on the Fed. A lot of it's the election, the lack of common ground, and the fact that the polling has gotten tighter, all of which could make for a treacherous couple of months until we get to Nov. 8," he said.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
John Sommers II | Reuters; Getty Images
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

With the market volatility on his mind, Cramer decided to take a look at the charts to find out what could be in store for the CBOE volatility index, known as the VIX. The VIX measures perceived levels of volatility in the S&P 500 in the near future. Wall Street often refers to it as the fear gauge because it is considered a reliable proxy for the amount of fear in the markets.

To do this, Cramer turned to Mark Sebastian, a technician and founder of OptionPit.com and a colleague of Cramer's at RealMoney.com. Sebastian pointed out that the last time the Fed tightened in December, there was a big spike in VIX, and it continued into February as the market sold off.

However, Sebastian's main concern is that the Fed keeps sending mixed signals, which is causing a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the market, and that is why the VIX has been spiking recently.

The charts ultimately indicated to Sebastian that the market turbulence is far from over.

"Keep an eye on the VIX, if it starts to go down along with the S&P 500, that could signal that the fear of the Fed is finally baked in and it's time to start buying. For now, though, as I have been stressing for weeks, it's not worth the risk to be a hero," Cramer said.


On a hideous day in the market, Cramer likes to focus on what stocks are worth buying on the way down. One group that has been flying high are the medical device stocks, which have roared higher because they are one sub-section of the health care group that investors feel safe investing in.

Boston Scientific is the maker of pacemakers, defibrillators, drug-eluting stents and various other products relating to cardiovascular, endoscopy and urology illnesses. The stock has rallied nearly 30 percent this year.

"Here is a company that seems to be firing on all cylinders," Cramer said.

In its last quarter reported in July, Boston Scientific reported strong earnings. Cramer noted that this was exactly the kind of secular growth story that would work regardless of what the Fed did. He spoke with the company's Chairman and CEO Michael Mahoney, who commented on the strength of the business.

"The second quarter we grew 10 percent, we had five of our seven businesses growing double-digits. This year we guided to 200 basis points of margin improvement and strong double-digit EPS growth. So, really high performance, but more to come," Mahoney said.


In the Lightning Round, Cramer gave his take on a few caller favorite stocks:

Penske Automotive Group: "I'm worried about Penske. Why? Because that stock has the most British exposure ... and it's had a very big run. I say ka-ching, ka-ching."

Silver Run Acquisitions: "No, that's a spec, I don't like specs. We don't really know what they're up to."