Jim Cramer says his favorite indicator 'isn't down enough for me to turn positive'

Key Points
  • The "Mad Money" host explains why he uses the S&P's proprietary short-range oscillator to determine when the stock market is overbought or oversold in order to decide whether to buy or sell holdings.
  • "The oscillator still isn't down enough for me to turn positive. So find some stocks that can work in this environment and pick at them slowly," CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
  • "After a market becomes overbought, you wait until it gets oversold, then you pounce," he says.
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Cramer's favorite indicator isn't down enough for him to turn positive

CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday that investors should practice patience, wait for the stock market to fall into oversold territory and prepare to find points of entry into weakness.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its second-consecutive triple-point decline during the session, falling 1.86% for a 494 point drop, as stocks sold off on concerns that a recession is looming. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite shed less than 2% in value.

The "Mad Money" host, who has yet to be convinced that a recession is inevitable, turned to his favorite overbought/oversold gauge — the S&P's proprietary short-range oscillator — to make his investment case. Last month, he said stocks were "way overbought" based on an eight-point read on the indicator.

Anything above five means stocks have run too far.

"The oscillator still isn't down enough for me to turn positive. So find some stocks that can work in this environment and pick at them slowly," Cramer said. "Beyond that, stay patient, be optimistic for once" and wait for a better moment.

The major indexes posted their worst trading days since late August, but Cramer expects that more selling is ahead. However, the investment guru said there are investible parts in the market. In the meantime, he suggested that grocery store equities like Walmart, Target and Dollar Tree are worth playing on the way down because "everyone has to eat."

Cramer said he trusts the oscillator because it can hold true, despite the unanticipated positive or negative headlines that can sway the market in one way or another. The S&P 500 is down more than 2.3%, or nearly 70 points, since the host said stocks were overbought Sept. 12.

Since then, "I had no idea that this Ukraine story would break and the Democrats would decide to go for impeachment" and that "the ISM purchasing manager's index would plunge into recession territory," among other recent news that had a negative impact on stocks, Cramer said.

"For now, we wait," he added. "After a market becomes overbought, you wait until it gets oversold, then you pounce."

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Jim Cramer says his favorite indicator 'isn't down enough for me to turn positive'

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