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Cramer: Ignore the Dow's 'round number curse' and pay attention to what got it there

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer warns investors about the four stocks responsible for pushing the Dow Jones to its 22,000 milestone.
  • While fund-led "sell programs" drove down large swaths of Nasdaq stocks, the Dow was pushed upward by massive gains in Boeing, McDonald's, UnitedHealth and Apple.
  • Cramer uses the action in these names to argue that the Dow's strength is not all that important to the overall fabric of the stock market.

Jim Cramer hates days like Wednesday when the stock market seems to reel at ostensible milestones like the Dow Jones average crossing above 22,000.

"I found the celebration particularly disturbing because the last thousand Dow points were really the work of a handful of stocks — actually, just four of them: Boeing, McDonald's, UnitedHealth and Apple," the "Mad Money" host said. "In other words, the strength in the Dow isn't much of a tell for the broader market."

The Dow surged towards this arbitrary mark just as a large fund began selling its positions in a slew of Nasdaq stocks, otherwise known on Wall Street as a "sell program," Cramer said.

While that was not an unusual move, it sent money flowing out of technology and into arguably less exciting industrial, food and manufacturing names, the likes of McDonald's and 3M.

However, the rotation also brought about the demise of many Apple-related stocks like Skyworks Solutions and Cirrus Logic, which Cramer said should have been higher following Apple's earnings beat on Tuesday.

The "Mad Money" host said that action like this will likely draw more erroneous comparisons to the dotcom bubble of 2000, which he maintained is nothing like what we are seeing in 2017.

"You've got this deadly combination of stocks coming down and commentators 'reverse' cheerleading for stocks, accentuated by the Dow 22,000 nonsense that says they can say, 'Hey, you know what? This is toppy action,'" Cramer said. "Yes, all of this seems to occur around these round numbers and it's a real mind game that gets played out to your disadvantage unless you've got some cash to do some buying."

But Apple's fundamentals are strong, as the company showed in its third-quarter report. The stay-at-home economy is booming.

The one factor in question is the state of the overall economy, which seems mixed: strong housing market, but not enough homes for sales; weak autos market, but too many cars for sale; weak retail sales, save for Apple and Amazon; strong construction, aerospace and manufacturing; very weak oil and gas; strong fast food sales; weak eat-in restaurant sales.

"All of these add up to a mixed-to-positive picture, oddly mirrored by the stocks in the Dow that have taken us from 21,000 to 22,000, namely Boeing, which is responsible for 387 Dow points, McDonald's, 175 points, UnitedHealth, 170, and Apple, 135," Cramer said.

He added that what investors should want from a rally is a wider surge led by the financials and the transports, not a narrow push higher led by four — albeit strong — stocks.

"Sure, there's a round number curse, has been for 21 of these crossed thresholds that I've seen in my lifetime. What matters, though, is that there are plenty of companies out there that saw their stocks get laid low by these sell programs, and when they get taken down like that, you're always going to hear the sirens of panic telling you to sell everything," Cramer said. "In reality, it's more likely to be the sound of opportunity knocking. You just have to have some cash ready to buy the dip in a responsible way."

Watch the full segment: Cramer's take on Dow 22,000

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