As the market receives seemingly conflicting news about the state of the economy, Jim Cramer sifted through the uncertainty to find the market-movers that really matter.
On Wednesday, the market soared on a strong jobs report from ADP, but the Federal Reserve's minutes coaxed the bears out of the woodwork and sent interest rates plunging. To make matters worse, House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated that passing tax reform may take even longer than health care.
"His statement really crushed things. We know that his statement is the kiss of death for the industrial and financial bull," the "Mad Money" host said.
And with the Labor Department's nonfarm jobs report coming on Friday, Cramer said now is as good a time as any to exercise discipline and not chase any investments.
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"In a market that can be whipsawed by a jobs number and the Fed minutes and Paul Ryan, it pays to be a little cautious, doesn't it? If you let your euphoria get the better of you this morning, you paid for it when we sold off this afternoon," Cramer said.
Certainly, if Friday's jobs number is strong, the major averages that fell so profoundly at the end of the day could start to regain their earlier highs, Cramer said.
But with the bad news piling up from Washington, the retail sector, various "ticking time bombs" like student debt and municipal worker pensions, and in the area of auto sales, the "Mad Money" host stressed caution.
The bond market took the hit in response to reports of weak auto sales on Monday, with 10-year treasury rates falling from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent.
"There goes the multiple rate hike theory, right? The Fed would discover that March was too weak and it was back on hold. The banks, for heaven's sake, need at least two rate hikes. The industrial order books must be slowing," Cramer said.
Then the market swung up on a strong jobs report number, only to be dampened by the Fed's and House Speaker's respective announcements.
So for now, Cramer is suggesting investors focus on caution and discipline, at least until Friday's payroll number comes down the pipe, which he said "now looms even larger than it did coming into today's distinctly bipolar session."
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