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After the decline in the FANG stocks on Tuesday, CNBC's Jim Cramer issued a warning to investors who own the technology-laden group.
"I just wanted to get in front of tomorrow's storyline," the "Mad Money " host said. "You better believe the obituary's being written once again right now, this time with the death notice containing two As and two Ns, as in FAANNG, or Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Nvidia and Google, the company now known as Alphabet. "
Weakness in the FAANNGs is bound to be taken seriously, which is why Cramer looked at the broader market layout, starting with the GOP-led tax overhaul.
The sweeping tax cuts Republicans are chasing could put a trillion-dollar hole in the U.S. deficit. That would lead the government to borrow money, flooding the bond market with supply and driving interest rates higher.
But higher interest rates usually lead to higher inflation. Inflation erodes purchasing power, which in turn diminishes future earnings estimates.
"Given that the FAANNG stocks represent big bets on the future earnings of high-growth companies, ... inflation's real bad for them, so their stocks sell off when rates go up," Cramer said. "Let me simplify it: higher rates often lead to lower prices for the most juiced stocks out there, and FAANNG be the king of the juice."
To make sense of the noise (and explain why panic is fruitless), the "Mad Money" host went over each FAANNG stock's individual bear case.
Word on Wall Street is that Facebook's next earnings report will be in line with estimates because the social media giant hasn't come up with a new, hot product in a while.
"It's become same-old, same-old — same-old, same-old great, I should add — and that's not enough for the market," Cramer said. "I'm not kidding — that's really the rap against Facebook."
After Citi Research upgraded Walmart on Tuesday, saying that the retailer finally has enough online momentum to seriously compete with Amazon, the Amazon bears came running.
"I think Amazon is fabulous, especially its red-hot web services business," Cramer said, even as he agreed that Walmart is a formidable competitor. "If we get any real weakness, I'll pound the table."
Cramer has heard every bear case for Apple under the sun, including the latest downgrade that argued the tech stock's gains from the iPhone super-cycle are "in the late innings."
"Look, you may be tempted to sell it here and try to buy it back at lower levels," the "Mad Money" host said. "I think that's a fool's errand. I say own Apple, don't trade it. Every trading call to get out of Apple has been wrong. This piece did not change my mind."
"This is a tough one," Cramer admitted. "I always think, though, what would it take to duplicate Netflix's business? I think certainly it would cost more than the company's current $80 billion valuation. That said, I will concede that it is definitely the most vulnerable of the FAANNGs."
Nvidia's problem has consistently been that the semiconductor play has one of the most expensive stocks in the world.
But Cramer argued that the chipmaker dominates when it comes to gaming, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and the data center, even though its wares will certainly be challenged.
"Does that mean you should sell the stock? Look, Nvidia the stock has periodic swoons, and this one has lasted a long time, ever since the company reported," he said. "I believe it's digesting a big move and this stock, like the other FAANNGs, is simply the victim of a rotation."
The "Mad Money" host could hardly find a bear case for the parent company of Google.
"I think it's gaining market share and has about $100 billion in cash to fall back on," he said. "Also, it [has] a swell web service business that's doing fantastically — not as good as Amazon, but still good — and an autonomous car business called Waymo that's second to none. Needless to say, I would not be a seller."
In all his years in the business, Cramer has seen the FAANNG stocks pronounced dead plenty of times. But that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the underlying companies, he said.
"Don't let some analyst downgrade or some rotation out of high growth scare you away from owning some FAANNG," the "Mad Money" host said. "Until I see a coroner's report from real competitors of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Nvidia and Alphabet, I think we need to presume that these stories remain very much alive."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Apple, Nvidia and Alphabet.