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As CNBC's Jim Cramer watched an amalgam of unrelated stocks climb on Thursday, he realized that there was a key driver behind the bounce: China.
"I know I’m in the minority when I say this, at least among professional commentators, but today’s rebound was all about China blinking," the "Mad Money" host said.
Cramer posited this theory to help justify why so many different stock groups — the airlines, fintech plays, defense stocks, chipmakers and health care names included — rallied just one day after the U.S. escalated its trade war with China.
He argued that the fact that Chinese officials didn't immediately propose their own tariffs like they did after the Trump administration's first $34 billion wave of duties spoke volumes when it came to the market.
"Whether you like it or not, or believe it or not, the president just threatened to slap new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports, [and] what did the Chinese do? They did nothing. No retaliation," Cramer said.
"When that happens and the stocks of American companies that do business in China start to rally, it emboldens other investors," he continued. "People don't want to be crosswise with this one."
And while Cramer didn't want to put too much weight in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's somewhat conciliatory comments on trade or Trump's preoccupation with his trip abroad, he acknowledged that they did provide a degree of relief during Thursday's trading session.
But he still maintained that "China blinking is a key prop to this rally and it allowed all of the usual suspects that got hammered yesterday to go right back up."