Mad Money

Unemployment numbers matter more to the market than 'potential peak in the coronavirus transmission,' Jim Cramer says

Key Points
  • "I'll become more sustainably bullish when there's more testing ... when there's less fear of getting sick ... and most importantly, when the unemployment rate peaks," CNBC's Jim Cramer said.
  • "Unemployment matters more than a potential peak in the coronavirus transmission," the "Mad Money" host said.
  • "If you're worried about the state of the economy — and you should be — then maybe you should let the market cool off after a day like today," he said.
VIDEO2:2602:26
Jim Cramer: The market cares more about job numbers than COVID-19 peak

CNBC's Jim Cramer watched stocks rally hard Monday on welcome data about coronavirus progress, but he is not sold on the idea that Wall Street has fully turned the corner.

After the new virus infections count in the U.S. dipped on Sunday, the three major stock averages all jumped more than 7%, with the Dow Jones leaping more than 1,627 points to 22,679.99 at the close for a 7.7% increase. The gains come one trading day after stocks fell on Friday's jobs report for March.

"I'll become more sustainably bullish when there's more testing ... when there's less fear of getting sick ... and most importantly, when the unemployment rate peaks," the "Mad Money" host said. "Unemployment matters more than a potential peak in the coronavirus transmission."

There were more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases recorded in the U.S. each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University tracking. On Sunday, new confirmed infections slipped to 28,200 as the pandemic continues to run its course around the globe.

The mild decrease was also witnessed in New York state, the part of the country hardest hit by the virus. In its Sunday briefing the Trump administration said hospitalization rates are showing signs of stabilizing, which also gave stocks a lift.

While applauding early signs that efforts to flatten the curve could be working, Cramer said it "doesn't necessarily translate into better earnings per share for corporate America."

Monday's gains may satisfy day traders, but quarterly financial reports are what matter to investors, who count on companies to meet their numbers, he said.

"If you're worried about the state of the economy — and you should be — then maybe you should let the market cool off after a day like today," he said.

Cramer gave viewers a number of takeaways from the session:

  1. It's a mistake to buy after Monday's rally: "I don't like to chase. The big buying opportunity was last week."
  2. The market has yet to put in a bottom: "Be patient. After last week, I am convinced there will be more selling."

Last Wednesday the former hedge-fund manager said he'll be "more constructive" if the market retests its March lows.

The S&P 500 at Monday's close is up almost 22% from its lowest point in late March. The Dow Jones is up almost 25%, and the Nasdaq Composite is up 19% from their lows last month, according to Factset.

"Until [unemployment peaks], you're going to have to deal with the sell programs and deal with the buy programs," Cramer said. "But don't be fooled: We don't have actual stock buying going on on days like today."

VIDEO12:1312:13
Jim Cramer on Monday's rally: 'I am convinced there will be more selling'

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