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The stock of Apple is "front and center" in this bear market, and the weakness won't unwind until investors get more clarity on what the future holds for the iPhone maker, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Tuesday as stocks rose on trade optimism.
"In this tough, tough market, as long as we don't know if there's a real iPhone slowdown, and until the president takes Apple's iPhone off the trade table, you can't expect an end to the pain," he argued on "Mad Money."
In an interview published by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Trump said the United States could slap 10-percent tariffs on iPhone and laptops imported from China, a possible negotiating tactic that nevertheless tanked Apple's shares.
Meanwhile, reports about iPhone production slowdowns, most of which cite confidential sources familiar with the situation, have thrown Apple analysts into a tizzy and put further pressure on the stock. In less than two months, Apple's stock has lost 25 percent of its value, or roughly $200 billion.
Cramer, whose charitable trust owns shares of Apple, has said that stocks could reverse course and end their bearish phase for good if President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping strike a positive tone in their meeting at this week's G-20 summit.
Even so, the market can't fully recover without a turnaround in the stock of Apple, which at these levels has become a "bargain," the "Mad Money" host said. "It's a bargain that's beginning to reflect all the bad and none of the good."
"Apple's shareholders have become pinatas as analysts fight to cut numbers and spread fear. I will not play that game," he said, noting that Apple's price-to-earnings multiple of 12 could go even lower, making the stock even more attractive. "I bet Apple's buying back stock all the way down and could be a coiled spring on any good news, tariff or otherwise. "
Still, Cramer couldn't deny that in this particular bear market, the stocks that are "as close as it gets to bulletproof" are the safety stocks. Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Verizon, among others, are "the chosen ones," he said, even as "their valuations have gotten very, very stretched."
As for Apple, "I think it's worth it to hold the stock, though, or buy it some, but at this very moment, I feel very alone," Cramer said. "Maybe, just maybe, that's exactly what it feels like to be near a bottom — at least in this one important stock, if not the rest of the tech sector. "