As the market heads into the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, Jim Cramer saw major obstacles for stocks to clear this week.
"I see contradictions everywhere, and I see historic moves that are based on false preconceptions, or an atmosphere that is too bullish for my tastes," the "Mad Money" host said.
Cramer identified six big worries on his mind this week. The biggest one is the Fed, as he wants to hear the Fed stop talking about gradual rate hikes. Instead, it needs focus on admitting that the economy is in recovering.
While three rate hikes are still essential for bank stocks to move higher, Cramer worried that a rate hike could unleash a backlash not seen in the stock market since 2006.
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"The backlash that says if rates go higher we are going to have a real earnings slowdown and stocks are way too higher for the market to handle that," Cramer said.
The negativity will manifest in the form of analysts downgrading housing stocks, which do not do better in a higher interest rate environment. When that happens, housing stocks could get hammered, Cramer said.
The second concern for Cramer is the consumer packaged goods stocks, which have soared in the wake of the failed bid by Kraft-Heinz for Unilever. Before that bid, this group was slowing down due to weak earnings and rising interest rates that make their dividends less attractive. If interest rates rise, this group could be vulnerable.
Third on his worry list were the longer-dated assets, such as biotech stocks that trade on the future, not current numbers. Investors look at biotech's long-term pipeline to determine their value. Thus, if inflation is about to come back, investors may pay less for that pipeline because the future earnings won't be worth as much.
"If the Fed signals that it is worried about inflation, then you will see a sell-off in the biotechs. I have been through a bunch of Fed tightening cycles in my career and this is what always happens to these kinds of stocks," Cramer said.
Cramer's fourth concern was Washington, as it is now clear that the repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act is high on the President's agenda. Unfortunately, that means tax relief isn't, and Cramer doesn't think there will be results for taxes or infrastructure any time soon.
The fifth concern is the border tax issue, which could have a considerable impact given the precarious state of the retail industry in the U.S.
"This kind of border tax will be a total anathema," Cramer said.
Cramer expects retailers to make the case that a border tax could force them to lay off thousands of people. The loss of retail jobs could overwhelm whatever jobs are created by manufacturing. Marginal retailers won't be able to keep the pace with Amazon or Wal-Mart if they have to pay more for their goods.
"They will most likely not make it. That is a real risk, not a canard," Cramer said.
Regardless if the tax is phased in or not, Cramer is already seeing signs in retail stock that signal tremendous losses and massive layoffs if Congress passes a border tax.
The final worry on Cramer's mind is the oil inventory number that is set to be release on the morning of the Fed meeting. It is likely to show no reduced production, and a buildup of the crude stockpile. That could drive oil to $47 or even $44, which Cramer expects will be poorly received for the market.
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