Cramer: Bear Is Only the Beginning

The implosion of Bear Stearns over the past week wasn’t just a run on one bank, Cramer said during Monday’s Mad Money, it could be the beginning of a run on all the banks, including the brokerages.

In a market where an $80 stock drops to $2 virtually overnight, the financial sector’s numbers just can’t be trusted. These stocks must be sold, Cramer said, especially since the Federal Reserve showed it’s willing to save a bank’s credit operations while abandoning its equity.

Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase played the Fed’s disregard to their advantage. Knowing the central bank had to resolve the Bear Stearns crisis before the Asia markets opened Monday, Cramer said, JPM held out until the last minute, offering a mere $2 a share for Bear. The Mad Money host called the Fed-financed deal a “takeunder” rather than a takeover.

The fact that the short sellers smell blood only adds to Cramer’s argument that the entire sector’s under pressure. Lehman Brothers, Wachovia , National City and Washington Mutual might not be insolvent like Bear, but Cramer said he still thinks their stocks are in trouble.

But there may be one financial stock worth owning. Visa’s IPO hits the market Wednesday, and Cramer’s expecting the Street to hand investors a win as a way to get them back in the game. Visa carries with it almost no credit risk because the company makes its money by charging per transaction rather than through loaning money.

Watch the video for more on the crisis in the financials, Fannie Mae and why Cramer said former Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne is a modern day Nero.

Questions for Cramer?

Questions, comments, suggestions for the Mad Money website?